Winter is hard on your dog’s skin. Low humidity coupled with cold winds and moisture-zapping indoor heat does a number on skin of any kind…your dog’s is no exception.
Here’s what the Vetted PetCare vets want you to know about maintaining your dog’s skin during winter.
In winter, you’ll want to cut your dog’s baths in half (at least.) Baths are incredibly drying on the skin even if you’re using moisturizing bath products. Try to bathe your dog no more than once or twice a month, and be sure to use shampoo and conditioner that contain moisturizing ingredients like oatmeal or aloe. Never use a hairdryer on a dog with dry skin.
Yes, you can apply lotion to your dog! Choose something dog-specific that’s free of potentially irritating ingredients or scents, or use a human baby lotion that’s non-comedogenic and also scent-free. To apply, gently massage the driest areas of your dog’s skin with your lotioned fingers, then leave to soak in. This may make your dog’s coat look a bit oily, but for some dog owners it’s better than the alternative of flaky, dandruff-prone skin.
Brushing and/or combing your dog’s coat at least once a day can actually help keep his skin from drying out. Brushing stimulates hair follicles (which release natural moisturizers) and helps remove any dead skin that’s lingering in your dog’s coat. Use a soft-bristled brush and light, even strokes to keep skin healthy.
Your dog’s diet has a lot to do with the overall health of his skin! Ask your vet whether or not adding an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your dog’s diet could improve the condition of his skin. They’re sold over-the-counter at most pet stores and come in both liquid and pill form.
If your house is particularly dry inside, running a humidifier in the rooms you occupy could actually make everyone feel better. Humidifiers work but actually raising the environment overall humidity level which can keep skin (and sinuses!) from drying out. Also be sure to keep your dog’s internal humidity levels strong, too, by offering him plenty of water to drink throughout the day.
If your dog’s dry skin is severe enough that you notice lesions or bleeding, call the vet. If his skin is usually fine in the winter and is flakier than usual this year, call the vet. If your dog’s skin symptoms seem localized to one or two parts of his body, call the vet. Skin problems such as dryness, flakiness, and roughness could actually be symptoms of infections, parasites, or other illnesses.
Questions about your dog’s dry skin?