How to Care for Your Pet’s Skin During the Winter Season
There are many threats to your dog’s health come winter time. The cold and dry air can lead to health problems like dry and itchy skin. It can also produce chapping of the paws and the noses of dogs. There are also dangerous chemicals on the road meant to keep ice from forming. What’s more, the cold wind can tax the ability of the dog to regulate its body temperature. Dogs need your help in keeping them safe. Here’s how to protect pets from cold weather.
Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Some pet owners think that dogs do not need water during the winter because they do not pant as heavy as during the summer. Not drinking enough water can contribute to the dryness of their skin. This can lead to further irritation and intense itching. As such, it is important that you give your dog fresh and clean drinking water every day. This is a basic pets cold weather advice that is easy to adhere to.
Dogs need at least a fluid ounce of water for every pound of their body weight. Check its water bowl and replace it every 3 to 4 hours so that it will not go stale. A pet drinking fountain can help eliminate the need for frequent water changes. Always use filtered water as some dogs are not keen on drinking ‘hard water’. You can also give your pet wet dog food. These measures will increase the level of hydration of the dog. It can minimize the drying effects of the cold winter air.
Invest in a Good Humidifier
Keeping pets safe in cold weather requires addressing the effects of dry, cold air on the skin. What happens is that dry, cold air can draw moisture from the surface of the skin. It occurs by the simple process of diffusion. Since there are less ’water molecules’ in the atmosphere and more water molecules on the dog’s skin, the net movement is from the skin to the atmosphere.
A humidifier can address this issue. This is a device that delivers moisture in the room. It saturates the air with moisture so that there is a net balance of water molecules between the atmosphere and the skin. This can help hydrate the skin and minimize drying. It can also help relieve clogged sinuses while reducing static discharges. There is a downside to using a humidifier, however. It needs regular cleaning and frequent replacement of the filter. You do not want to deliver bacteria- and mold-filled moisture into the air.
Clean and Dry Your Pet Right after an Outdoor Activity
Another useful pets cold weather advice is to clean and dry your pet every time they return from an outdoor activity. The road can have de-icing chemicals that can get in contact with your pet’s paw pads. It can burn the paw pads. Your dog can also lick it and cause digestive problems.
Whenever the pet goes outside, be sure to remove ice and other road debris on your pet’s paws. Give it a thorough wash to help rinse these particles off the paws. Once you are done, dry its paws thoroughly. Also, inspect the paw pads for any sign of injuries. And check in between toes for signs of redness, too.
Use Paw Protectants
If you want to protect pets from cold weather, you can buy pet booties. These are small, boot-like accessories that fit right over a dog’s feet. They work like winter boots. However, it is critical to teach your dog to walk with this canine footwear. Most dogs do not like not being able to ‘feel’ the ground. Also, pick one that can offer your pet protection from the cold. It should also be in the correct size.
There are also paw protectant products that you can apply on your dog’s paw pads and other exposed body parts. These products often contain an oil-based ingredient which serves as a barrier between the ground and your pet’s paws. Do keep in mind that these will not protect your pet from physical hazards like sticks and rocks. It can be quite slippery, too.
Use Moisturizing Pet Shampoos
As much as possible, you should limit bathing your dog during the winter. Frequent bathing can remove the natural oils from the dog’s skin. This can lead to skin irritation and dryness. It can exacerbate the dryness that cold weather brings.
If you have to bathe your dog, you should use an appropriate dog shampoo. It must contain natural moisturizers to help replenish the natural oils that get lost during bathing. You can also use dog shampoos that contain aloe vera and oatmeal. They can help reduce skin dryness and itching. There are also conditioning rinses that you can use on your dog.
Supplement Their Diet with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another simple tip for keeping pets safe in cold weather is omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. You may have to talk to your veterinarian first to check whether your dog will benefit from such a measure. You can give your dog high-quality pet food that already contains these fatty acids. An alternative will be to give fish oil supplements to your dog.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve the health of both the hair and the skin. These substances can also help address the inflammatory processes that bring about intense itching. A reduction in the intensity of the itching can lead to a reduction in the frequency and intensity of scratching. This translates to less self-inflicted wounds.
Brushing your dog’s coat can help stimulate the follicles of the hair. It can also help improve the secretion of natural oil from the glands under the dog’s skin. This helps improve the hydration of the skin, while creating a protective layer against the cold. It does not matter if your dog has a thick, long coat or a short, less dense coat. The massaging action of the brushing is enough to improve the health of the skin.
Keeping pets safe in cold weather involves keeping them hydrated and bathing them only when necessary. Supplementing with fatty acids, regular brushing, and using a humidifier can help, too. Cleaning them after an outdoor activity and protecting their paws can also protect your dog from the effects of cold weather.
- Caring for Your Pet’s Skin During the Winter Season – PetMD
- Cold Weather Safety Tips – ASPCA
- Top 10 Winter Skin and Paw Care Tips – Pets WebMD