How to Help Your Dog Avoid Dry, Itchy Skin in Winter

Blizzard Barrels Into Northeastern U.S.

The mating period brings more than just hoarfrost and thunder snows. It comes with elevated hydro bills, wet socks, snowball fights, cold, crisp air and, unfortunately, dry, itchy skin. This can mean bad news for your dog. Often the itching may aggravate the skin and lead to more irritation, which can subsequently cause hot spots and skin infections. The good news is that there certain steps you can take to ensure your dog enjoys with winter period. Here are a few useful tips on how to help your dog avoid dry, itchy skin in winter.

Bathing and Grooming

At the onset of winter, dandruff tends to become more prevalent on hair or the surface of the skin. This is usually caused by a change in environmental conditions and manifests in the form of dead skin cells. To avoid chemical irritation and loss of natural oils on the skin, limit your use of soaps or shampoos when bathing your dog. If possible, stick to simple water baths or oatmeal baths in the case of irritated skin. You can also purchase certain medicated shampoos designed for itchy skin, but these will depend on the age and health status of your dog. Use a soft brush to help stimulate natural oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, as well as to eliminate any skin patches on the surface. Getting rid of the loose hair and dead skin cells will allow the skin to repair itself naturally.

Nutrition

Treat your dog to a nutritionally balanced diet throughout the year to boost his immunity during the winter months and minimize skin problems. Fatty acids, in particular, are essential for a strong, healthy, and flexible skin. As such, ensure that your dog’s diet incorporates sufficient amounts of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to maintain a healthy skin. An excellent source of omega 3 is fish oil, especially salmon oil. However, ensure that your product is derived from fresh, wild-caught salmon, as opposed to the farm-raised ones.

Water

It’s easy to assume that since winters are noticeably cold and your dog is not sweating much, you don’t have to take plenty of water. Regardless, dogs need at least one ounce per pound of water every day. Use filtered water (preferably) and check the water bowl for cleanliness regularly. You can also boost your dog’s water intake by serving him/her wet food. If your dog is not particularly enthusiastic about the idea of drinking water, an automatic water fountain can help to entice him.

Prevention

Before anything else, make sure your home is winter proof during the cold months. Seal off any gaps and cracks on your doors or windows that may be letting in drafts by installing weather stripping or applying caulking. Additionally, hung lined or heavy curtains at your windows to keep out cold drafts and be sure to open them during the day to let some sunshine in. Maintain the temperature of your main living room to about 21 degrees C, at your bedroom to around 18 degrees C, and the rest of the house at approximately 16 degrees C.

Environmental factors

At the end of the day, you may not be able to keep your dog indoors 24/7. Since you cannot control the external temperatures, you can enhance the indoor atmosphere with fans and humidifiers to keep the air circulating and prevent allergens from accumulating. For maximum comfort, steer away from furniture/carpet cleaning products and room scents/deodorizers, which can be difficult to air out from the house during this period.

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