playful golden retriever in snow.

Frigid temps and low humidity collide in the winter for a combination that wreaks havoc on the hair and skin of humans along with our pets! And when the wind picks up, winter’s icy chill cuts even deeper, so it’s important to take extra measures to protect your pet’s skin and coat.

At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we love caring for your pets from head to toe, and our team has put together some helpful tips for keeping your pet’s skin and coat healthy this winter.

Winter Grooming Tips to Keep Pet Coats in Top Form

You’ll likely notice your cat’s coat growing thicker when the temperatures get cooler. Much of this extra bulk comes from the undercoat, which plays an important role in helping your cat stay warm. To make room for all the new winter fluff, however, the summer coat has to go. This is where regular brushing comes in. Regular grooming removes shed fur and helps prevent painful hairballs. Plus, brushing removes dead skin cells and helps distribute oils to keep your cat’s skin aglow. 

One key to winter grooming for dogs is to cut back on baths to prevent their skin from drying out. If a bath is necessary, use a moisturizing shampoo made just for dogs. And just like for our feline friends, a dog’s coat and skin will benefit from routine brushing.

Turn Up the Humidity

The outdoor air may be dry as a bone, but a humidifier placed near your pet’s favorite bed will add moisture to the air to help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. Plus, humid air feels warmer for pets and people.

Feed Your Pet a Healthy Diet

A nutrient rich diet made just for your pet’s breed and age will go a long way toward nourishing your pet’s skin and coat. Some pet food formulas contain ingredients such as vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids designed to support healthy coats and skin. 

Indoor/outdoor cats and snow-loving canines may need a few extra calories in the winter, since they’re working harder to stay warm. Just don’t overfeed a pet that is already overweight.

Keep a close watch on water bowls and pet fountains, too, since pets typically drink more water in the winter to stay hydrated in the cold, dry air.

Contact Your Veterinarian if You Spot Any Skin Irritation

The cold weather sends parasites packing to warmer climates—including your house. So maintain your pet’s parasite preventives year round to eliminate one major source of skin irritation. If you do notice dry, flaky, or irritated skin this winter, please contact us for a dermatological consultation. An allergy could be to blame.

The winter weather doesn’t have to dampen the beauty of your pet’s crowning glory. Please contact us for more tips on winter coat and skin care, or if you have any concerns about your pet.