It’s that time of the year when we crank up the heating and put logs on the fire. Which keeps us toasty, but the warm air and lack of moisture in our homes does a number on our skin and hair. And not just on ours – on our pet’s too. So, on the one hand we’re happy that we’re snug and warm inside with our beloved dogs and cats. But on the other hand we – that’s us humans and our fur babies – have to deal with dry, itchy, flaking skin and brittle hair. Our vet Dr. Sasha Naugler says now is the perfect time to start your pet on a winter regimen that will help keep their skin soft and their coat shiny and healthy. Here are six tips to get you started:
Be careful not to bathe your dog too much at this time of the year or you’ll strip their skin of natural oils (unless, of course, your veterinarian has directed you otherwise). If you do need to bathe her, first try using water without soap to get rid of dead skin and hair. If your pet’s skin is still itchy and inflamed, try bathing her with an oatmeal shampoo. We recommend OUT! Easy Spray Oatmeal Shampoo, which contains oatmeal extract to soothe and nourish the skin, conditioners and Vitamin A and E. And comes in a one-touch, 360-degree spray that lets you get in places that squeeze bottles can’t. Cats of course don’t like to be bathed but you can wipe them down with a damp towel and use the occasion to give them a gentle massage.
Brushing Out Old Fur
Brush your pet regularly using a soft brush to remove dead skin, prevent dog dry skin and distribute oils throughout his coat. Do this weekly, or more often if he has a long, thick coat.
Feed your pet foods that are rich in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, two types of fatty acids that are essential for a healthy skin and coat. Not sure if you’re already doing this? Check your pet’s bag of kibble or can of moist food to see if they list fish oil (omega-3) and vegetable oils/animal fats (omega-6) as ingredients. If they do, you’re already feeding them these important nutrients.
Consider adding a health supplement, such as Vet’s Best Soft Chews Skin + Coat for dogs to their diet. They contain the all-important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus biotin and Vitamin E, to promote healthy skin moisture, a soft, shiny coat, and your dog’s overall wellness.
Because dry air can make your pet thirstier, make sure there’s plenty of clean, fresh water available for them to lap up – and replenish it often.
If you want to add moisture back into the air in your home, consider buying a humidifier, which will soothe dried out, itchy, cracked skin – both yours and your pets. Also Dr. Naugler notes that it helps pets with seasonal allergies to change your air filter in the winter when there is more dust, molds and dust mites, all common allergens that make pets itch. Don’t delay starting this winter regimen or your pet could end up with skin infections and hair loss. And if you follow the above steps and your pet is still suffering, take her along to your vet to rule out other health issues such as seasonal allergies.