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5 Ways to Keep Grooming Clients Healthy During Cold Weather

Combine in-salon and at-home efforts to maintain coats and paws.

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EVEN POOCHES WILL pout when the winter cold kicks in. In fact, dipping temperatures and moisture-robbing indoor heat may leave pups longing for the dog days of summer.

So, how can we as pet groomers help our furry friends combat the cold? Here are some cold-weather grooming tips to keep your clients looking and feeling good all winter long!

1. Start with the paws.

Since dogs spend more time indoors, their paws encounter less friction and their nails get longer. And overgrown nails can contribute to major health issues such as sore feet, legs and hips —and overall discomfort.

And when dogs go weeks or months between grooming appointments, you must clip away the excess nail and know what’s actually “excess.” Dogs with black nails are the trickiest; to spot the quick on black nails, look for the dark spot in the center of the nail.

Having a hard time finding the quick? You’re not alone. To help with this, black nails should be done in several smaller clips instead of one large clip (like you would do with clear nails).

2. Trim to prevent “the pack.”

Cold weather wreaks havoc on dog paws. In a winter wonderland, snow can pack between toes — causing matting and doggie discomfort. Take preventative measures against “the pack” by trimming the hair between paw pads.

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To do this, follow the natural bone structure of the foot. For clipping paws, I like to use a trimmer that is smaller in diameter.

3. Recommend at-home brushing.

A common cool-weather misconception is that dogs don’t need grooming, but as groomers,  we know that’s a myth. Winter’s stinginess with sunshine stimulates hair growth, making a canine’s coat thicker.

It’s OK to keep a dog’s coat a bit longer than usual since it will add protection. But, pet parents should keep their dogs on a regular grooming rotation. Let pet parents know that it decreases the chances of their doggie needing a shave down.

A little at-home brushing will do, too. I always like to send pet parents home with a slicker brush that simultaneously removes undercoat to prevent matting and stimulates hair growth for healthier hair!

4. Add massage to bathing for healthy skin and fur.

A lot of pet parents can go through winter sans the suds, and it can fall on groomers to repair lackluster coats and dry, flaking skin. Lucky for us, today’s state-of-the-art shampoos and conditioners loosen and clean dirt while also leaving necessary oils.

For best results, don’t scrub the coat. Scrubbing breaks down the hair shaft, damaging the coat further and creating even dryer skin. Instead, lightly massage shampoos in and allow the product to dissolve dirt.

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The massage technique is sure to be a hit with your furry clients! Plus, your hands will be thanking you for using this less muscle-intensive technique.

5. Offer de-shedding services.

During the winter, customers tend to leave their dogs’ fur longer but don’t like to deal with the extra shedding. It can be beneficial for both client and groomer to offer a de-shedding service along with a longer clip to help keep the pet warm and the coat more manageable.

Another great tool to send pet parents home with is a large pin brush. It not only removes tangles, dirt and loose hair, but also provides greater pet comfort during grooming.

And there you have it! Instead of letting winter go to the dogs, help the dogs make the most of their winters. With regularly scheduled grooming, you can keep your canine clients happy and coming back for these winter weather hacks.

Kendra Otto graduated from The Great Lakes Academy of Professional Pet Styling in 1997. A successful competitor, she ranked top 10 in the country for four consecutive years, as well being the top-ranked pet stylist in the state of Illinois during that time. Kendra has placed at every major U.S. grooming competition and won multiple Best-in-Show/Best All-Around Groomer awards. Other competitive highlights include: multiple Creative Styling awards, Artistic Innovation awards, Superzoo Jackpot Invitational (6 of 50), the Liz Paul Scissoring Award, the 2011 and 2012 Cardinal Crystal Congeniality Award, the Groomie Spirit Award, a nominee for 2009 Cardinal Crystal American Groomer of the Year and the Will Stone Memorial Award for kindness to animals. In addition, she has placed in multiple Rescue Rodeos in Las Vegas and Atlanta, and assists Woburn Scottish Terriers in exhibiting their dogs at American Kennel Club conformation shows, as well as styles other breeds shown in AKC shows. She also enjoys styling rare breeds and was the first competitor to bring the Hungarian Pumi into the grooming contest ring. She specializes in working with fearful dogs on the grooming table and enjoys building their trust and seeing the transformation of their behavior. This part of her job she finds more rewarding than any award she has ever received. Kendra is a member of the Small Animal Education Team for Andis.

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