Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grooming Tips for Winter!

Winter Skin Care to Prevent Itchy Dry Skin, Dog Dandruff and How To Treat It!

Don't you notice how your skin feels dry and tight during the winter season?  This happens to your dog’s skin too and just like we end up toting around lotion with us, your Dog needs moisture for his skin too!.
Dog dry skin is a pretty common occurrence during winter but can be lessened with these tips!


  When fido goes outside, the cold, dry winter air has a drying effect on his skin.

      Drafts can come in through leaky windows and doors.
    Home heating system or furnace emits dry heat. It keeps your fur kid warm, but is drying to the skin.

Signs of Winter Dry Skin

Just one to all of these symptoms may be noticed-
                      Dry, flaky skin
                      Dog dandruff, increased dander
                      Scaly skin
                      Frequent itching and scratching!!!
                      Bites and licks the skin
                      Cracked skin (often on paw pads or snout)
                      Dryer than normal coat that lacks luster.
What you can do to avoid flaky or itchy, dog dry skin during winter.

1. Winter proof your home Make sure there aren’t drafts coming in through the cracks of the windows or doors. Seal any gaps, and draft proof your windows and doors by applying caulking or installing weather stripping.  Hang heavy or lined curtains on windows. It helps to shield cold drafts. Remember to open the curtains in the day to let the sun in, and draw the curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the heat in.

2. Keep your home warm The temperature of your home can affect your pet’s skin and coat.  Your main living room should be around 21C (70F), the bedroom temperate at around 18C (64F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F).

3. Moderate indoor humidityWinter brings cold, dry air. When dry air is heated, it becomes even drier. A humidifier in the house will add moisture to the air. No more cracked finger tips or scratchy throat for you. And it helps to reduce the drying effect on your dog’s skin.

4.Move your dog. Move his bed Make sure he is not sleeping by the furnace or radiator. Move your dog, his bedding or crate further away from the heat sources.

5. Brush your dog Matted hair trap dampness against your dog’s skin can cause irritations, odor and other skin problems.  Brushing promotes circulation, and stimulates the distribution of natural oils in your dog’s skin. Hence, brush you dog regularly to counteract dryness and make him feel more comfortable.

6. Winter bath Yes. Dogs still need baths in winter. They get dirty playing in the snow, or when they trudge outside to do their business and they get dried out and very itchy! They also benefit from a bath more frequently in the winter, so their skin and coat gets the moisture it needs! In fact, a proper bath can help to reduce dryness, matting and other related skin problems. Be sure to use a moisturizing dog shampoo and conditioner to keep his skin and coat healthy. Oatmeal shampoo for dogs is the best for winter baths or more frequent bathing.  After the bath, dry your dog’s coat completely before letting him outside. A wet dog can develop hypothermia or pneumonia in cold weather. You can use a hair dryer at cool setting to quickly dry his hair after a bath.

   Drafts can come in through leaky windows and doors.
   Home heating system or furnace emits dry heat. It keeps your fur kid warm, but is drying to the   skin.

7.Put on a winter coat and booties
Even though your dog has a built-in fur coat, he will still feel the cold in adverse weather. You need to keep your dog warm and protected when he goes outside.
A dog sweater or fleece coat will keep the cold wind and snow off your dog. A pair of doggy boots helps to keep the ice, snow, and de-icing salt off your dog’s paws. It may take a few trial runs for them to get use to the booties!! But, it may be worth the fun you and your pup will have while they get use to having something on their paws.   If your dog likes to stay out in the snow for longer than 15 to 20 minutes! Extended amounts of time can cause frost bite on paws and snouts or hypothermia. So for the snow lovers...a coat and snow booties are great! Also- you won't have such a wet pooch when they come back inside and that snow in their coat melts off!

8. Give a fatty acid supplement!! A dog supplement that contains essential fatty acids helps relieve skin dryness and promote a healthy, glossy coat. The best way to provide your dog with these essential oils is in a good brand of Dog Food which will include this as well as other very important nutrients! We will cover what to look for in the best foods for your pet in our next news letter!!

9. Add olive oil to his food (Be sure this is a none flavored plain or extra virgin Olive Oil)

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to his food, 2-3 times a week (if you are not giving a fatty acid supplement). You can also massage a small amount of olive oil onto his skin. It acts as a natural moisturizer for dry, scaly skin. This will however leave the coat looking a bit oily when it is applied directly to the coat. A spritz on leave in conditioner for dogs would work the best, but if it is all you have on hand it will do the trick. Just be sure to massage it down to the skin!!
10. General Winter Health Safety If your dog is a snow lover and likes to romp in it and eat it, be sure to let them play in an area you know there are no winterizing chemicals on that snow!!

Or bring your Fur Kid into Pampered Pets Bed and Biscuit and let us give them a “Warming Winter Wash-n-Wax”!! This entails a nice warm bath with Oatmeal or other moisture enhancing/locking in shampoo and a thick, rich conditioner that we massage into the skin, then wrapping them up in a warm moist towel for 15 minutes. After a rinse we can spritz them with a leave in conditioning treatment which will all make your best pal feel renewed and itchy free!! The “wax” part of this spa treatment comes in with “Paw and Snout” soothing salve/or also known as paw wax. We coat the nose and paws with this made for pets product and it protects against dry or cracking nose and does the same for pads of their paws but also provides a good barrier from the de-icing materials and salt that is used in the winter months! All of these products are safe even if your pup decides to lick his feet.

You should wipe their paws off when they come back inside, in case any salts or de-icier is on them because these can quickly be absorbed into the pads.

Don't leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.
Adequate shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.
Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.
Groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not to cut the pads or other delicate area of the foot.
Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary.
Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.
Don't leave your dog alone in a car. If the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger your dog's life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.