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Winterizing your pooch

So fall is here and winter is fast approaching, which means no more haircuts for Fido until spring, right?

Wrong!

It is a popular belief that dogs do not need groomed and brushed during the cold winter months, because they might get cold.

The fact is your pup needs and desires care to his coat all year long. If your dog has long hair and you do not want to cut it down during the winter months, he must be brushed on a regular basis.

If you do not keep up with a regular brush routine, when spring time rolls around, Fido may need to be shaved down to the skin. If you do not want to brush your dog all winter long, consider keeping your dog in a medium length.

This will keep him manageable for easy care and maintenance. If you feel he will get cold when he is outside, you can always dress him in a coat or sweater.

If you don’t want the expense of taking your dog to a professional groomer, consider buying some equipment to make your home grooming sessions easier and more efficient.

Start with a quality shampoo and you may even want to think about purchasing a professional grade pet dryer. It is important to dry your dog all the way to the skin so they will not catch a chill out in the cool air. If you use your personal hair dryer on your dog, be sure to set it on cool.

Every spring I always see dogs come in the shop matted to the core and they can barely see through goop build up in the corners of their eyes. I have even seen dogs so matted that they have trouble walking.

You can only imagine how miserable they must be. They may not be cold, but they are definitely not happy or comfortable.

Short hair breeds such as Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, and Boxers should not be kept outdoors for extended periods of time, especially during the winter months.

These types of breeds or any breed with naturally short hair are sensitive to the cold and to be comfortable, may require a sweater when outside.

If you decide to keep your dog outside, they will need fresh water, food, and warm shelter. When the air gets extremely cold, move your pets into a warm area, like a garage, basement, or provide them with a heat lamp in their dog house.

Winter care for your dog is largely common sense. It is not that we don’t know what to do, sometimes we just forget.

Life is busy, but pets are a responsibility. Keep them warm and keep them happy!

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony and Kate Barker are certified pet groomers who own and operate The BARKer Shop in Ironton. For questions, call 740-534-0088.