Winter Coat Maintenance

by Naomi
(Owen Sound)

Our pyr's coat ices up (especially along his back) when he's outside in winter during the day. Under what conditions should I be concerned about the integrity of his coat? How best to tend to the coat in winter?
I find his coat doesn't always"thaw" out over night in the barn and with these very cold conditions and heavy snowfalls we are experiencing I am concerned for him.
Thank you for your guidance and advice.

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Dec 28, 2017
by: Donna

First, ensure you keep his coat is kept groomed. This allows air to flow through it. If it's matted, there is no air circulation. This article explains how the coat works:

As long as he has access to shelter in the winter, he can choose where he wants to be. Make sure it's an enclosure with snow piled around the outside and hayballs/straw on the inside or simply have an insulated dog house available for him.

If it's a big barn and it's cold inside, have an insulated dog house for him in there. He needs to have options to stay warm. Make sure the flooring is up off the ground and then hay/bed on top of that.

The dog house should be big enough for him to stand up in, lie down fully in and turn around in.

If he chooses not to go in them, then that's fine. They just need to have the option.

Dec 28, 2017
baby it's cooold outside.....
by: Anonymous

Check the ambient air inside the barn after it has been closed up for several hours.
Strange as this sounds, the inside of a closed barn is often colder than the air outside of it. Filled up with other animals besides the dog, the air will be different due to all the expiration of warm breath. It can become very heavy, damp and very cold. Make sure your barn is well ventilated.
If your dog does not come indoors at all, he should have a good thick coat by now. Remember to groom him regularly as it is important to maintain the 'loft' of the coat. Perhaps a good brush to remove the ice from his back, before you close the barn for the night, would help.
Make sure he has a good nest with a thick hay floor and hay bales stacked around it. The hay floor should feel soft and springy. If it is hard and packed it will not be warm and he will refuse to use it. If you gave him a choice and provide this outside, and the snow covered it, he would be snug as a bug. : )

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