The clocks going back always feels like the real onset of winter and the darker nights of the year, and many of us spend a while getting used to the new status quo before we manage to get back to our usual routines. This can be a little confusing for a while as we adjust to the difference, but the autumn clock change can also serve as a handy reminder for dog owners that winter is coming, which gives us a chance to review our dog’s care and maintenance for the coming season.
When it comes to how you care for and groom your dog’s coat, this is probably something that is a little different in autumn and winter to how it is in the spring and summer, because your dog’s coat and their needs alike are apt to change when the weather cools down.
In this article we will share some tips and tricks on how to groom, maintain and care for your dog’s coat in autumn, and explain why autumn and winter dog coat care can be different to spring and summer. Read on to learn more.
Whether your dog has a thick, double-layered coat like the Siberian husky or a short, single-layered coat like the Staffordshire bull terrier, the chances are that they will start to shed their finer summer coat towards the start of autumn, in order to grow in their thicker, warmer coat for the coming season.
It is handy to make a note of the sort of time of year that your dog begins to shed and learn about how their coat changes throughout the year, so that you can begin to predict what will happen and respond accordingly.
The chances are that you will need to brush your dog more often during their autumn shedding cycle and also, need to spend more time hoovering up shed hair in the house, so plan for this and try to keep on top of things.
Ticks, harvest mites and the usual year-round pests like fleas and worms are all active in the autumn, so if your dog is prone to allergies or has suffered from sensitivities at this time of year before, keep an eye out for signs of problems or parasites so that you can treat and resolve them promptly.
If your dog is sensitive to autumn allergens, it is a good idea to use a damp cloth to wipe your dog’s coat off when you come back in from walks, to reduce allergens that may have come into contact with your dog’s coat, which can help to reduce allergy symptoms.
Many dog owners have their dogs’ coats clipped during the summer to help to keep them cool as well as looking tidy, but this may mean that your dog’s coat will still be shorter than normal going into winter, which may in turn mean that they will feel the cold a little more.
Factor this in and also remember that if you do have your dog’s coat clipped off during the winter as well as the summer, you will need to buy them a warm, waterproof coat for winter walks to ensure that they are warm enough.
All dogs need to be bathed from time to time, and this is as true in autumn and winter as it is in summer. However, you should only bathe your dog when they need it rather than just for the sake of it, and this can be trickier when the weather is cooler and you have to bathe them inside (or take them to a dog groomer).
Make sure that the water is a comfortable temperature and that you can dry your dog off fully within a reasonable period of time after their bath, and don’t walk them or let them out into the cold until their coat is thoroughly dry.
Bathing your dog more often than they need can strip the insulating, protective oils from your dog’s coat which will make them feel the cold more and may lead to dry skin, so take care to use only mild shampoos and don’t bathe your dog more often than needed.
Autumn and winter walks are often wet, muddy or slushy, which means that dogs that are small or low to the ground will often get quite mucky when out on walks. This is also often true for much larger dog breeds too, particularly those that aren’t afraid of getting their paws wet!
When you come back in from a walk with your dog, check to see if they’ve got muddy or wet and wash them off and dry them thoroughly. This will help to keep them clean and to keep their skin and coat in good condition. As with bathing in autumn and winter, ensure that you dry your dog off thoroughly afterwards.
Keeping an eye on the condition of your dog’s paws is important when the weather is colder, as they will become more prone to cracking and becoming sore. Walking on hard and cold surfaces all take their toll, and if your dog is uncomfortable or too cold in winter, they won’t be keen to go walking.
Consider using booties or a paw wax in the winter to help to protect your dog’s paws, and check them over each time you get back from a walk to make sure that they are clean and healthy.