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Winter Skin and Paw Care in Cats

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Winter weather can cause cats to have dry skin and/or damaged paws. Learn about some tips on how you can help your cat's skin and paws weather this season!

Winter means different things in different parts of the country. Temperatures may drop but the severity of the lower temperatures varies. Along with this, some areas of the country also have low humidity during the colder months of the years. This decrease in humidity and people's methods of dealing with snow and ice accumulation can cause some problems in our pets.

Cat Skin

In winter, low humidity is common, and pets are typically kept indoors, exposed to dry heat from furnaces as well as dry environment conditions. Without enough moisture in the air, skin problems can occur.
The most common skin problem in the wintertime is dry flaking skin. To help your pet survive the dry chilly weather with a healthy skin and coat, try a few of these suggestions.

  • Avoid bathing your cat during cold, dry weather. Bathing removes essential oils from the skin and can increase the chance of developing flaky skin. If bathing is necessary, use a soothing oatmeal-based shampoo and follow it with a moisturizer.

  • Brush your cat often to remove dander and any shedded hair.

  • To keep the skin full of luster, feed your pet a high quality diet. Avoid supplements and don't add oil to the food unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian.

    Cat Paws

    Damage to kitty paws are a problem only for cats that go outside during the winter cold and ice. When there is ice and snow, you can expect various melting products to be on the ground. Ice melt products are typically made of salt. When your pet walks through the ice and snow, particles of salt, sand or even ice crystals can become lodged in the webbing. Your cat may even ingest the salts by licking his paws, which can cause illness. Keep your cat's paws healthy in winter by following these suggestions:

  • After each walk, wash or wipe off your cat's feet. This will remove any ice and road salt that can cause excessive dryness. This will also help remove chemicals that may be ingested when your kitty grooms.

  • Trim the hair between your pet's toes to reduce the chance of collecting ice and snow crystals.

  • A small amount of petroleum jelly can be placed on the surface of the pads, especially prior to allowing your cat to go outdoors.

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