By Shirley Bittner
Anyone who has to endure a harsh Canadian winter knows that bitter northern winds and sub-zero temperatures can wreak havoc on our skin, often drying it out and causing unwanted itchiness. Fortunately, we mere mortals have the option of reaching for a bottle of moisturizer when things get rough, but what can we do for our dogs when dry winter skin cramps their style?

It is around this time of year that a lot of dogs begin to shed what is described as an abundance of excess coat in preparation for warmer months (yes, it may seem impossible, but spring is coming our way…we hope!) This shedding phenomenon causes a doggie version of dandruff and can sometimes trap tiny dirt particles close to the skin, making things a little uncomfortable for poor Rover. Luckily, however, the solution is quite simple.

While your first instinct may be to run out to your local pet store and buy bottles and bottles of luxurious pampered pooch shampoo, and although a good shampoo is important for a healthy coat, the best thing to do in this particular scenario is simply to brush. That’s right, brush!

There are lots of different tools available for a grooming task such as the one before you, ranging from soft rubber nubs to coarser wire brushes. We suggest consulting with your local groomer in order to choose the brush that will best suit your dog’s coat requirements.

Brush slowly and steadily to remove the unneeded fur and follow through with a leisurely toweled rub down. The combination of these actions encourages a chain reaction of sorts: better blood circulation, which then stimulates oil glands beneath the skin, which in turn promotes a better hair growth to shedding process without the awkward in between itching phase.

So remember, the key to a happy non-dry owner-dog duo is a regular brushing regime for the dog and plenty of hand-lotion for yourself!

By Laura L. Benn