Ashley Turner of Turner & Pooch in East Sussex, is a fully insured City & Guilds qualified dog groomer. She uses a happy mix of patience and reward-based training to accomplish luxury dog grooms from her salon, building a trusted relationship each time a dog visits. Ashley tells us what to look out for as we head into the winter months.
1. Does a dog’s coat still need to be trimmed even though it’s cold outside?
It is important to keep your dog's coat in good condition especially in winter as the dog’s coat will be getting wet more frequently which can lead to matting. Short-haired breeds won't need grooming as often in the winter however the seasons aren't like they used to be and we don't tend to have the freezing weather we once did. We also start to put our central heating on meaning short-haired shedding breeds will still shed so brushing and grooming is a must. It is also good to keep on top of the hygiene side of grooming such as ear cleaning, anal gland checking/expressing and nail clipping.
2. Is there anything to be aware of as the weather changes, any hazards to look out for?
If there is freezing weather and the roads/paths have been gritted, this can be really harmful to your dog. Exposure to this kind of salt can cause very sore pads. After a walk, always wash your dog’s paws in luke warm water and a gentle soap to wash the salt away, paying particular attention to between the toes and pads to make sure nothing is stuck in there. Don’t let your dog lick their paws if they have salt on them, it contains harmful chemicals and can make your dog poorly if swallowed.
3. Will having the central heating on at home cause a dog’s skin/coat to dry out?
Yes, just like human hair central heating will dry the dog’s coat out so it is good to keep on top of a regular grooming schedule to moisturise the coat. The warm environment means the coat will still shed, so keep up with that brushing!
4. Why do their coats get so matted in the winter and what can be done to prevent it?
When a knot gets wet it tightens up, so if your dog’s coat hasn't been thoroughly brushed every day then the smallest of knots can turn into a huge matt just from walking your dog in the rain. Also, parks and fields are usually very muddy in winter so this can also create matting. To prevent this from happening so easily, I recommend the coat being fairly short (and the dog to wear a coat on their walkies) and lots and lots of brushing!
5. Is flea prevention medication still necessary even though flea season has ended?
Although we do have a flea season, fleas can live all year round in certain environments such as a dog’s bed or owner’s car. Then every time the dog visits this area, the fleas can feed off the dog and the cycle continues. So yes, flea medication is definitely needed all year round.
6. What can be done to prevent sore pads?
You can buy products to moisturise your dog’s pads such as Vaseline or other more dog specific products, but the main thing is to check them after a walk so that no foreign objects have managed to creep in between their toes or into the pads themselves.
7. Is it ok for dogs to play in the snow?