Dry Winter Air: How to Address Your Pet’s Skin Issues
With freezing temperatures and dry winter air, the air inside our homes becomes even drier and that means winter challenges for our pets.
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If there’s one thing we can commiserate with our pets, it’s dry winter air! With seasonally low humidity and constant heating, even humans are challenged with dry, flaky skin, respiratory problems like bronchitis, dried out, achy sinuses and sudden nosebleeds.
Imagine how your pet feels!
Winter Issues for Our Pets
Dry winter air and even drier air inside cause real challenges to our pet’s overall health. Issues like:
- Dry skin;
- Itching; and
- Static electricity.
To help address the challenges from dry winter air, use a humidifier to put moisture (humidity) back into your home.
Want to avoid buying an expensive humidifier? Try water-filled vases on windowsills exposed to sunlight, boil a tea kettle on the stovetop and place metal or ceramic bowls of water on heat radiators or registers.
Reduce static electricity by dusting with a non-static dryer sheet – wipe down furniture too.
Keep reading to learn other effective remedies to help keep your pets comfortable despite the dry winter air.
Dry Winter Air: Canines
Even with the extra protection of their fur coat, canines are still challenged by dry winter air and the effects on their skin can be exacerbated by regularly going in and outdoors.
“Excessively dry skin on your dog will manifest itself in ways you might expect, such as dandruff-like flaking and brittle hair. But excessive scaling … could be a sign of a bacterial skin infection, which requires veterinary attention for treatment.”
(Dr. Nicole A. Heinrich, Veterinarian, McKeever Dermatology Clinics)
- Dog-friendly topical moisturizers (weekly or every other week; ask your vet)
- Increased brushing to stimulate and distribute the skin’s natural oils
- Vitamin E oil for dry noses
- Limited bathing with a dog shampoo/rinse with soothing moisturizers like oatmeal and aloe vera
- Increased Essential Fatty Acids (note: always speak with your vet first):
- For conditioned skin:
- Zinc & Vitamin A
- Raw eggs
- Sardines & Herrings
- For mild, seasonal allergies like dust mites, human dander, cotton, wool and mold. Antihistamines can be sparingly used (like Benadryl), but the natural alternative, Quercetin or Quercetin Bromelain, is much safer for dogs. Quercetin is part of a group of natural, water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids. (Long-term use of OTC products like Benadryl (specifically the ingredient diphenhydramine) may cause dementia in dogs and humans.)
- For conditioned skin:
Dry Winter Air: Felines
Just like their canine friends, our felines are just as susceptible to winter dryness. But excessive itchiness and scratching can lead to unwanted infections and wounds for your cat. Below are some remedies to keep your cat’s skin well-conditioned.
“Good nutrition is essential for your cat’s healthy skin and coat … along with good hydration for the optimal function of every feline organ including her skin.” (iheartcats.com)
- Increased brushing to stimulate and distribute the skin’s natural oils. Avoid bathing your cat in winter.
- Increased Omega-3 Fatty Acids (note: always speak with your vet first).
- Vitamin E.
- Feed a high-quality cat food with a high content of water.
- Add olive, fish, krill and mussel and coconut oils to food (coconut oil can also be massaged into the fur). Do not use grapeseed or flaxseed oil, cats cannot properly process these oils.
- Cats can also suffer from seasonal allergies. Like dogs, cats can be given an OTC antihistamine. But the natural alternative, Quercetin or Quercetin Bromelain, is much safer.
With some proactive care and remedies along with your vet’s advice, you and your pets can comfortably enjoy the winter season!
6 Tips for Treating Your Dog’s Dry Winter Skin
6 Tips for Your Cat’s Dry Winter Skin
6 Tips for Keeping Your Dog’s Skin and Coat Healthy during the Winter Months
Cats with Dry Skin – Best Natural Remedies for Dry Skin in Cats
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Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay
Image by Rodney Habib, Pet Nutrition Blogger
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