You wouldn't dream of bathing all summer long and then just skipping in the winter. Your pet should be bathed even more often when the weather is miserable. Hair should be cut too, but not as short as summer. We, as professional groomers can suggest longer trims that will keep your pet warm and still be attractive and manageable.
HIGH TECH WARMTH:
Just how warm is a matted coat of hair? Recent high technology reports on insulation have shown that light, fluffy layers are far more warming than a tight, heavy, thick mat. An example would be a down coat. It's warm only when fluffed. When compressed, the insulating properties are reduced, and when wet, there is very little insulating value.
This also happens to ungroomed pets during winter. The coat becomes long and neglected. Snow, water and dirt accumulate in the hair, leaving it damp. The hair is so dense, in many cases, that it doesn't dry out properly. Often the hair appears dry to the outside, but is damp near the skin.
Dispelling the misconception of the pets needing all their hair to stay warm during the winter months, Most house pets dont need protection from the cold. After all, they share the same warm dwelling that we do. People dont wear hot winter coats inside the home. Why should your pet? If the animal is outside for an extended time, a coat or sweater is sufficient.
WINTER GROOM IS IMPORTANT!
Pet dogs and cats need to be brushed and combed at least three times a week, even short-haired ones. Okay, skip the comb if you own a beagle, but brush. It will only take a few minutes. Nails need to be clipped when you hear them click on a concrete or wooden floor. Ears need to be cleaned and checked for infection and parasites every other week. Your professional groomer also gives your pet a health check for parasites, tooth problems and disease organisms. Some of these early signs of illness and disease could be easily overlooked by the untrained observer.
If hair accumulates between the pads of the feet, they should be washed daily to remove mud, sidewalk salt and chemicals. This job is easier if your professional groomer clips out the hair on the bottom of the feet and between his toes.
You can help ease your pet through old age by changing some of the ways that you care for your pet.
Diet makes the dog. The senior pet needs to be fed a diet that is lower in fat, protien and salt. Extra weight burdens your dog's heart and joints. For every pound that he is overweight, you shorten his life. Don't be afraid to add lots of vegetables like green beans and spinach to his regular food. B vitamins help him immensely. Dogs benefit from having real foods added to their diets too, especially older dogs.
Good grooming, regular brushing, combing and bathing are critical for aging pets. Decrease the time between regular grooming sessions by taking your senior pet to your professional groomer more often. Shedding and hair loss is exaggerated in the older dog because of changing hormone levels. Frequent bathing and grooming removes dead hair and stimulates the skin. The older dogs nails seem to grow faster. Actually, the nail just doesn't wear because the aging dog is less active.
You and your professional groomer can work together to keep your pet more comfortable during his golden years. If your groomer suggests changing his hair style, or no longer clipping his entire foot (poodle feet), trust their judgement. Your groomer can see changes in your pet and will know what part of the grooming process is tiring for him. Your groomer, just like you, has your pet's best interest at heart.