Apart from asking the question: ‘should I shave all of my dog’s hair in summers’, people also want to know if it is okay not to shave or cut a long-haired dog’s hair in winters. First and foremost, dogs are as susceptible to sunburn and other skin issues due to harsh summers as humans. Secondly, indoor dogs do not need all that hair during the winter. Dogs can easily get overheated, so it is important not to layer or bundle them up too much.
Since most modern homes are temperature-controlled; unless you have a double-coated, thick furred dog that works outdoors all day, you must continue trimming your pooch’s hair in winters.
Let us answer some more seasonal grooming and winter- dog-grooming related questions that pet parents often have on their minds.
Trimming a dog’s fur – which breeds need it?
Dogs like bichon frise, poodles, spaniel breeds, terriers, and drop-coated breeds like the Maltese need regular trimming and grooming. And this includes seasonal grooming too. Just because it is winter, you must not forego grooming. Your pet is likely to live in a climate-controlled atmosphere so you do not have to worry about her/him getting too cold. A rule of thumb: the longer you want your dog to look stylish and well-groomed, that is how often your dog will need grooming. If you can master DIY dog grooming at home, it is the best as you can do it on your own time and also save money. But if you have a special dog breed that requires professional grooming, then do take your pet to the groomers regularly. Some dog breeds need weekly trims and grooming.
Dogs with a double coat must be brushed daily (or at least 2-3 times a week). During the shedding season, your pets need to be brushed twice a day to catch the dead hair. You can also use special dog grooming vacuums. Check out our other article on dog grooming during shedding season.
How often should I cut my dog’s fur?
Again, the answer to the question ‘how often should I cut my dog’s fur?’ depends upon the breed. If your dog has fur like a Husky or a malamute, you only need to brush and comb their hair once or twice a week and daily during the shedding season. These dogs do not need hair trimming or cutting.
Breeds like Poodles, Bichon Frise, and terriers, need special cuts. You can get the job done at a professional groomer’s. Alternatively, you can learn to cut your dog’s hair at home. There are many video tutorials that explain step by step how to cut a dog’s fur. Be very careful: dogs tend to move a lot and some can even get aggressive and bite. So use a muzzle. Have a family member help you out. If you are not sure of what you are doing, it is best to find a professional dog groomer near you. As always, get your dog used to grooming from an early age, so that s/he learns to sit still while grooming. Grooming is a special time for bonding with your pet. So make sure you do it calmly and when you have time so that your dog loves these sessions as much as you do.
Should I shave my dog in winters?
Many people skip their dog’s haircuts in winter believing that they need longer hair to keep warm. This is not necessary especially for companion dogs living indoors. Only if you have hardworking dogs that spend the major part of the day outside then you can forego the hair cut. And in such cases, these dogs do not even need special cuts or trims. Most outdoor dogs, farm dogs, herding and hunting breeds, do not need haircuts. They need to be brushed and combed.
Some owners go in for special winter cut for dogs where they ask the groomer to leave a little more hair on the body than usual. If you do want to go for this arrangement, ask the groomer to leave the body only slightly longer than usual. Ask to shave the hair from the paws and legs so that the ice and snow have no place to cling. Be sure to ask your groomer to make the winter cut look balanced. This is especially the case for poodles, Bichon Frise, etc.
Use a sweater!
If your dog gets cold during winters, just use a sweater instead of asking for specialized haircuts. It is much better and will keep Fido warm and happy. Make sure you remove the sweater indoors as dogs can get overheated when the central heating is on. Some dog owners leave the sweater on all winter: this can lead to foul odor and even matting of the hair. For some hairless breeds, like the Mexican Hairless or the Chinese Crested, use a sweater indoors as well as outdoors. Even Chihuahuas tend to shiver in winters and they need special clothing for protection.
Should I trim my short-haired dog?
Short-haired dogs do not need too much hair clipping but they do need occasional brushing and combing to remove dead hair. You can always trim the fur a bit, but again it depends on your dog’s breed. Check with a professional groomer who can guide you further. Like in humans, shaving the hair too close to the skin could cause ingrown hairs, bumps, and painful lesions in dogs. Avoid shaving too close to the skin.
How do you know when your dog needs a haircut?
How often a dog needs a hair cut depends upon the breed. When your dog’s fur starts matting or accumulating rocks, burr, or leaves on walks, then you know it is time to cut the hair. Breeds that have special grooming needs, like poodles and Bichon Frise, need monthly haircuts, be it summer or winter.
Is winter grooming bad for dogs?
On the contrary, dogs that need grooming regularly also need to be groomed in winters. As mentioned before, some lazy owners leave their pets in sweaters all winter long only to have their pet suffer matting, malodor, sweating, and a host of skin problems.
So continue grooming as usual. Speak to a professional groomer, if needed.
Bathing a dog in the winter
How frequently you bathe your pet depends on where you live, your pet’s breed, and overall cleanliness. Most experts recommend bathing a dog once or twice a month in summers and less frequently in winters. Rule of thumb: if your dog is smelly, bathe him. You can also use baking soda over your pet’s fur and brush him thoroughly to remove foul odor, between baths. These days, special waterless shampoos are also available to keep your dog smelling fresh in between baths.
If you do decide to bathe your dog in winter, please dry him thoroughly. There are consequences to not drying a dog properly before sending him out. The water in the coat can freeze and your dog could suffer hypothermia. So dry him thoroughly before sending him outdoors.
Drying before styling
There also are consequences to not drying a dog thoroughly before styling. The water could remain in the coat for a long time, and as a result, once the hair dries, there could be uneven hair length. The coat also tends to smell if water remains in the coat. So always use a hairdryer and style the pet only after he/she is completely dry.