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It happens to us all this time of year…even our pets. With the onset of cold, dry weather, we run our heat pumps more than ever, sucking the moisture out of our skin. Most of us humans have our own coping mechanisms and favorite products, but it’s important not to forget about our four-legged friends.
Before treating your pet’s dry skin using nutritional or topical treatments, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could contributing to dry skin. Dogs and cats have both have been known to develop dry skin as a symptom of:
So, visit your veterinarian to rule out any more serious problems first.
Just like us, our pets need a healthy diet to maintain optimum health inside and out. What you feed your pet (and what you don’t feed your pet) can be all-important to skin condition. So, what should you feed? Specialized Food. For serious cases, a specialized diet might be called for. Companies like Iams and Missing Link offer foods and supplements designed to keep your dog’s coat healthy. Your veterinarian may be able to advise whether this is the best way to go. Supplements. Oily supplements, particularly those containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils, can be an excellent way to go. Popular options include AllerG-3 and Free Form Snip Tips. For those seeking something a little more natural, Grizzly Salmon Oil is a popular choice. We also offer our own line, Dr. Muller Omega-3 Soft Chews for Dogs & Cats. Fresh fish. If you can afford it (and if your cat can behave) feeding her a bit of fresh salmon can help her get the nutrition she needs the natural way. Or you could look to a natural food with salmon as a primary ingredient, like Orijen Cat & Kitten Food or Acana Pacifica Dry Dog Food.
Changing your pet’s diet is all well and good, but itchy dogs need help now! Topical solutions are the answer, and a variety of options are available. Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoos. These are a mild, soothing choice for your pet with dry skin. Vet Solutions Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo is a popular brand name variety; so is Pet Head’s “Life’s an Itch” shampoo. We also carry a Dr. Muller Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo which offers the same soothing properties for a lower price. EFA Shampoos like Hylyt, PhytoVet and Dr. Muller EFA offer soothing external relief from essential fatty acids without the drying properties of soaps. Relief HC also features EFAs but adds Hydrocortisone for its anti-inflammatory properties. Crème Rinses can follow a specialized shampoo or your usual pet shampoo, and add an extra hydrating element. Popular choices include Micro-Pearls Dermal Soothe Crème Rinse and Hylyt as well as Dr. Muller EFA Crème Rinse.
Last but not least, don’t forget to keep your pet active in cold weather! It’s no better for your dog to be lying about all day than it is for you. Get them up and play with them! Gently brushing your dog or cat’s coat is another great way to care for their skin, while getting in a little quality time.