Fall and winter weather wreak havoc on our own skin so it is no surprise it can also affect our pets’ skin. Colder weather means the heat is on indoors, and the drying effects can cause itchy and flaky dry skin for our four-legged friends. Not only does this take a toll on their coat health but it can also make them uncomfortable! Here are five ways to help your pet avoid dry skin and keep their “winter coat” in tip-top shape.

1. Brush your dog or cat’s coat on a regular basis
Regular use of a soft brush on your pet’s coat promotes circulation and stimulates and distributes natural oils to help moisturize their skin. Brushing regularly also prevents tangles and mats from developing. Removing dead skin cells and loose hair from the coat allows the skin a chance to repair itself naturally.

2. Bathe less often
It is a good idea to reduce bathing frequency in this time of year as baths rob your dog’s skin of essential moisture. Instead, try a waterless bath with grooming wipes or a deodorizing spritz and keep the ‘rub-a-dub-dub’ in the tub to a minimum.

3. Feed a healthy diet
A common cause of a dull coat is poor nutrition and lower levels of protein and essential fatty acids are common culprits. Feeding your dog or cat a healthy diet year-round can help them enter into the cooler months with healthy skin and a nourished coat.

An easy way to increase the nutritional content of your pet’s food is to add some freeze dried or raw food to their kibble. These less-processed foods add whole-food nutrients that are easily digested and are high in protein. We carry a variety of healthy pet food options and are happy to help find the right one for your pet!

4. Add supplements
Dietary supplements such as essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help reduce dry skin. Fish oil, including salmon, pollock and sardine are considered the best source of EFAs for dogs and cats. EFAs help reduce inflammation and nourish the skin and coat and can even help alleviate arthritis symptoms in older animals.  Try our new Pet Pros Salmon Oil Formula – now available in all stores.

5. Keep your pet hydrated
Your pet burns more energy trying to stay warm when it’s cold, so it’s easy for them to become dehydrated. Make sure your pet’s water dish is always full! If your dog spends time outdoors, make sure they have access to a water bowl there as well. Add canned, raw or well-hydrated freeze dried food to cats’ diets – who are notorious for not drinking enough water.

Help your pet thrive during the colder months by following these tips to avoid dry skin! If your pet has persistent dry skin and is scratching excessively, see your veterinarian as cold weather isn’t the only culprit of skin issues.