Even pooches will pout when the winter cold kicks in. In fact, dipping temperatures and moisture-robbing indoor heat may leave pups longing for the dog days of summer.
So, how can pet groomers help furry friends combat the cold? Andis Company Grooming Educator Kendra Otto shares some her favorite cold-weather grooming tips to keep your clients looking and feeling good all winter long.
Paw-somely Clipped Nails
Winter grooming goes beyond coat care. Since dogs spend more time indoors, their paws encounter less friction and their nails get longer. And overgrown nails can contribute to major health issues like sore feet, legs and hips –– and overall discomfort.
Know what that means for cold-weather canines? You’ve got to start with the paws.
When dogs go weeks or months between grooming appointments, groomers must clip away the excess nail and know what’s actually “excess.” “Dogs with black nails are the trickiest,” says Andis expert Otto. “To spot the quick on black nails, look for the dark spot in the center of the nail.”
Having a hard time finding the quick? You’re not alone. Otto suggests that black nails should be done in several smaller clips instead of one large clip (like you would do with clear nails).
Protecting Paws from “The Pack”
Cold weather wreaks havoc on dog paws. And in any winter wonderland, snow can pack between toes –– causing matting and doggie discomfort. Take preventative measures against “the pack” by trimming the hair between paw pads.
“Follow the natural bone structure of the foot,” says Otto. “For clipping paws, I like to use a trimmer that is smaller in diameter, like the Andis EasyClip™ Mini Clipper/Trimmer. It’s compact and perfect for light-duty clipping around the paws.”
Winter’s Coming. Where’s Your Coat?
A common cool-weather misconception is that dogs don’t need grooming, but as groomers –– we know that’s a myth. Winter’s stinginess with sunshine stimulates hair growth, making a canine’s coat thicker, says Otto.
It’s okay to keep a dog’s coat a bit longer than usual, since it will add protection. But pet parents should keep their dogs on a regular grooming rotation to decrease the chances of their doggie needing a shave down.
A little at-home brushing’ll do, too. “I always like to send pet parents home with an Andis Soft-Tooth Slicker Brush, which simultaneously removes undercoat to prevent matting and stimulates hair growth for healthier hair,” says Otto.
Bathing + Massage = Healthy Skin and Fur
A lot of pet parents can go through winter sans the suds, and it can fall to groomers to repair lackluster coats and dry, flaking skin. Lucky for us, today’s state-of-the-art shampoos and conditioners loosen and clean dirt while also leaving necessary oils.
For best results, don’t “scrub” the coat. Scrubbing breaks down the hair shaft, damaging the coat further and creating even dryer skin. Instead, lightly massage shampoos in and allow the product to dissolve dirt.
“The massage technique is sure to be a hit with your furry clients,” says Otto. “Plus, your hands will be thanking you for using this less muscle-intensive technique.”
During the winter, customers tend to leave their dogs’ fur longer but don’t like to deal with the extra shedding. Otto recommends de-shedding services along with a longer clip to help keep the pet warm and the coat more manageable.
“Another great tool to send pet parents home with is the Andis Large Pin Brush,” says Otto. “It not only removes tangles, dirt and loose hair, but also provides greater pet comfort during grooming.”
And there you have it! Instead of letting winter go to the dogs, help the dogs make the most of their winters. With regularly scheduled grooming, you can keep your canine clients happy and coming back for these winter weather hacks.
About the Author:
Kendra graduated from The Great Lakes Academy of Professional Pet Styling in 1997. A successful competitor, she ranked top 10 in the country for four consecutive years, as well being the top-ranked pet stylist in the state of IL during that time. Kendra has placed at every major U.S. grooming competition and won multiple Best-in-Show/Best All-Around Groomer awards. Other competitive highlights include: multiple Creative Styling awards, Artistic Innovation awarrds, Superzoo Jackpot Invitational (6th of 50), the Liz Paul Scissoring Award, the 2011 and 2012 Cardinal Crystal Congeniality Award, the Groomie Spirit Award, a nominee for 2009 Cardinal Crystal American Groomer of the Year and the Will Stone Memorial Award for kindness to animals. In addition, she has placed in multiple Rescue Rodeos in Las Vegas and Atlanta and assists Woburn Scottish Terriers in exhibiting their dogs at American Kennel Club conformation shows, as well as styles other breeds shown in AKC shows. She also enjoys styling rare breeds and was the first competitor to bring the Hungarian Pumi in the grooming contest ring. She specializes in working with fearful dogs on the grooming table and enjoys building their trust and seeing the transformation of their behavior. This part of her job she finds more rewarding than any award she has ever received. Kendra currently owns and operates The Upscale Tail Pet Grooming in Naperville, Illinois.