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Winter Skin and Paw Care in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Winter weather can cause dogs to have dry skin and damaged paws. Learn about some tips on how you can help your dog'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.

Here are some tips on dealing with your dog's skin and paws. First, lets take a look at the skin:

Dog Skin

In winter, low humidity is common, and dogs are often 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 dog 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 dog 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.

    Dog Paws

    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 pet may even ingest the salts by licking his paws, which can cause illness. Keep your pet's paws healthy in winter by following these suggestions:

  • After each walk, wash off your pet's feet. This will remove any ice and road salt that can cause excessive dryness.

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

  • Petroleum jelly can be placed on the surface of the pads, especially prior to walking outdoors.

  • For serious cases, special booties made of neoprene can be used to protect the footpads.

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