Tis the season of dry skin and chapped lips. Cold temperatures, low humidity, and heated indoor spaces are the three main culprits that cause skin to become inflamed, itchy, and dry.
And it’s not just people who suffer, so can your dog. Dogs suffer from dry skin as much and as often as people do. Here are some tips to combat dry skin issues in your dog this winter.
1) Reduce the frequency of baths. Bathing your dogs washes away essential oils that help moisturize their skin. If your dog usually gets a bath once a week, reduce the frequency to every two to three weeks. When you do bathe your dog, use a moisturizing shampoo, like one containing oatmeal.
2) Use a soft brush daily. Brushing your dog spreads around the natural oils to moisturize his coat and skin. Buy a soft bristle brush and use it daily to brush away dry skin and bring out the shine in the coat.
3) Give a daily omega supplement. Omega fatty acids help nourish the skin and coat to reduce itching, irritation, and skin allergies. Talk to your veterinarian about which supplement is right for your dog.
4) Apply tea tee oil to affected areas. Tea tree oil is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial treatment that reduces inflammation and, in turn, soothes itching and irritation. Use a diluted product on affected areas to relieve pain, swelling, and itching. NOTE: Undiluted or raw tea tree oil is poisonous for dogs. Only buy diluted tea tree products like shampoos, hot spot treatments, etc.
5) Apply paw rub. Paw rubs, like Musher’s Wax, offer protection from harsh outdoor conditions and prevent paws from drying and cracking. For prevention, use one to three times a week. For treatment, use every day until affected area looks and feels better.
6) Use a humidifier. Indoor heat (regardless of the type of heating system) reduces humidity and wicks moisture away from the skin. Humidifiers can ease dry skin symptoms in both dogs and people. Set one up near your dog’s bed.
7) Stay hydrated. Just like with people, drinking more water improves a dog’s skin hydration. Make sure water is always available, especially when your dog is exercising.
Follow these tips and this winter you and your dog can stay hydrated, moisturized, and itch free.
Andrea Servadio is co-owner of Fitdog Sports Club in Santa Monica, CA. More info at fitdogsportsclub.com.
Main article photo by: stock.xchange