4 grooming tips for the colder months

Long, sunny days have made way for snuggling under warm blankets with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Fortunately, in most parts of South Africa, we don’t have extremely cold winters, but most of us still want to take things a bit easier and stay warm. And, while WE might (on some days) get away with hairy legs under our winter clothes, we cannot neglect our pets’ grooming needs during winter.

 

To shave or not to shave

Should you shave your dog in winter? The dog’s coat does help to protect against the cold, but the decision is yours. If you feel like your dog’s coat is unmanageable when it is long, you can opt for a winter cut. A different blade is used to shave a winter cut, meaning that the hair will be a bit longer than with a summer cut.

The general rule with shaving is that it is not recommended to shave a dog with a double coat, no matter what season it is. A double coat is made up of a soft, fluffy undercoat and a topcoat made up of longer hairs. The purpose of the undercoat is to regulate temperature; therefore, it both keeps the dog cool in summer and warm in winter. Not only does this mean that these dogs don’t need shaving, but shaving will in fact destroy their lovely coats. Just one shave is enough for the coat to grow back hard and with an unpleasant appearance. Breeds with double coats include:

  • Siberian Husky
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Chow Chow
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Border Collie
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pomeranian

 

 

Should my dog wear a jersey in winter?

Some dogs do benefit from wearing a jersey, but not all dogs would need one. Typically, small breeds, like the Yorkie and Chihuahua, get cold easily, as do shorthaired breeds and, in some cases, older dogs. Research your breed. For example, the Husky is genetically able to handle cold weather – please don’t put a jersey on him! The Chihuahua, who hails from Mexico, gets chilly very easily, and you will find him lying in the sun, even in warmer weather. The Greyhound, even though he is bigger, gets cold easily and would benefit from a jersey.

With a longhaired breed, like the Yorkie, a jersey can cause severe matting in the coat. Brushing out these mats is uncomfortable and even painful for the dog, and if you take your dog to the groomer, they will probably suggest rather shaving the dog. So, if you want your Yorkie to wear a jersey in winter, make sure that you brush his coat regularly to keep it free from knots – or opt for a shorter, winter cut underneath the jersey.

 

Would you like to read the rest of this interesting article? Get the Winter #346 edition of Animaltalk magazine from retailers or order a digital or printed copy from www.coolmags.co.za.

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