why does my dog itch so much in the winter
Itchy skin in the winter can be due to the changes that occur in this cold season, or to your dog s overall health and immune response to his environment. Exposure to Winter Weather Winter brings cold, dry air and rain, sleet, and snow. Constant exposure to these conditions can create chapped paws and itchy skin that can flake off. For most dogs, repeatedly going into winter weather is necessary, even if only for elimination, and simply cannot be avoided. Lowered Humidity Indoors As if the dry air of winter weren t enough, the environment inside your home could also contribute to your dog s itchy skin. Heated air contains less moisture, and this drop in humidity can dry your dog s skin and mucous membranes, and can also predispose him to upper respiratory complaints. Contact Dermatitis Irritated, inflamed, and itchy skin can occur if direct contact is made with an irritating substance. In places where winter brings snow, salt is often used in the streets, driveways, and sidewalks to aid in transportation.
However, that salt can dry out the sensitive pads of your dog s feet, and other skin areas, while the chemicals that are often added can be even more dangerous. Being confined indoors, your dog may be exposed to other kinds of irritants more often, such as fibers in carpets. Parasitic Infections Even in winter, your dog can suffer from parasitic infections. Fleas and mites can be picked up in warmer months and can remain with your dog if left untreated. Parasites can also be spread from other infected animals. Allergies Allergies can appear at any time in dogs, no matter the season. A flea allergy is always present, so long as there are fleas biting. A food allergy or sensitivity that can cause skin rashes and itching can develop at any time, while environmental allergies are present even in winter. Dogs are often confined indoors more often, and can suffer from allergies to dust and mold that can affect the coat and skin.
Skin Infections Bacterial infections in the skin, and in internal areas of the body, can result in itchy and irritated skin. Fungal infections can also compromise your dog s skin, such as yeast and ringworm infestations.
EditorБs note: Have you seen Dogster and Lucky Puppyб magazines in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vetБs office? This article appeared in our Winterб issue. and get the magazines delivered to your home. Scratch, scratch, scratch. And so winter begins with its dry, windy, cold air outside, and the dry, hot, forced air inside, without any moisture in sight. WhatБs a kitty or puppy to do except scratch? Unlike humans, pets canБt just slap on some extra moisturizer and call it a day. However, there are some easy solutions to help with dry skin. 1. Plenty of water LetБs start with the basics: Just because you and your pets arenБt sweating from the heat doesnБt mean you should slack off on drinking water.
Dogs should get at least an ounce per pound daily, and cats require at least two to four ounces daily. Monitor the water bowl for both cleanliness and decreasing water level, plus use filtered water as some cats donБt like the taste of БhardБ water. Feeding wet food will also provide more water. Another way to entice your pet is with an automatic water fountain. 2. Run a humidifier Dry cold air and dry hot air both suck the moisture right out of the skin. Humidifiers put that moisture right back into the air, helping with dry skin, sinus issues, less static, and better sleep. Downside: YouБve got to clean it and change the filter (if it has one) regularly or youБll have yucky mold and bacteria floating around. 3. Bathing Bathe your dog less during the winter Б it removes natural oils that keep the skin hydrated. When you do bathe your dog, use moisturizing shampoos with ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera. For cats, only use shampoos specially made for felines, and only if your cat really needs a bath.
You might want to use a conditioning rinse specially formulated for petsБ dry skin. 4. Brush or comb your petБs coat DoesnБt matter if you have a cat or dog, brushing or combing the hair removes all those dead skin cells and loosens hair. Brushing stimulates hair follicles and the natural oils in the skin, too. 5. Fatty acid supplements Talk with your veterinarian to see if he recommends adding a fish oil supplement to your petБs diet for dry, itchy skin. Your petБs food should contain the minimal daily requirement, but upping the omega-3 fatty acids could improve your petБs skin, along with other healthy benefits. These five simple tips should be enough to smooth out your petБs dry and itchy winter skin. However, dry skin isnБt always just dry skin but could be a symptom of an infection, parasites, allergies, or other condition. Take your pet to the vet if her dry skin doesnБt go away.
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