With 6 more weeks of winter on their way, many are considering ways to keep their pets warm and dry; however, one important concern that often slips our minds is the way that this winter weather affects their skin and coat. Temperature and humidity changes experienced by pets leaving and re-entering the home can cause skin to crack and itch and fur to become brittle and matted.
For many pet owners, exposing their furry friend to the harsh conditions that cause these maladies is unavoidable, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty that can be done to relieve their pain and discomfort. To help you better care for your pet's skin and coat during the winter season, we at EntirelyPets have compiled this list of helpful tips!
1.Offer Functional Treats or Supplements
Ensuring that your pet's diet supplies them with adequate nutrients to keep their skin moist and smooth is the first step to skin care. Bonies Skin & Coat treats are made with flaxseed, which is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. This essential omega fatty acid is necessary in a dog or cat's diet to maintain healthy skin and it can even reverse skin defects in animals with dermatitis. Wild Alaskan Salmon Treats include both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to provide a more comprehensive solution in low-calorie, mouth-watering treat.
But treats aren't always the best option for providing proper nutrition. For pet owners that need a consistent formula to supply nutrients to their pets, Simply Wild Salmon Oil includes multiple types of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids in an all-natural liquid for both dogs and cats. The oil also features a palatable taste and can either be fed directly to your pet or added to his food. Other oral supplements like Derm Tabs contain both fatty acids and an assortment of vitamins and minerals that reduce shedding.
2.Select the Right Food
Instead of relying on occasional supplements and treats to provide proper nutrition, consider using a food formula that includes fatty acids and Vitamin E in addition to the essential nutrients included in most foods. By using a food formula that is comprehensive in its nutrition, it becomes much easier to ensure that these nutrients are provided in your cat or dog's daily intake.
One such formula available for dogs is Simply Wild All-Natural Pet Food, which is available in 4 formulas that contain fresh meat and vegetables to provide proper skin, immune, and digestive support. Ensuring that your cat's food is similarly comprehensive can be accomplished with Felidae Original Formula, which provides an ideal ratio of fatty acids and vitamins to promote a healthy skin & coat.
3.Control Climate by Offering Indoor Exercise & Proper Ventilation
As previously stated, one of the largest challenges of winter skin care is dealing with the experience of shifting between the cold, arid weather and returning to the warm indoors. Fans and humidifiers can help keep the air circulating to reduce the effects of this transition. It can also help to keep cats indoors and to minimize the amount of times you take your dog outdoors.
Finding a way to give your dog exercise indoors can reduce the stress caused by cold climates. Interactive indoor toys can help keep both dogs and cats active to reduce the need for walks in the frigid cold. One such toy is the FroliCat DART Automatic Rotating Laser that works to keep either cats or dogs active for up to 20 minutes at a time.
4.Relieve Skin Irritation with Topical Solutions
Sometimes, even with the proper nutrition, skin can crack and coats can mat. In cases of seborrhea or skin infections, it may be necessary to use a topical product to treat a specific area of damaged skin. As skin infections are often caused by bacteria, antiseptics like ChloraSeb Pledget Wipes provide an ideal way to manage these conditions and keep skin clean for cats, dogs, and horses.
Other forms of topical solutions allow for the treatment of a wider surface area for pets with a non-localized skin condition. EfaLyt, for example, is a crème rinse that conditions hair coats and moisturizes skin to minimize dandruff. Though this rinse provides a fast and effective treatment for cats, dogs, and horses- you may find it easier to use a specially formulated shampoo, which provides skin and coat care and cleans your pet in one simple process.
5.Care While Grooming with the Right Shampoo and Brush
Cats and dogs need to be cleaned regularly despite the condition of their skin. Baths remove dead skin, debris, and loose fur from your pet- but with the right shampoo, they can also relieve skin irritation, heal damaged skin, and restore brittle fur. Two of the best ingredients for soothing sensitive skin are colloidal oatmeal and aloe, and one shampoo that combines both of these ingredients into one hypoallergenic formula is Vita-Soothe for Dogs & Cats.
In addition to using the right shampoo, brushing your pet's coat can help get rid of loose fur and prevent it from matting. For cats and dogs with sensitive skin, it's important to use a soft brush. The JW Pet GripSoft Bristle Brush is an ideal option, as it also features an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to use. Brushing also has the added bonuses of keeping coats soft and reducing shedding.
If your cat or dog has short fur then you may consider acquiring a pet sweater to keep him warm. Though making such a purchase can be worthwhile, it's important to consider how any attire may affect your pet's skin. Sweaters made from wool may cause skin irritation and rashes; instead, consider purchasing attire made from cotton, acrylic or polyester. One sweater made from a skin-safe polyester/cotton fleece blend is the East Side Collection Holly Days Joy Hoodie.
For dogs that live in weather with snow, protecting paws from ice is yet another important concern. To prevent injury to your pet's paw pads, providing light boots may help spare them from the cold. Pawz Dog Boots provide rubber boots in a variety of sizes to securely fit any dog.
We hope these tips help you protect your pet from the drying effects of the winter weather.