Tips on Healthy Skin for Dogs
Dry, itchy skin is a common winter ailment for us, and our dogs. Here are some ways to help keep you and your dog’s skin feeling great this winter.
- Stay hydrated – Sometimes in winter we forget to drink enough water. Monitor your water intake to help prevent dry skin.
- Don’t scorch your skin in the shower – It is satisfying taking a nice hot shower in the winter, but it is terrible for your skin. Keep the water at a mild temperature.
- Moisturize – Apply lotion or body oil within three minutes of getting out of the shower for maximum water retention, then reapply as needed (especially after washing hands or face).
- Use products designed to help reduce skin irritation, such as hypoallergenic soaps or sensitive-skin deodorants. Products with harsh chemicals and strong scents can irritate your skin, making the dryness and itchiness worse.
- Take fish oil or coconut oil daily. Omega-3s can help improve your skin, as well as heart health. Omega-3s can be found in fish, but also in walnuts and flax seeds if you are a vegetarian or just don’t like fish. You can also add coconut oil or olive oil to your diet for similar effects, or apply it on your skin directly as a moisturizer.
- Buy a humidifier to keep the air in your house moist.
- Wear gloves, especially if you have a job where you wash your hands a lot. Disposable gloves can help reduce hand washing while still keeping you clean. Wearing gloves out in the cold can help keep moisture on your hands and prevent skin cracking.
Dogs (some of these can be applied to cats as well!):
- Include a moist food in your pet’s diet. This will help them intake more water, keeping them hydrated. You can also add water to your pet’s dry food to help with the hydrations as well.
- Follow the same skin care rules for your dog: warm instead of hot water, natural, sensitive, or hypoallergenic products, and a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing.
- If you have a short hair dog, buy them a coat for winter outings to prevent their skin from drying out when they are outside.
- Add oils to their diet, same as with your own. Coconut oil, fish oil, and flax seed oils can all be safely used in pets, but you will want to check on proper amount and introduce slowly to check for allergies or prevent stomach upset. Olive oil can also be used on their skin and coat.