For dog groomers, winter dog grooming for show dogs can be more involved than the spring and summer season. Never did I learn this valuable lesson more than when I traveled around the Midwest showing dogs. I had 2 beautiful Irish Setters at the time that I was managing as the 3 of us worked towards their championships. It was a great learning experience and it turned into a small grooming business for me. I specialized in sporting breeds but have had experience with a number of the breeds. Some of the dog grooming tips I learned I still use today on my present dog, a German Shorthair Pointer.
Keeping snow and ice balls off of paws
There are a number of great products that you can purchase to assist in keeping the dog’s paws free of snowy, slushy, ice balls that build up in between the dog’s individual toes. However, these products consist of a combination of oils that keep the paws slick and slippery to repel the snowy, slushy, iceballs. You can essentially do the very same thing with any vegetable oil in your cupboard. I keep olive oil around so my dog ends up with that on her paws during the winter months. This is especially helpful when you’re showing your dog. When your at a show you don’t need the dog tearing at his/her feet to get those bothersome things out!
Winter Show Coat Maintenance
If you’re showing dogs in the winter, depending on the breed you’ll have some different challenges than in the warmer season. For those folks with dogs that carry a dense undercoat, these dogs will need consistent brushing and thinning. Dog’s coats become heavier in the winter so you need to maintain daily brushing and thinning with a special grooming tool that thins the coat to prevent the frequent matting that occurs as a result of a more dense coat. This will keep your show dog coat in top notch condition.
Some may think that you need to bathe your dog less in the winter months, however, myself as well as many other dog show handlers always bathed our dogs frequently to encourage the coat to grow, and therefore help them stay warm. I did make a point of conditioning the coat with my favorite conditioning products more often though. It helped to create more of a luster throughout the coat for a healthier look in general. That was a plus for the show ring though, so I kept up with it regularly.
Maintain Regular Clipping
If you have areas of your dogs coat that require some clipping be sure to keep up with these areas of your dogs coat throughout the winter. As stated earlier if you let the coat overgrow, you’ll end up with more matts which will then require you to cut large portions of the coat out. Not only will that make a show dog look awful, but it will expose a large portion of the dogs body leaving them with less coat for winter warmth.
Winter dog grooming requires a bit more work, however, maintaining those winter dog grooming tasks will ensure that your dogs coat stays healthy and well maintained, especially for those who show dogs, until the warm weather returns with less grooming to do.