Why getting your dog groomed in the winter is so important

With winter just around the corner, your grooming clients may be considering the impact this will have on their dog’s grooming routine.

Although popular belief is that dogs don’t need grooming as often in the winter, it’s just as important to groom them during this time as any other time of the year, particularly if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

At Groomers, we want to use our professional expertise to help your clients care for their dogs this winter. In this guide, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions on winter grooming, so you can aid them in looking after their dogs during the winter months.

From scheduling grooming appointments to advice on keeping a dog’s coat in check between visits, our essential tips will help keep dogs at their happiest and healthiest during the winter months.

Table of contents:

Do dogs need grooming in winter?

Does dog hair grow faster in winter?

How often should you wash your dog in winter?

Do dogs get cold when you shave them in winter?

Why do dog groomers shave a dog’s belly?

Do dogs need grooming in winter?

Dog outdoors amongst snow covered trees

Whether your dog spends more time indoors over the winter with fewer walks or it’s out just as much as in the summer, it will still need to be groomed. 

Although popular belief is that a dog’s hair should be allowed to grow out during wintertime to keep it warm, this can be more detrimental than beneficial. Suppose a dog’s hair is left long and isn’t regularly groomed. This can cause the formation of uncomfortable mats and tangles, leading to skin irritations and infections. Encourage your clients to keep regular grooming appointments and establish a regular brushing routine for their dogs between visits. 

Keeping dogs well-groomed and short during winter also helps keep their coats more manageable for their owners and makes keeping them clean easier. 

Double-coated breeds, such as Border Collies, Huskies and Golden Retrievers, have a soft undercoat for insulation and a thick, dense outer coat. Generally, these breeds love the great outdoors, so they should be groomed regularly to remove loose, moulting fur and prevent mats and tangles from forming.

When a dog’s undercoat becomes severely matted and tangled, it can’t fulfil its main function of regulating its temperature making it more susceptible to hypothermia, alongside the common skin problems and discomfort associated with complicated mats and tangles. 

Regular brushing between appointments can prevent this and should be practised, regardless of the season. As a general rule, you can recommend the following brushes to your clients to allow them to keep on top of their dog’s coat in winter:

  • A slicker brush is a great choice for long-haired breeds. It helps to maintain the top coat and remove any loose hair. 
  • A bristle brush works well for single-coated breeds as it helps to spread oils around the dog’s coat and prevents tangles from forming. 
  • A de-shedding brush is good for double-coated breeds as it gets down to the undercoat and removes loose or dead hair.

Does dog hair grow faster in the winter?

The seasons impact the speed of growth of a dog’s coat. The longer daylight hours stimulate fur growth in the lighter summer months, so hair grows faster than in the colder, darker months. 

However, this doesn’t mean that dog owners should reduce their dog’s appointments during winter. A regular trim can help to maintain the coat and prevent it from becoming overgrown and tangled. 

Here are some other reasons you should encourage winter grooming appointments:

  1. Bathing, brushing and moisturising help to eliminate mats and tangles. Regular appointments can help you keep unruly mats and tangles under control.
  2. A dog’s nails wear down less in the winter as the ground is softer, and they spend more time indoors. By keeping up with regular grooming appointments, you can keep the dog’s nails under control to prevent them from becoming uncomfortable, snapping or splitting.
  3. As the hair between the pads continues to grow, it can collect snow, dirt and chemicals from de-icers, making it painful for a dog to walk and exposing them to ingestion of toxic chemicals. Advise your clients to wash their dog’s feet after winter walks to prevent pain and discomfort, then trim the foot hair during appointments to eliminate further problems. 
  4. Artificial heat can cause a dog’s skin to dry out and flake, so it’s important that its appointments are kept up so you can monitor the condition of its skin, which can easily be cared for with a gentle moisturising shampoo and conditioner. Regular grooming between appointments removes dead skin and spreads natural oils throughout the coat. Winter grooming prevents dry skin from cracking. 

How often should you wash your dog in winter? 

Muddy collie dog standing beside a canal

How often a dog needs bathing during winter depends on its lifestyle and coat type. If a dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it may require more frequent bathing to eliminate dirt and bacteria from its coat. 

If a dog regularly visits your grooming salon, you can schedule its appointments as normal in the winter. Encourage clients to increase appointments should their dog’s coat become difficult to manage with the changing weather.

You could also recommend bathing between appointments with a gentle shampoo and conditioner to help maintain the coat and skin and eliminate odours.

To minimise the frequency of bathing between appointments, encourage your clients to do the following after outdoor winter walks:

  • Fully dry their dog’s coat when they come home from a walk.
  • Brush their dog frequently to prevent mats and tangles.
  • Bathe them only when necessary with a good moisturising shampoo and conditioner to prevent the skin from drying.

Do dogs get cold when you shave them in the winter?

Older Beagle lying wrapped up in a fleece grey blanket to keep warm

A dog regulates its temperature very differently from a human, with heat leaving its body through panting, the pads of its feet and nose. 

However, this doesn’t mean shaving its fur is safe. Double-coated dogs, in particular, have a difficult time with a shaved coat. Shaving a double-coated dog down to its undercoat prevents cool air from getting to its skin, as the undercoat still acts as an insulator, working hard to keep it warm. This can also be detrimental in the summer as a shaved coat exposes the dog’s skin to the sun and increases the risk of it overheating.

Shaving a double-coated dog can also mean that its hair doesn’t grow back correctly and that its undercoat doesn’t insulate it properly. In the case of double-coated dogs, establish a proper grooming routine between appointments to prevent the undercoat from tangling and offer regularly scheduled appointments to keep its coat trimmed correctly. 

If they spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter, double-coated breeds need their undercoat to be kept healthy and intact, which they rely on to keep them warm in colder weather. 

If a dog’s coat is matted and tangled beyond repair, shaving may be your only option to help restore it to health and prevent skin allergies and irritations from developing. However, this should only be used as a last resort for double-coated breeds. 

Single-coated dogs such as Maltese are okay to be shaved as their hair doesn’t regulate their temperature like a double-coated dog’s does. If you’ve shaved a single-coated breed in the winter and notice that it shivers, you may suggest that your client has a dog coat to keep them warm while out.

Why do groomers shave a dog’s belly?

A King Charles' Spaniel having its belly shaved by a groomer

Shaving a dog’s legs and stomach for a sanitary trim to keep the hair on their dog’s stomach and around the rear short for better sanitation and to help keep them cleaner.

Mats and tangles can also be prevented when the belly hair is cut down. If the dog you’re grooming has any mats in this sensitive area, it can sometimes be easier to shave or trim down the hair than to brush out the mats. 

Why dog grooming is so important in the winter: The highlights

As with any other time of year, a dog needs to be groomed in the wintertime to keep its coat healthy and free from tangles and mats.

Winter grooming also keeps a dog’s nails intact, preventing pain and discomfort.

Supporting your clients during and between appointments with a regular, established grooming routine that includes daily drying, brushing, and occasional bathing helps keep their dogs looking great and feeling happy throughout the winter months. 

Shop for your salon’s winter grooming essentials at Groomers

You can find everything your salon needs for the busy winter grooming period at Groomers. Whether you need a new pair of grooming scissors, to upgrade your brushes and combs or to top up on essential shampoos and conditioners, we’ve got everything you need to keep your client’s dogs looking at their best, whatever the season!

Related posts:

Here’s how to maintain different coat types in winter

The top 5 reasons why your dog should visit a professional groomer

How to keep a dog calm during professional grooming


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