With all the bad weather we've been having lately, most dog owners will be fairly used to watching their pup roll in the mud, splash in mucky puddles and come home looking smelly and scruffy.
And although most dogs love dirt, grooming is essential at this time of year to remove any grub and grime that might be making your pup feel uncomfortable and to prevent your home from becoming covered in muck and hair.
So even if you reckon your canine companion will race outdoors straight away and undo your hard work, now is the perfect time to treat them to a complete grooming session and have them looking in peak condition for Christmas.
As a general rule of thumb, unless you have a fancy show dog, you shouldn't bath your pooch more than about once a year as the shampoo can irritate the skin and wash out some of the natural oils from the coat.
However, if your pet is filthy or has rolled in something very smelly, you may have to pop them in the bath for a complete shampoo and rinse.
Use warm water that is at a comfortable temperature for human skin before applying the shampoo, washing your pooch's coat thoroughly and then rinsing all of the soap.
Your pup is sure to treat you to a soggy shake when they come out the bath, but give them a helping hand by towelling their fur dry with some old linen.
Compared to washing, brushing should be done on a regular basis in order to keep the coat in a good condition and to give owners the opportunity to check their pet over for any lumps and bumps.
Most canines will be more than happy to let you brush them and will enjoy the experience of being handled, but if they're anxious or fidgety, use plenty of praise and dry dog food treats to make the process more pleasurable for your pup.
"If you're tense, the dog can feel it," Debbie Felder, owner of California-based Bowser's Natural Pet Grooming, explains to the Dog Daily. "Take it slow. Tell it to relax. Give your dog a massage while you brush."
If your dog walks on the pavement a lot then chances are that they will naturally wear down their nails and they won't need regular clipping, but less active canines may need a bit of a pedicure every few weeks to avoid overgrowth and infection.
Many owners will turn to a vet or a professional dog groomer for this job as it can be a little tricky, but it is possible to buy your own clippers and do it yourself so long as you're careful.
The trick is to not cut away too much as you risk catching a vein and just trimming the edge gently.
If you're not sure about any grooming techniques or are struggling with a matted coat, the best thing you can do is speak to a professional dog groomer who can offer you advice and tips.
"Most groomers will be happy to demonstrate good techniques for you if you’re having trouble," says Ms Felder added.
Written by: Hannah Dyball