Small dog looking up

Keeping your dog’s coat tip top in winter

Tips from top groomer Kim Pothecary

Local to We Love Pet’s head office is the superb dog groomers; Groomingdales of Chippenham, which is run by Kim Pothecary.

We managed to grab some time in Kim’s busy schedule to ask a few of the questions our customers often ask us during the colder months.

Should I leave my dog’s coat long for the colder weather?

The simple answer is “no”. Despite what most people believe, leaving your dog’s coat long in the winter can be detrimental for your pet. For those dogs that are walked regularly during the winter this means a permanently wet dog. Imagine going swimming in shorts and a t-shirt and then having to sit around in wet clothes….you’ll feel cold, right? It’s no different for a dog.

“My recommendations for dog owners is to keep the dogs fur on the shorter side, particularly the legs and undercarriage.”

Dogs are unable to regulate their temperatures in the same way we do, so getting a dog dry in the winter is quite important. So, having for example, 1″ of dog hair versus 6″ will make towel drying or using a hair dryer so much quicker. As a professional groomer I dread the winter grooms as the majority of the dogs we see are very matted as the coat has been left too long for the winter; the dog is constantly wet and dirty which in effect “bunches” the coat when laying or sitting and this ultimately leaves no option but to clip the dog very short, much shorter than we would like to do in the winter.

There are some great coats, full leg waterproofs and jumpers available on the market for the young or elderly dogs.

My dog always gets sore pads after walking in the snow, can you recommend anything to help with this?

Oh how dogs love to play in the snow! It’s very important that you SLOWLY melt the snow from the dog when they come in from playing. Never ever put hot water onto the dog. Simply put the dog’s legs into luke warm water or use a hair dryer to melt the big snow balls that attach to the fur and can be very painful and heavy. For protection; you can put a layer of Shaw’s Paw Wax onto your dog’s feet before venturing out (it’s also great if your dog’s pads are dry, cracked or sore), which will protect the pads a little. This is also good when the ground is frosty or there is ice. You can then rub some of the Shaw Paw Wax to help with.

“The salt used to de-ice roads and paths is very toxic to dogs, so do make sure you do not allow your dog to lick its paws until you have had the chance to wash them in luke warm water.”

My dog gets really messy in the wet weather – what’s the best way to keep a muddy coat clean?

Unfortunately, there is no miracle to keep muddy dogs clean that I can share with you! Different breeds with different coat types tend to have different mud magnet coats! For example; a silky coated breed tends not to retain dirt as much as a wool coated breed. I own 3 naturally long haired breeds and I keep them cut short in the winter. I always PAT them down with a towel after a walk and if they are super muddy they will have a quick bath. There are some great full leg suits available which are made from a very thin lightweight material yet cover the entire dog, including undercarriage and legs…..I own many of them. The dogs can have great fun and I don’t have to worry about too much grooming when we get home.

Groomingdales is based in Chippenham, Wiltshire. Visit Kim’s Facebook page or website for any further information or to just enjoy the pet pictures.