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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Winter Grooming

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Adjusting to winter is a little more complicated than just letting the hair grow.  Dogs, especially those who stay outside like your hunting dogs (fox hounds), need to have their houses prepared for winter with more blankets, straw or cedar chips.  Water bowls need to be attended to regularly to avoid freezing.  The body of an outdoor dog will acclimate to the weather as well by producing a thicker coat.  However, dogs who only go out for exercise and to relieve themselves aren’t exposed to the cold long enough for their bodies to start developing thicker coats.  There is a theory that the frequent switching between a cold outdoors and warm house actually confuses the coat and our pets continue to shed through the winter.

This is the season when many pet owners wonder whether to continue with their dog’s regular haircut schedule or start leaving it longer to keep their pets warm.  The short answer is that yes, longer, thicker coats retain more heat.  But there are several questions to consider when deciding on hair length and they all center around “why.”  Why do you usually get your dog clipped?

  1. “Because it’s so hot in the summer and less coat makes him cooler.”  If this is the only reason you get your dog clipped then you should let the hair grow for winter and maintain it with brushouts and baths.
  2. “Because I don’t have time to brush him myself and he will matt up.”  Then continue the haircut but pay extra attention to your dog’s behavior in the cold weather.  If he’s stopped playing to curl up and shiver, it’s time to bring him indoors!
  3. “Because he sheds so much and clipping means less hair.”  Once again, if you’re paying attention to the weather and your dog’s behavior, you’ll be fine with a clip I winter.
  4. “Because I own “X” breed and want him to look like one.”  Watch your dog’s behavior and go ahead with the clipping—after all, that’s how I pay bills in January!

When you think about it, any extremes in temperature—whether the July heat or January frost—need to be addressed when it comes to pet care.  If your dog is basically indoors except for exercise and relieving than you can certainly continue clipping.  If you decide to let it grow until spring, great—just keep it clean and brushed.

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