When your dog develops dry skin, it is frustrating to both you and them. There can be a number of reasons for this condition to begin bothering your pet, and one of them is the change in seasons. Harsh winters can affect the health of your dog's skin and cause them to begin scratching.
Winters can make your dog's skin dry and itchy, especially during December and through February. This condition can result from poor air quality or household hazards. Seasonally dry skin can also be a result of winter allergies, so you should learn the cause of your pet's scratching before it affects their well-being.
Causes of Seasonal Dry Skin in Your Pet
In the winter, the air becomes much drier outside and inside your home. Cold air contains less moisture than warmer air. Dry skin will become aggravated when frosty winds blow across it or when temperatures become frigid. Inside your home, you have dry air plus heat that takes even more moisture from the air.
If your dog is sensitive to indoor allergies, such as mold or dust mites, it might experience heightened symptoms when they are kept inside your home. These symptoms appear more commonly in older dogs as they tend to become sensitive to irritants and allergens. Some dry skin conditions are unrelated to the seasons, so you should talk to your veterinarian if your pet is scratching uncontrollably.
These are some common causes of a dog's dry skin.
1. Parasites and Infections
Indoor parasites can cause a winter itch. Just like outside, your home can have a number of parasites living inside of it, such as bacteria and fungi. If you notice your dog scratching in one particular area of its body, and the area becomes red, this can be an indicator of skin parasites. If you notice this condition, talk to your veterinarian about solutions and prevent the parasites from spreading to your family.
2. Dry Air
A decrease in air quality occurs when seasons change. Winter air cannot hold the same amount of moisture as other seasons and brings with it dry, chilly air. A lack of moisture will aggravate your dog's already dry, itchy skin. This same condition will occur inside your home when the air becomes dry and you use heat to warm your house.
Since your dog is spending more time inside during the winter, it may become more exposed to allergens that are able to attack and cause allergic reactions. As dogs age, their sensitivity to allergens increases. Some of the common products you use in your home daily, such as cleaning chemicals, fabric softeners, and plants, can negatively affect your dog's skin.
How to Manage Your Dog's Dry Skin During Seasonal Changes
The best method for treating your dog's dry skin due to seasonal changes is to prevent them from getting scratchy or itchy skin in the first place. Even if your pet has begun to scratch, these steps can help you treat their skin naturally and return it to normal:
- Prevent your dog's skin from becoming covered in water, snow, ice melt, or road salt
- Reduce the number of baths you give your dog
- Keep your dog hydrated
- Brush your dog every day
- Provide a more humid environment for your pet
- Supplement your dog’s normal skin barrier with topical fatty acids and vitamin E
You cannot control the moisture outdoors, but you can add more moisture with a small humidifier in your home's air. The more moisture you add, the healthier your dog's skin will be. Another management for dogs' dry skin is to give them proper hydration to regulate their body temperature. Evaporation of moisture from your dog's body will happen faster in the winter than in the summer due to drier air, so they will need more water in the winter to avoid dehydration. AtopiCream™ HC from VetriMax contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and other ingredients to help restore normal skin barrier function.