There is a common misconception that your dog needs to keep all of its hair for warmth in the winter. However, most of our canine companions don’t need this protection from the cold, as they spend a majority of their time inside where it is warm, with us. For those times when your dog is spending an extended period of time outdoors, a sweater or jacket is all that is necessary, and will prevent him having to wear his heavy winter “coat” of hair both indoors and out. Of course, there are some dogs that spend most of their time outside, and it is a good idea to keep them in a full coat of hair. This does not mean you don’t need to maintain them, as matted or tangled hair will not provide the insulating value that your dog needs to stay warm outside in the winter.
For those who prefer a longer clip on their dog, winter is a great time to have this done, keeping in mind these clips require more brushing and combing than a shorter style. If it is well maintained and kept mat-free, you will avoid having to have your dog clipped extremely short in the spring
Foot and Nail Care
Foot care is very important during the winter months. Nails should be checked regularly, and kept trimmed short to prevent cracking. If your dog has a tendency to develop “snowballs” in the hair between his/her pads, it should be removed on a regular basis to prevent ice, snow and irritating road salt from accumulating. In our dry climate, a pad protector such as “paw wax” is helpful to keep your dogs pads supple and healthy.