How to keep your dog clean during autumn and winter

19/11/2021

For most pet parents, a rainy day means a wet dog and a dirty home. 

Faced with rainy walks, muddy paws and the dreaded wet dog smell, keeping your pet clean during the autumn can be quite a chore. However, it’s important, not only to keep your dog and home smelling fresh, but also to help prevent fleas and matting. 

If you’re an active dog owner who spends a lot of time outside with your pup, you probably don’t want to let a little bad weather ruin your time. That’s why we’ve asked the team at tails.com to share their top tips to keep your dog looking and smelling clean when it’s raining. 

How often should you wash your dog?

For many dogs, baths aren’t top of the list when it comes to things they enjoy – but unfortunately for them, they are often unavoidable. So how often should you wash your dog? 

So, if your dog hasn’t managed to cover itself in mud or something worse, how often should you wash them? Well, the truth is that you don’t really need to wash your dog on a regular schedule. Your dog’s coat has evolved to clean itself of the basic day-to-day grime, and given that they can’t sweat, they won’t be producing any BO in the way we would define it.

That being said, we are all aware of a certain funk that can build up on our dogs if they haven’t been washed or groomed for a while. For many owners, this isn’t an issue, but for those who find themselves sat with a stinky pup, we would advise that you wash your dog no more than once per month – less if you can. 

Too much washing can actually cause your dog some problems, as they have very sensitive skin. What’s more, if you use any flea or worming treatments that are applied to your dog’s coat, these will be washed out with each bath leaving your pet vulnerable to those parasites. So wash them rarely if you feel you must.

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How to keep your dog clean during the wet months 

Don’t wait around: 

Whether your dog has been splashing in muddy puddles, or even rolling about in animal poo, if your pooch returns home as a mucky pup, it is important that you wash or wipe them down as soon as possible. Cleaning your dog at the earliest opportunity gives the dirt less time to set in, which is better for both your dog and your home.

Keep a regular routine

For owners with dogs that don’t tend to get dirty very often, it can be hard to know how often to clean your pet pooch during the wet months. Fortunately, your dog’s fur has evolved to be self-cleaning, which keeps out most of the day-to-day dirt. However, we all know that even the proudest pups can get a little smelly after a while. 

It’s recommended that your dog only needs to be cleaned just once a month, so try setting a date each month that works for you and your four-legged friend and stick to it. 

Use the right shampoo

It is essential that you avoid using human shampoo on your dog. The chemicals that we put onto our hair are no good for keeping your dog’s fur clean, and can potentially be harmful to their coat and skin. 

There are plenty of quality and affordable dog shampoos available on the high street and online, but if you are not able to find dog shampoo, then a small pinch of baby shampoo will do as these tend to be mild and won’t contain any harmful chemicals.

Avoid over-washing

Keep your dog’s dates with the bathtub down to just once a month. Too much washing can actually cause your dog problems, as their skin is a lot more sensitive than ours. Additionally, if you have applied any flea or worm treatment to your dog’s coat then these will be washed out by excessive bathing, leaving them vulnerable to parasites. 

Aside from the fact that your dog is mostly self-cleaning, there are plenty more ways to keep on top of your hound’s hygiene. There are also plenty of ‘waterless’ cleaning products on the market like dry dog shampoo and waterless cleaning mitts, to help keep your dog smelling and looking clean without getting them wet. 

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Plan your route

Be wary of where exactly you are walking your dog and try to avoid the puddles if you can. If your pup has a tendency to stray towards muddy puddles, then it might be an idea to keep your pup on a lead during the autumn and winter months, when the ground is wet and boggy. 

Extendable leads are useful to keep control of where your dog walks, whilst still allowing them the space to stretch their legs.

Protect their paws

As the temperature drops and the weather turns to snow, it is worth considering how sensitive our pet’s paw-pads are to icy conditions and grit on the road. Regularly tending to your dog’s paws with warm water and a moist cloth will not only be soothing for your dog but help to clean up one of the main areas that spread dirt around your home. 

During autumn, it is extra important to keep checking your dog’s paws after a walk, as bits of debris and leaves can get stuck between their paws and cause irritation.

Feed them right

You can help keep your dog’s coat glossy and healthy by ensuring that they are eating the right food. Your dog’s coat relies on protein, so feeding your pooch a good, balanced diet maintains their healthy glow on the outside as well as on the inside.

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Brushing is best

Brushing your dog frequently is the best way to keep their fur clean from anything that they might pick up while out and about. Jumping through piles of leaves is a great source of fun for your pup, but it is also a really easy way for them to pick up fleas and ticks. 

Thoroughly brushing at least once a day will help to comb out any unwelcome visitors and keep your dog’s coat looking and feeling smooth. Brushing your dog is still perfectly fine during the winter months, as they naturally have enough fur to keep them warm all year round.

Stay allergy alert

Autumn can be a tough time for pets who are susceptible to allergies – one in five of our four-legged friends are said to suffer from them. There are certain plants that thrive during the autumn months and combined with the number of falling leaves, there is quite a substantial amount of pollen around at this time of year. 

It is worth finding out what allergies your dog might be suffering from. Tell tale signs to look out for are sneezing, watery eyes and coughing. You should seek advice from your vet if you believe your pooch is starting to display these symptoms. 

Wear waterproof

Investing in a good quality, waterproof dog coat will keep your dog dry during the wet winter months. Even on days where the rain is not falling down, the colder climate means that muddy patches and puddles linger around for much longer – and we all know, our pups are drawn to them. 

The best features to look out for when picking out a new coat for your dog are waterproofing, durability, double-lining, adjustability and affordability.

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