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Winters can be harsh on your pet’s skin. The cold weather takes away the moisture from their skin and makes it dry, flaky and rough. Follow these simple remedies to keep your pet’s coat soft and shiny and their skin soft and supple.
Less bathing, but regular grooming
Try to limit bathing during winter months. Use moisturising shampoos (oatmeal variants) which are best suited for colder months. They will prevent the skin from getting dry and rough. For grooming, use soft bristle brushes which help in removing the loose hairs and increasing the blood circulation of skin. Avoid using metal brushes or harsh fiber brushes. Regular grooming for 10 minutes a day is ideal.
During winters, your pet needs extra fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. These help in maintaining healthy skin. Healthy skin appears plump and looks rejuvenated. If you feel that your pet’s skin is dry and flaky, make sure you talk to your vet. He would recommend about required nutritional supplements (omega 3 supplements are easily available) and change in diet (if needed).
Winter is all about soaking up the sun and enjoying a happy play session outdoors. To protect them from extreme cold, make them wear sweater or jacket.
Not all breeds need winter protective clothing, and wearing clothes all the time can rub your pet’s haircoat off. Make them wear sweater/jacket depending upon how cold it is outside, and how genetically well-prepared your pet for cold weather. Pups, older & unwell dogs or ones with heart problems should be kept warm at all times with a blanket or sweaters. While your pet is indoor you can take off the sweater/jacket. Using humidifiers is also a great idea. It allows proper circulation of air in the house and preserves the moisture of skin.
Beware of ticks and fleas
Although ticks and fleas are most prevalent in hot and humid seasons, taking care during winter months is also important. Take your pet to the vet right when winters are setting in for a tick/flea treatment. This would prevent the little ones from being affected by dermatitis (caused due to external parasites). It would also protect the skin from getting flaky and itchy.
Keep an eye on skin infections
If your dog has skin infections (bacterial/fungal); kidney or liver disease; hormonal imbalance or malnourishment issues then consult a vet. These underlying illnesses may have adverse effect on your pet’s skin and coat and can cause skin infections. Itching, red spots, dry skin, and bald patches, are some signs of skin infection.
Just like humans, dogs also have varying skincare needs as per the season. Let your pet enjoy a pamper session while enjoying cosying up under the sun. Massage your pet with some paw butter, nourishing lotion (animal friendly) and brush regularly to keep their skin and paws healthy in winters.
(Dr Prachi Kshatriya is MVSc surgery & radiology at Petcetera Clinic, Pune)
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