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The Importance of Winter Grooming

Posted by Daryl Conner on Jan 6th 2022

The Importance of Winter Grooming

When temperatures drop, and the weather turns wintery, many pet owners stop having their pets groomed. The reason seems to be perfectly understandable. It’s cold out, and dogs need their fur to keep warm. The problem with this logic is that long hair is more prone to becoming tangled. And tangled fur is not only uncomfortable for pets, but it also does not insulate them as well as it could.

The reason for this is that dogs’ bodies involuntarily respond to being cold by fluffing their coats up. Tiny muscles located at the base of each hair follicle work to lift hair to trap air between the fur and the skin, helping create an added layer of thermal insulation. However, if the pet fur is matted or tangled, this temperature-regulating technique cannot work as designed.

Another problem is that when matted, tangled fur becomes wet from rain, snow, or ice, it does not dry as quickly as a well-brushed and combed coat. Moisture trapped in the tangles can make pets colder. Moisture also contributes to the further matting of the fur. This becomes a bit of a vicious cycle, and sometimes the coat becomes so severely tangled that it must be clipped very short, just at the time of year when the thermometer registers lowest.

Many pet owners keep a sweater or jacket on their dogs during cold weather. However, the friction from the fabric rubbing on the pet’s fur as it moves can contribute to tangles forming as well. The same can be said for harnesses. They should only be left on the animal while being leash walked, and the areas where the harness meets the pet should receive extra attention when it comes time to brush.

The solution to the problem is to maintain a regular grooming schedule throughout the year. Fur that is kept clean, well-brushed, and combed can be left a little longer during the winter months, as long as it is tangle-free

Low humidity can be common in cold climates where houses are kept warm and cozy by heating systems and/or wood stoves or fireplaces. With reduced moisture in the air, static can build up on the pet’s fur, which can also lead to tangles. You can help reduce static by using a conditioner after any bath and using a moisturizing coat spray while brushing and combing your dog at home.

Some of our favorites include: #1 All Systems Hair ReVitalizer and Instant Antistatic Coat SprayCoat Handler Anti-static Detangler Spray, and Chris Christensen Ice On Ice Detangling and Finishing Spray.

When the north winds blow cold, your dog will stay warmer if it also stays on a regular grooming schedule.