Spring is coming! It’s almost time for you and your pet to shed your winter coats. Hopefully, you and your pet took care of any dry skin that may have arisen with the cold winter weather.
Yes, you read that right, pets can suffer from dry skin too.
Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, so winter tends to be drying, especially for those further up north. Pet parents can tell because clothes tend to get static-y and when they touch people or pets, they can accidentally shock each other! Similarly, pet hair and fur can suffer the same effects. And with decreased moisture outside and inside, pets get dry skin.
How can you tell?
Sometimes you may see flakes come off or they may be a bit more itchy than normal. Some dogs can get dryer noses, too but, dry weather doesn’t cause any nose bleeding in dogs or cats. If you begin to notice any of these signs or behaviors in your pet, here’s what you can do to help:
- Increase your household humidity
In the wintertime, humidity should be between 40 and 50 percent for optimal indoor health. But before you make any changes, check the humidity in your house. You can do this with an instrument called a hygrometer. You can find it often with those home weather stations or at most hardwood or home stores.
Now that you’ve checked it, it’s time to add moisture (if it’s too low). You can use inside water fountains, tea kettles on wood stoves or use a humidifier.
Some things to consider: Basements and bathrooms have higher humidity than other rooms. If your pet doesn’t spend much time there, you may want to check the humidity where they do.
- Add omega-3 fatty acids
These are all the rage and for good reason! Not only does moisture affect skin quality, but so do the oils that are present that act as natural moisturizers. Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good” fatty acids that help skin health, so consider adding some to your pet’s diet. Follow package instructions or consult your veterinarian. If the itching doesn’t improve or the skin is broken or gets worse, call your veterinarian.
- Shampoo less