how to help pets with dry skin in winter

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tips for helping pets that suffer from dry, itchy skin in the winter
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Nov 10 2011

Fall is in the air, and crisp days and cold nights can lead to a common cold weather ailment in our dogs and cats – dry skin.

As the mercury drops, so does the humidity level, which can lead to skin issues for pets. As pet parents know, dry skin can be quite itchy, and an itchy dog or cat is more prone to developing irritating skin infections.

To combat pesky dry skin in winter and provide relief to your itchy pet, consider doing some of the following.

Tips to beat itchy skin in winter

1. Place a humidifier in the room where you and your pet spend the most time. This is especially helpful in houses with forced air heat.

2. Fatty acid supplements can be added to your pet’s food to help relieve itchy skin.

3. Moisturizing shampoos or conditioners, especially ones that contain colloidal oatmeal, may help sooth your pet’s dry skin. Occasionally, prescription shampoos may be needed, so talk to your veterinarian if necessary. Be sure to avoid bathing too frequently, as this can exacerbate the problem.

4. Leave-on conditioners or daily sprays can also be used to help moisturize dry skin.

5. Oral medications, such as antihistamines or steroids, may help your pet, but also might come with some unwanted side effects. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian about these medications if needed.

If your pet’s itching has gotten out of control, be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. An underlying infection could be contributing to itchy skin in winter, and your pet may need topical or oral antibiotics to help cure that winter itch.