When the fall and winter seasons come around, many people reach for the lotion to help prevent their skin from drying out, cracking, and feeling uncomfortable. Your pets can experience a similar dryness, but many pet owners don’t think about dry skin issues in dogs and cats. Work with your local veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to find the best conditioning treatments to prevent and heal dry skin. Pet owners in Southcoast Massachusetts and Rhode Island can get winter tips for small pets, cats, and dogs when they visit our veterinary clinic. In many cases, the best treatment is to offer preventive measures to avoid these conditions from happening in the first place. Dry skin can be dangerous, if left untreated, and can cause other issues to occur for pets of all ages.
Why Winter Dries Skin
The winter season is the worst for dry skin. The humidity is lower than in the summer months, and the outdoor air is cold and windy. Going back-and-forth from indoor heat and dryness to outdoor cold and wind can wreak havoc on anyone’s skin and immune system. Even if you have the best HVAC system in your home and run a humidifier to fight against the dry air, it’s still a good idea to keep up with conditioning to prevent dry skin. Many of the typical dry skin issues in cats and dogs can result in dry, itchy, and flaking skin, which can ultimately lead to infection and illness if not taken care of right away.
Increased dandruff can also be a problem for pet owners in Southcoast. Dogs and cats that already have dander or dandruff issues may require increased bathing to get rid of the dry, flaky condition. However, even with sensitive skin shampoos and conditioners, the pet’s natural oils can become stripped away, reducing the protection they provide to the pet. Some shampoos and soaps – even those labeled as being exceptional for sensitive skin – can irritate. In many cases, a simple water bath without soap and shampoo may be best. Moisturizing and prescription shampoos, as recommended by your vet at the animal hospital in Dartmouth, can also be helpful.
Home Remedies for Dry Skin
If you notice that your pet already has dry skin, one of the best winter tips for small pets is to consider giving them an oatmeal bath. Used by people for a variety of reasons, special medicated and non-medicated oatmeal shampoos and bath products for dogs can help to relieve dry skin and prevent future problems. There are a lot of mild shampoos available at your local pet store or online. Make sure that they have gentle ingredients and do not contain any harsh chemicals. If you aren’t sure what to use, you can always contact your vet’s office or schedule an appointment for an exam.
In some cases, simply using a soft brush on your pet’s hair each day will help to stimulate the natural oil glands in the skin to moisturize the skin. If you notice any patches of dry skin when you brush, remove them to get them off of your pet. Removing these dry skin cells and any loose hairs can help the skin to repair itself and reduce dryness in your pet’s skin. Make sure that your pet is eating a diet that is rich in fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, for healthy skin and fur. Again, if you aren’t sure what to use, our veterinary team is happy to help pet owners in Southcoast with recommendations for products that contain these essential nutrients.
Other Causes of Dry Skin
In some cases, the winter weather and dryness have nothing to do with dry skin issues in dogs and cats. Other problems, including dust mites, fleas, molds, and mildews, can also play a part. The home is not aired out in the winter as it is in the spring, summer, and early fall, which is why there can be an increase in symptoms from these conditions. Allergies can also be a cause of dry skin in pets, particularly when air sprays, deodorizers, and cleaning products are used in a closed, confined space. They can be problematic for people, too, which is why natural cleaners and simple water-and-vinegar cleaning solutions are on the rise.
Outside of environmental, chemical, and pest problems, other things that can cause dry skin for pets and pet owners in Southcoast can be medical. For example, kidney or liver problems, hormonal imbalances, nutritional issues, and even old age can all result in dry skin issues in dogs and cats. If you have tried everything and nothing gets your pet to stop scratching, itching and looking uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. You can reach our team by calling 508-996-3731. We are open Monday through Saturday and are closed on Sundays and major holidays.