In winter, the tendency is to keep our dog’s coats longer; thinking that they will be warmer. Or, to put jumpers on to keep them warm, and not just for outdoors but leaving the jumpers on inside as well (even though the majority of households will have central heating on in winter). Wearing jumpers constantly can stop a good flow of air getting through to the dog’s skin, and they can end up with skin conditions, it can also be responsible for matting the coat underneath the jumper.
Longer coats are already prone to getting more tangles and matts if a good brushing regime isn’t kept up.
Matts and tangles can be very painful for a dog. The worse they get, the tighter they get and can then have a horrible pulling effect on the skin and can even stop blood flow in certain areas such as on the tail and ears!
Matted hair can also trap dirt and bacteria which can also lead to skin conditions and reactions. When fur gets to this stage, it’s not always possible for a groomer to brush them out, and it will have to be clipped off very short, which is best for the welfare of the dog, but is the opposite of what the owner wanted to achieve with keeping their dog’s coat longer.
Get into a regular brushing routine to ensure that matts and tangles don’t occur, and to allow for their coats to flow freely which will help the dogs to regulate their temperatures naturally. The right kind of brush for different type of coats is essential – you might have heard of a ‘ferminator’, ‘zoom groom’, ‘coat king’, ‘slicker brush’, ‘pin brush’ or an ‘undercoat rake’ to name but a few, so knowing which is the right one for your dog is really important, as is the correct brushing technique. This might sound silly, but you could end up brushing only the top part of the coat, if not done properly, and leaving the coat near the skin to become matted and tangled. Harris Hounds would recommend going to a reputable groomers to ask advice on the correct type of brush for your dog’s coat and to be shown the correct way to brush and maintain it.
Because people tend to let their dog’s coat get longer in winter, it can mean that there is a longer period of time in between taking them to the groomers, and the potential for dogs coats to become very dirty. Keeping the dog’s coat clean, by either giving them a bath at home or taking them to a groomer for a bath and tidy up, is also key to maintaining a good coat during winter, and preventing infections and hot spots. The correct shampoo for your dog’s type of coat is important too, and your groomer will be able to advise you on that. Human shampoos are not good for a dog’s coat as the chemicals are much too harsh and strong for their coat and skin and will prohibit the dog’s natural ability to maintain a healthy, shiny coat.
In summary, our Harris Hounds top tips for keeping a dog’s coat tip top in winter are:
Regular daily brushing
Keep the coat clean
Keep to your regular dog grooming appointments