Everyone knows the phenomenon: skin and hair suffer in winter. The reasons for this are the ice-cold air outside and the dry heating air in the warm apartment – and that too in abrupt alternation. Dogs are no different. Proper grooming is therefore particularly important in the cold season because it keeps the dog healthy and alert.
Daily brushing for fluffy undercoat
Daily brushing is part of winter fur care – especially for dogs that have a thick undercoat. “An insulating air cushion forms between the fine hairs of the undercoat. Similar to fluffy down feathers. If the undercoat becomes matted, it no longer provides adequate protection,” says Astrid Behr, veterinarian, and spokesperson for the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians.
Bathing only with special shampoos
You should not bathe your dog too often, especially in winter. There are special dog shampoos and conditioners that prevent the skin and coat from drying out. However, it can take a very long time for the fur to dry completely, especially in dogs with a lot of undercoats, even if blow-dried. With damp fur, the dog can freeze and catch a cold.
Cold and dry heating air put a lot of strain on the skin and coat, and the dog can develop dandruff and a dull coat. “If a dog suffers from dry, flaky skin and a dull coat, adding some flaxseed or fish oil to the food can help,” says Behr. “An air humidifier in the apartment also counteracts the dry heating air and is also good for people.”
Postpone visits to the hairdresser until spring
Dog breeds that are shorn need every hair in the winter. Dog lovers should therefore postpone the usual shearing until spring when the temperatures allow it. “Cutting the ends”, on the other hand, is allowed and regular brushing is a must so that there are no tangles. Dogs with short fur and insufficient undercoat should be treated to a suitable dog coat if necessary.
Dogs with long fur between the paw pads should be trimmed. This prevents clumps of snow and ice from forming between the pads, which would be painful for the dog and could also cause injury. “You should also rub milking grease or Vaseline on the bales before you go for a walk so that they don’t dry out and crack from road salt,” Behr recommends.