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       While a dog's coat needs care all year long, it especially needs care during the winter months. It is a fallacy to think that you can ignore your regular grooming practices during the winter months. There should be no difference in how you groom your dog no matter what the season. The most important thing to do no matter what the time of year is to keep your pet's coat open and brushed so that the hair and skin can breathe. Open means free of mats. The layers of the coat need to be seperated like layers of insulation. Once the coat becomes matted, it looses its ability to trap heat and provide insulation. Matted coats also hold moisture near the skin, providing an optimum environment for bacteria and yeast to grow.     
        For dogs that spend a lot of time in the ice and snow, mats can actually capture the moisture near the skin and cause hypothermia. Another false idea that people have is that the more hair a dog has in the winter, the warmer it will be, so they stop brushing and let the hair grow. This leads to mats that are so bad, that once Spring comes, they are forced to have their dogs shaved down to the skin. Or, as is often the complaint of customers "Why did you shave my dog down so far?"     
        During the winter dog owners also need to pay extra attention to the fur behind the ears and around the tail. The fur there grows extra long to protect those areas and mats more easily. Another important consideration in winter months is the quality of your dog's coat. Forced air heat can cause the coat to dry out. Use additional creme rinse or conditioner during the winter months to prevent the coat from drying out. You can also increase your dog's oil and grease intake slightly during the winter months to compensate for the lack of moisture in the air.