5 Grooming Tips for Fall (Pets)

As the seasons change, so might your dog’s grooming needs. It’s important to take care of your pooch’s fur, skin, paws and nails year round, and cooler temperatures bring about some special considerations.

Here are five expert tips for helping your pup look (and feel) his best this autumn:

Maintain a Regular Pet Grooming Schedule

While many pet owners prefer to keep their pets’ hair longer during the cooler months, it’s important to keep your pet on a regular grooming schedule.

“If dogs are not being groomed regularly, irritants, pollens and dead skin cells can accumulate on the skin, leading to irritation,” explains Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, a veterinary dermatologist with Animal Dermatology & Allergy Specialists in White Plains, New York.

Regular grooming helps prevent matting, excessive undercoat and a buildup of dead skin, says Nikki Elie, a pet stylist at Immaculate Pooch Grooming in Leicester, Massachusetts. “It also helps to ensure that a dog’s skin and coat is clean and healthy, his nails are kept short and his ears are clean,” explains Elie.

Continue Your Bathing Routine

Don’t skimp on the baths just because those summertime park romps are on hold. Most dogs benefit from routine bathing year round.

“The surface of the skin contains byproducts of skin glands, dead skin cells, bacteria, yeast, dirt, pollens, environmental irritants and mold spores,” says Rosenberg. Bathing will remove excessive accumulation of these unhealthy elements.

The frequency of baths depends on your pup’s unique coat and health needs. “Some normal dogs can go long periods of time without being bathed or groomed while some—especially heavy shedders—can benefit from baths every week or two,” says Rosenberg.

Be Vigilant About Allergies

For dogs who suffer from environmental allergies, bathing can help remove pollen and other allergens that collect on the skin’s surface, causing itching and infections.

Dogs can react to allergens that come into contact with their skin or mucous membranes. If allergens are inhaled, these can also cause an allergic reaction. “Most dogs with skin disease benefit from regular bathing and grooming every one to two weeks,” says Rosenberg

During the autumn, allergen levels can be especially high. “Environmental molds can have large numbers of spores in the fall, wreaking havoc on dogs with allergies,” says Rosenberg.

Use a Moisturizing Shampoo

Frequent bathing combined with cold, dry air can lead to dry skin. To prevent this, Rosenberg recommends using a high-quality moisturizing dog shampoo. Even if your pup has a unique health condition that requires frequent bathing, the right formula should keep his skin moisturized.

If you have questions about what shampoo to use for your dog, consult with your veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist.

Be Mindful of Paws

As cold weather approaches, paws can easily become dry and cracked. Just as you reach for hand lotion, your pup could benefit from a soothing paw balm. “There are many wonderful products that can help keep your pet’s paws moisturized,” says Elie.

If you live in a region that dips below freezing in the fall, make sure your dog’s paws don’t come into contact with rock salt, which can be especially irritating to sensitive paws. Consider the use of dog booties to help protect the paw pads and prevent them from becoming dry and cracked.

Article by JACKIE LAM