December 2, 2008

Winter Care For Your Pup's Skin & Paws


The winter weather can be fun but also very damaging to your pet's skin and paws. Significantly dropped temperatures, low humidity and snow/ice accumulation can cause very dry skin, and the salt used on sidewalks & roads can cause severe dry and cracked paws.

Here are some tips on how you can help keep your dog's skin and paws safe and soft this winter!



SKIN


The most common skin problem for pets in winter is dry flaking and itchy skin. This is usually caused from lack of moisture in the air - as we often keep our pets indoors more during the cold winter months. They are more exposed to dry heat from furnaces indoors and lower humidity outdoors.

A few things you can do to help prevent and aid your pet's skin are...


* Brush your dog more often. This helps to remove dander and any loose/shed hair.


* Put a warm winter coat on your dog before heading outdoors.


* Feed your pet a high quality diet. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before using supplements or adding oil to the food.

* Reduce the amount of times you bathe your dog during the cold winter weather. Bathing your pet removes essential oils from the coat and skin which can increase the chance of your dog developing dry flaky skin. If you must bathe your dog often and cannot cut back on bathing during winter, use a soothing and moisturizing natural shampoo and conditioner.




PAWS

During winter when it snows there is typically a lot of melting products (such as salt) used on the ground. The salt, sand and ice can get lodged in your pet's paws - in the fur and up in between their pads. If left to build up in your pet's paws this can cause them to become severely dry and cracked, and possibly infected. The melting products can also be ingested by your pet when they lick their paws, which can cause illness.

A few things you can do to help keep your pet's paws safe and soft are...

* Trim the hair between your pet's paw pads. This will help reduce the chance of any ice, salt and/or sand building up in the paw fur.

* Rinse off your pet's feet after each walk with clean warm water. This will help remove any ice, sand and/or salt that your pet may have picked up during the outing.

* You can put petroleum jelly on your dog's paw pads before going for a walk outdoors. Boots are also a good option for foot protection - if your dog doesn't mind wearing them!

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