It’s time to get ready! Wintertime brings us colder temperatures, longer nights and much drier air. This can cause both our skin and our dog and cat’s skin to become drier and itchier. There are a few things you can do to help alleviate your pet’s discomfort with dry skin, scratching, compulsive licking and scratching.       

Adding in an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA’s) to your pet’s diet can be very beneficial. The Omega 3 fatty acids help your pet’s skin stay moisturized during the dry weather. They can also help with join inflammation as well as many other benefits. It will take about eight weeks to see the total benefits. Cod Liver Oil and Fish Body Oil (like Salmon Oil) contain the highest level of effective EFA’s.       

An extra moisturizing bath can also help your pet stay comfortable as the humidity goes down. A natural shampoo and moisturizing conditioner with colloidal oatmeal is the classic bath treatment for retaining moisture in the skin. Your dog can be washed weekly (or even more frequently if needed) if you’re using an all-natural ph-balanced gentle shampoo. A regular bath schedule can offer real relief.       

At Four Muddy Paws you can either schedule a professional dog grooming (or cat grooming!) appointment or check out our self-service dog wash – it’s a do it yourself pet wash that’s perfect for helping to alleviate your pet’s itching.We have therapeutic oatmeal shampoo and other non-medicated but extremely effective shampoos and conditioners that will really give your dog or cat the relief they’re looking for. A paw treatment shampoo is the perfect option for keeping all four paws clean. So many allergens are ingested when your pet licks their paws.       

Even using an oatmeal compress with your pet can offer relief. Just put some oatmeal into a stocking, cheesecloth or other porous cloth soaked in water and dab the soaked cloth on your pet’s coat. It will offer relief from some of the immediate itching.       

Coconut Oil is another great option that helps your dog’s skin and coat as well as their overall digestive system too. Just remember to go slowly and a little goes a long way. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are amazing for both your dog (and you!)       

Look for a natural, spray-on body moisturizer for your dog. Products containing Tea Tree Oil can be very soothing, however, please note that Tea Tree Oil should not be used with cats and can be irritating for dogs with sensitive skin. Other natural humectants are also available and can be very effective. Raising the humidity in your house with a whole house humidifier or even a room humidifier can also offer real relief for the entire family.       

Upgrading or adjusting your dog or cat’s diet can often be very beneficial. Oftentimes making seasonal adjustments in the protein varieties can make a significant difference. Always avoid diets with fractionated grains like corn gluten, rice gluten, wheat gluten as many dogs and cats have intolerance’s to these ingredients causing issues with their skin and coat. Actual food allergies are relatively rare; it’s most often a case of a food or ingredient intolerance. Adding more raw foods into your dog or cat’s diet can have tremendous benefits. Understanding food energetics can be very beneficial. If skin irritations are an issue then avoid the “hot foods” like venison or trout and stick with more cooling foods like duck or rabbit. Even a diet of beef will be more cooling for your dog then a diet with chicken. Our knowledgeable team members can help you find the right dog and cat nutrition options for your pet.       

With a little preparation and regular care you and your pet can avoid the itchy skin that oftentimes comes with the drier air of winter.