Dry and flaky skin is a problem for a lot of people in winter - and it’s also a problem for our pets. We talked to vet Dr Andy Piers about how to look after your pet’s skin and coat this winter.
Have a close look at your pet’s skin
Part the fur in multiple places and really look closely at the skin itself. Is it flaky? Is it red or is it a calm pale, pink colour? Fur often hides what is really going on beyond the surface so take a minute to assess the condition of the skin.
Although winter is usually a time where the skin is calm and less reactive to allergens, some pets suffer from year long allergies and need treatment. Head to Dr Zoo for more information.
Don't over wash
Frequency of bathing depends on the skin condition of the dog and the breed, however, don't exceed a fortnightly bath. This can disrupt the natural flora and barriers of the skin causing dryness or flakiness.
Consider using a dry shampoo instead to soak up any odours or surface dirt in between times. For cat and dog owners, brush them regularly not only to eliminate dead skin cells and fur but to stimulate blood circulation, improving the overall skin and coat condition.
Address the problems on the outside from the inside first
We all crave warm, hearty meals in winter time so make sure that your pet is receiving good quality food as well.
Outside pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm in winter so invest in a diet that is complete and balanced to keep them fuller for longer and you will also see the difference in your dog's coat quality. This simple change can turn a dry, flaky coat into a shiny, luxe and easily managed one.
The addition of omegas 3,6,9 can really help to rebuild the skin surface and many top-of-the-range brands already have these, so check the ingredient list and your pet will thank you.
Continue parasite control even during the cooler months
It is a myth that fleas are only active during summer. If you skip your preventative control during winter, fleas will continue to make a home in the environment in which you and your pets live. So in summer you will have a huge problem trying to eliminate them... smart little things they are!
Pets are also allergic (some more than others) to the saliva from one flea bite. This reaction can last weeks to months so your pet can continue to scratch, even if you don't see a live flea. There are some great, chewable options for dogs which make preventing an infestation even simpler.
Get your pet a cute coat
Not only are there some great designs that mimic high end fashion, some are really functional with insulation and waterproofing. These help to retain body heat and prevent the skin from drying out, especially in breeds that have very fine or short coats.