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How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Skin in the Winter

Winters can be harsh, not only for humans but for animals too. So if you are a pet parent, it is important that you take extra care of your dogs during the winter months to ensure their well-being and prevent health conditions. While it is common to worry about diseases like hypothermia and frostbite, it is also vital to pay attention to their skin and coat. Their fur is what protects them, and the skin can dry out in the cold, brutal winter air. Here are some tips on how you can minimize the effects of the cold season on your dog’s skin:

(Photo via StockSnap, Pixabay)

 

Give baths only when necessary

The cold air already affects your dog’s skin, so it is best to bathe them as little as possible at such times. A lot of baths can strip their skin of essential oils, resulting in dry, flaky skin prone to itching. They may also develop dandruff, which will cause further problems. Use only dog shampoos that cause minimal irritation or try an oatmeal bath to soothe the skin. If your dog has already developed some skin infection, ask your vet to recommend a suitable shampoo.

Remember to moisturize

Similar to people, dogs also battle dry, flaky skin when the weather turns cold, and moisturizing it well can reduce the frequent itching and irritation. Use cleansing products that have moisturizing properties if you need to bathe them. Topical moisturizers are a good choice as these are easily available and not too expensive. Coconut oil works excellent and is safe to use on your pet’s body if you find the ears, paws, or tail cracking due to dryness. Another effective way is to supplement their diet with fatty acids like omega-3 or omega-6. However, consult the vet before making any changes to your pet’ diet.

Avoid shaving your dog

This is an often-debated matter, but completely shaving your dog can actually cause more harm than good, irrespective of the weather. In winters, fur becomes even more important as it provides warmth and also keeps the skin protected. Long-haired dogs can get a trim to minimize the chances of ice balls being caught up in the fur. Short-haired dogs are more prone to the harshness of the weather, so get them winter wear that provides proper coverage.

Groom regularly

Grooming is required to maintain a healthy coat and skin in dogs, and this becomes more important in the cold months. If you cannot make regular trips to the dog salon, you can easily do it at home with a dog brush and comb. Matted fur can trap moisture, leading to skin infections. Such hair also keeps the natural oils on your dog’s skin from being distributed, thus preventing the coat from being healthy and shiny. Brushing their fur works as natural moisturization for the skin and also lets you keep a frequent check on their skin’s condition. Moreover, grooming is a great bonding exercise between people and pets.

Do not ignore the paws

You most likely take your dog out for walks in the winter, and while they do love going out, the ice-melting chemicals used on roads and sidewalks can cause a lot of problems for their paws. The best option is to make your dog wear well-fitting booties that keep out the snow and salt. If he is not comfortable with it, use coconut oil or pet-friendly wax on their paw pads before going outdoors. Once you are back, wipe down the paws and stomach with a damp, warm cloth to remove any slush and salt and do not let the dog lick it. Also, pay attention to the area between their toes as snow often gets trapped there. You can trim the fur in such places to prevent infections and ice build-up.

Caring for your pet’s coat and skin during winters is not a tough task; however, negligence may lead to skin problems that cause quite some trouble for dogs. These easy-to-follow tips, combined with the proper diet and exercise, can make winter a less worrisome time for both you and your loving pets.

Article Submitted By Aurora James.

Like most dog owners, I enjoy spending as much time with my pup as possible, and sometimes that means bringing him with me to dog-friendly restaurants and shops.
He’s very well-trained so I trust him to behave properly around other dogs and humans. And before bringing him to a business, I always make sure I know their rules regarding dogs.
Unfortunately, not all dog owners keep close tabs on their pup’s behavior when out in public. At DogEtiquette, we thought it might be good to come up with some hard and fast rules for dog owners to follow when bringing their pets to coffee shops, specifically, and we’ve included them in a new infographics. – Aurora    Visit her on her website DogEtiquette.info.

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