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Groom Your Dog Yourself This Winter

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EW YORK -- For a lot of dog owners, grooming at home is a cheaper, quicker option than using a pro - but it's hard to say who hates it more - you or your pooch!

Winter can wreak havoc on a dog's paws and coat.

So on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," AnimalFair.com Editorial Director Wendy Diamond, author of "It's a Dog's World," shared advice to make at-home grooming an easier, safer process for everyone involved!:

PAW PROTECTION

PROTECT PAWS WITH WATER-REPELLING BARRIER

You should protect a dog's paws when they go outside, especially in the winter. Everyday household items actually work fine, like Pam, Vaseline and Olive Oil. What happens after you put them on is that it creates a barrier around the paw's padding and protects the paws in the winter from drying out, chaffing, or getting raw.

CLEAN and DRY PAWS AFTER BEING OUTSIDE

Pets can get ice, dirt, salt, and chemicals melted to their paws. Wipe your pet's paws when they get back to avoid chaffing or getting raw, and to prevent your pup from licking the salt off his paws. You can buy a pair of pup booties! But if the shoe doesn't fit, don't make them because not all dogs like booties.

BATHING

BATHE EVERY 1-2 MONTHS

Showering is very important for pets, but bathing a dog too often will dry out its coat and cause skin irritation. Most dogs should be bathed about once every one to two months. I have with me some items that are convenient for grooming at home. The Rinse Ace 3-Way Pet Faucet Sprayer sells for $36, and will make washing and shampooing so much easier at home, especially when it's cold outside. Remember to use shampoos that are safe for pets, such as Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo. You can find this at Petco for about $11, and it will moisturize and take care of dry or irritated skin, which can be a problem in the winter.

GENTLY MASSAGE DOWN TO SKIN WHEN WASHING

When you're bathing your pet, remember that you have to work the shampoo down all the way to the pet's skin for it to be the most effective. This also helps massage away the loose skin and hair, which is important to keep dirt, dust, and pests away from your pet. Also, those pet parents out there who are allergy sufferers, many times it's the loose skin and hair that attracts allergens, so make sure to massage away all particles. One great and convenient way to do this is using the Four Paws Magic Coat Love Glove, which you can find at Petco for $15.

BE SURE TO COMPLETELY DRY AFTER BATHING

It's very important to dry off your dog thoroughly after they get a bath in winter, to make sure he or she doesn't catch a chill. Sometimes using just the towels at home don't do the job because dogs can get antsy and too excited to stay put for too long. Petco has some great products to help you out here. The Rinse Ace Microfiber Towel is sold for $15 and is super-absorbent, or the Evercare Pet Drying Towel, which is sold for just under $6. You can also blow dry your dog to get out that last bit of moisture, but remember only use the COOL setting. Don't let them go outside until they are completely dry.

GROOMING

BRUSH 3-5 TIMES EACH WEEK

PROP: Furminator $33 & up

Last thing, it's important to brush your dog's fur to help them stay healthy and happy. If you don't brush your dog's hair it will be matte and attract dust, dirt, and other allergens. It depends on the type of dog, but it's best to brush the fur about 3-5 times each week. You can use the Petco Pin & Finishing Brush, which is sold for $11. It helps stimulate the skin and distributes healthy coat oils. This is a great, easy way to bond with your pet, especially if you start doing this when they're young they actually really being brushed. The Furminator (available in different sizes) is a great option for pets that shed.

ADD HEALTHY OILS TO DIET FOR SUPPLE SKIN & COAT

Keep your dog's skin and coat healthy this dry winter. Just add a tablespoon of flax, canola, or olive oil to your dog's kibble about once or twice a week. Small dogs can get a tablespoon and bigger dogs can get a teaspoon during the winter, but don't overdo it or they will get fat.

To adopt any of the sogs seen on this segment, go to the website of the Humane Society of New York.