Soft paws and glorious coats

Winter can be so harsh on our skin and hair, and it can be harsh on our pets’ skin and hair too, especially in the drier areas of our country. Luckily there are ways to protect and restore dry skin and hair and we share some tips. Try these tips to take care of your dog’s paws and coat to keep him happy.

1. Moisturise

You might need to moisturise your dog’s paws more often during the winter than in the summer. Get your dog used to having his paws rubbed and pampered with paw balm from an early age so that he will learn to enjoy the session.

Otherwise, keep the sessions short and only do small sections at a time and give your dog a small treat after every session. That will help him associate the pampering with something good.

Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner when you bath your dog to keep his coat shiny and moisturised.

2. Good food

Good, nutritionally balanced dog food will go a long way towards ensuring that your dog’s coat is in good health. Speak to your vet about your dog’s diet and the condition of his coat. Your vet can recommend the ideal food for your dog.

3. Safe outdoor walks

Hot, dry and cold surfaces can damage your dog’s paw pads tremendously. Don’t take him for walks outside when it is freezing cold, and if you have to, get him some booties to protect his paw pads from the cold. It might take some time for him to get used to wearing them, but it will be worth it.

The sun can be just as harsh in winter, and therefore, you shouldn’t forget to apply sunscreen to your dog’s nose and fur – especially if he has a white coat.

Also, keep the time outdoors shorter in winter and take him for walks later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons.

4. Dry air

Use pet-friendly humidifiers in your home if you live in a dry area. The humidifier releases moisture into the air, which will help to prevent your skin and your dog’s skin from drying out. And be mindful of heaters in the winter as they tend to dry out the air even more. Invest in warmer clothes and comfortable blankets instead.

5. Less bathing

Depending on your dog’s coat type, you might want to consider extending the time between his baths. The bath water and the air from the hair dryer, if you use one to dry your dog after his bath, can dry out his skin and coat even more. Wait a while before you bath him again as this can help a little to prevent dry skin and coats.

6. Regular grooming

Skip frequent baths, but don’t skimp on your dog’s grooming routine. The longer his coat, the more frequently you will have to brush his hair to prevent knots and mats from forming. Regularly brushing his coat will help to keep it looking healthy.

Trim his nails regularly, brush his teeth every day and clean his ears regularly. Also, wipe his eyes and clean between any wrinkles with special wipes. This will help him to feel fresh and clean.

7. Jackets and jerseys

Smaller dogs and dogs with shorter coats tend to feel the cold quicker than active, larger and longhaired dogs. A warm jacket or jersey for the cold days and nights will help them to feel comfortable. But don’t let your dog wear the same jacket every day. And let his skin ‘breathe’ a bit during the day when it is warmer, by removing the jacket.

Wash his jackets and blankets often in warm water, and especially when he sheds, to get rid of excess hair.

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