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Don’t forget, pets’ winter coats need grooming, too

The other evening, my husband, Ray, tried to shame me into brushing our old Golden boy, Brady. He desperately needed to be brushed, but I was in “weekend” mode, being lazy on the couch and acting as if any physical labor might break my arms. I was being a bit theatrical, and (did I mention?) lazy.

After he finished shoveling snow, Ray gave in and went and got the brush and started grooming Brady himself. I supervised until I realized neither Brady nor Ray seem amused.

Brady has one of those really pretty but super curly coats that always looks mussed up. And, we can only brush one side because the big lug lays on his side and there is no moving his dead weight once he’s down. Ray also discovered that brushing Golden curls is about as futile as giving a cat a pill.

That being said, we do have to figure out how to get Brady to the groomers, especially since we discovered there is no getting his arthritis-riddled body into the Jeep until we purchase a ramp for him.

Thank goodness my cousin, Cyndee, is a pet groomer. I can’t believe we’re that old, but she’s been grooming for 34 years and currently has her own “grooming garage” nearby.

Cyndee said that she can definitely handle our old, slow-moving boy and that one of her favorite clients, who recently passed away, was an old Golden who was unable to stand. If we can get him there, she can pamper him and make him beautiful.

It’s amazing what a good groomer can do with a pet’s messy coat. The transformation is equal to a human day at the spa and oftentimes the results are even better than a human spa day.

Aside from just looking pretty, though, there are a lot of reasons why it’s important to keep your pets’ grooming appointments, especially during all of this nasty, winter weather, according to Cyndee, who offers up the following grooming tips to her clients and was happy to share with us.

“Rain, wind, snow and ice can and will wreak havoc on your dogs skin and coat,” she says. “It’s not only a really hard time of year for you to maintain your pet’s coat, it’s also hard for us (groomers) during their routine grooming.”

1. Brush your dog daily, if possible. A dog, wet from snow and rain, becomes matted easily. When mats aren’t removed they become tighter and even painful. No one wants to have to shave your dog down in this extreme weather when the mats won’t brush out. 

2. Only use a sweater when necessary. Sweaters cause matting. I cannot stress enough about how important it is to brush your dog after removing the sweater. Sweaters cause static, a number one reason for matting. No one wants a spring time shave in the shape of a sweater!

3. Pay attention to your dog’s paws and nails. Ice and salt can be super irritating to paw pads and cause cracking or sores. Make sure there is no hair in paw pads because it holds ice and salt in the paw pads. Long nails can crack and be painful also. 

4. Most importantly, please don’t slack on winter grooming, thinking your pet needs all that fur. They still need normal grooming and it’s also an opportunity for us groomers to help with any winter issues that may arise with your pet.

Amy is the author “Have Dog Will Blog”, editor of the Central PA Pets magazine, and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna @altoonamirror .com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.

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