(DOGS/PET CARE) When the winter cold comes in, so does dry, irritated, itchy skin–and not just for humans. Here are six helpful tips on how to protect your dog from the ravages of winter skin damage. — Global Animal
eHow, Melissa Maroff
With the cold weather and cranked-up heat — comes the dry and itchy skin — and with the dry and itchy skin — comes the moisturizers. But while you’re protecting your own skin, you might want to think about Fido’s too. Dogs experience the same winter skin woes as us humans, but unfortunately, you can’t use Nivea or Jergens on them. Here are some other ways to protect your pooch from that pesky winter skin.
1. Brush your dog frequently to get rid of dead skin cells. Brushing stimulates circulation and the production of oil, which in turn provides moisture. This applies to both long and shorthaired dogs.
2. Use a moisturizing shampoo with an ingredient such as lanolin, that is specifically formulated for dogs. People shampoos can upset a dog’s pH balance (which is different from ours), and thus be harsh on their skin.
3. Shampoo your dog less frequently during the cold months. Too much bathing can strip the coat of its natural oils. Every few months is normally a good schedule, unless you have a dog that spends more time outdoors.
4. Feed your dog a quality brand of food (or homemade diet) with Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols are a source of Vitamin E) for a healthy skin and coat.
5. Add fish oil (Omega-3) to your dog’s diet. Fish oil is used to treat canine skin allergies and relieve itching, and may also treat a variety of conditions including high cholesterol, arthritis and kidney disease. You can purchase liquid fish oil or break open a fish oil capsule and add it to your dog’s food. Flaxseed oil is also a good source of Omega-3 for the coat and immune system, but make sure it’s organic for full benefits.
6. Use a room humidifier to moisten the air if your home is too dry from running the heat.