Winter’s cold weather and low humidity conditions can cause your skin to become dry and uncomfortable. This also affects dogs and cats, despite their layer of fur for protection. In fact, winter skin and coat problems are a common concern for pet owners. Indoor heating can dry out the air and circulate allergens throughout your home. Just as you may take extra steps to keep your skin healthy when the weather turns cool, we’ve put together some tips for your pets too.
Dogs and cats grow their own winter coat, but this does not mean they are always protected from frostbite and skin injury. The most vulnerable areas to frostbite are on paw pads, ears, and tail. Learn more about the signs of frostbite. Monitor weather conditions closely and limit your pet’s time outdoors especially during wind chill, extreme cold, and other winter weather warnings. Snow and ice can cut paws, so before going for walks, keep paw pads hydrated and protected with a spray or balm. When you return home, wipe their paws to remove any potentially toxic or irritating substances like salt, ice melt products, and antifreeze.
Make sure your home is comfortable for you and your pets all winter long by controlling the humidity levels. If you have a forced-air or central furnace system, it will emit dry heat throughout your home. This low humidity environment quickly dries out the skin, nasal passages, and causes static electricity shocks. To combat dry air, try using a humidifier and fixing cold air drafts.
Allergies may burden your dog or cat throughout the warm weather, but during the winter months, pets usually spend most of their time inside your home. Dust mites and mold are common indoor allergens that are triggered in the colder months. If it’s already dry, continual scratching from allergies and irritants can damage your pet’s skin and make them prone to other skin problems or infections. While they cannot survive freezing temperatures outdoors, fleas can thrive indoors during winter. Consider using preventatives all year long to keep your pet from being bitten.
Diet & Nutrition
If your dog’s skin is easily dry or irritated during winter, talk to your veterinarian about trying a special diet or incorporating supplements. Omega fatty acids are important for healthy skin. Poor nutrition, including low levels of dietary protein and essential fatty acids, can also cause a dull hair coat.
Grooming & Bathing
In the winter, try reducing the number of baths you give to your dog or cat. Soaps and shampoos can strip the natural skin oils causing flaky, itchy skin. Instead, use a moisturizing or waterless shampoo. You may also try bathing wipes for spot cleaning. Regular brushing also helps encourage blood circulation and distributes natural oils to help moisturize the skin.
VetRxDirect offers a variety of products to meet your dog or cat’s skincare needs throughout every season. Check out these top picks for winter:
Dermallay is a gentle shampoo designed to relieve irritated skin. It contains ceramides to restore and repair damaged skin. It also includes colloidal oatmeal and safflower oil to soothe itching and hydrate dryness. Dermallay is soap-free is ideal for pets with sensitive skin or those with allergies. Leave on the Spray Conditioner for additional moisturizing.
O3 Omega features high potency essential fatty acids EPA and DHA from wild-caught fish oil. It includes vitamins A, D, and E. It helps promote healthy skin and coat as well as immune and joint health. Giving O3 Omega to your dog or cat is easier since it comes in a variety of options including capsules, clip tips, liquid, soft chews, and mini bites.
PawTector is a wax barrier for use in protecting your dog’s paw pads from the elements, such as ice, snow, and hot asphalt and pavement. PawTector can also protect against rough surfaces such as sand, rocks, stone, concrete, or salt. PawTection is water-resistant making it ideal for winter skin hydration and for protecting the paws.
Hylagroom Mousse is a waterless, soap-free cleanser for dogs and cats with sensitive skin and coats. It features a hypoallergenic and pH balanced formula that gently cleans and hydrates. Hylagroom contains ceramides and essential fatty acids to moisturize dry and irritated skin and reinforce the natural skin barrier.