MIAMI, Jan. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Winter weather doesn't just wreak havoc on human skin, it can cause dry, itchy, flaking skin on our pets as well. petMD.com has pulled together the following recommendations for both preventing and treating uncomfortable skin problems in dogs and cats.
Avoid bathing your pet with shampoos or soaps during the winter. They can strip away natural oils and moisture and result in dandruff. Simple water baths should be sufficient.
If shampoo is absolutely necessary, make it a moisturizing shampoo, and add in an additional moisturizing rinse.
If you have passed the point of prevention and need to treat your pet for irritated skin, oatmeal baths are a well-regarded remedy.
When choosing products for treatment, you need to keep in mind your pet's age, health status, coat type, skin folds, and more. It is best to speak directly with your veterinarian or groomer for recommendations.
Use a soft brush on your dog's coat. This will stimulate the hair follicles and natural oil glands, removing dead skin cells and loose hair and giving the skin a better chance to heal.
A nutritionally balanced diet year-round will keep your pet's skin in its best condition.
Make sure your dog is receiving adequate levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your pet's food contains proper levels, or if cat or dog supplements would be best.
You can't control the outside temperature, nor can you keep your pet indoors all the time. You can, however, maximize your indoor air quality through the use of humidifiers and fans to keep air circulating and prevent allergens from collecting.
Pet parents need to be mindful that winter weather isn't the only cause of irritated skin. The usual culprits – dust mites, molds, etc. – are being aired out less frequently this time of year and can result in skin issues. Other potential causes of skin conditions include parasites, underlying health issues, and hormonal or nutritional imbalances. If the above tips for clearing up winter-based irritated skin do not succeed, owners should seek the advice of a veterinarian so that more serious health issues can be ruled out.
petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. petMD is a subsidiary of the Pet360 family of brands, which also includes PetFoodDirect.com – the most complete pet food and supply retailer online, and NationalPetPharmacy.com– a fully certified, full-service pet pharmacy delivering pet meds, vitamins and comprehensive pet health and wellness products.