The Importance of Cold Weather Pet Grooming

by Kim Slagle

As a groomer, I notice that many people believe it is okay to skip grooming their pets in the winter. The number one reason for this seems to be that they feel their pet will get cold. As you’ll soon see, you don’t have to worry about how your pet will handle being groomed in the cold weather. In fact, pet grooming is just as important during the winter months as it is during the other times of the year.

There are three very important reasons that pet grooming should not be neglected during the winter months:

  • First, know that a cat’s normal body temperature is 101.5 and a dog’s body temperature is 101 to 102. A healthy human is 98.6. So what feels cold to a human usually is comfortable to a pet.
  • Second, regular grooming keeps the dead coat removed from your pet, which allows your pet to cool and/or heat up the body naturally. Allowing the dead coat to build up creates matting. Matting is uncomfortable and can cause many problems with the skin, coat and regulating the body temperature. Keeping the dead coat removed also allows a dog to grow a healthy winter coat.
  • Third is the issue of dry skin. Do you notice your pet scratching more in the winter?  Pets, just like us, can get dry skin from the cold to heat. Your groomer can offer a good moisturizer during a bath.  This is just like putting lotion on your skin to sooth the dry itchy feeling.

What Happens if Pet Grooming is Ignored During the Winter Months?

Each spring I deal with pet owners and their pets that went all winter without grooming. Usually these pets have to be completely shaved down.  I see a lot of the pets have skin infections and need antibiotics. This is due to tight matts, dirty and dry or wet coat and skin. The pet owners are upset because the pet isn’t fluffy and furry. They also don’t like being told they should take the pet to a vet to have the skin looked at. For those pets that aren’t quite to the point of a shave down, the owners get a larger bill from the groomer because it took the groomer twice as long to get through the dead coat. All of this could have been avoided by simply making a commitment to pet grooming the cold months.

What about pets with short fur?

If you do have a short coated pet that can go without grooming in the winter, don’t forget to care for the nails and ears. Sometimes these get over looked and can become an issue. Remember, keeping the nails trimmed will keep your pet bones and joints in great shape. Having the ears cleaned from dead hair and dirt can keep ear infections down.  As always, if you want more information or have questions, contact your groomer.  Stay safe this winter and have fun with your furbabies!

Kim Slagle has worked with animals for over 20 years. She is an experienced groomer currently working at Canine Shear Heaven.  Her writing goal is to educate other pet parents about the value of regular and proper grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats.

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