The winter months can bring many beautiful and great experiences, but one that is sure to put a damper on your dogs and cats this winter season is dandruff. This affliction can cause itching and infection, but I will help outline how to avoid this by using shampoos, conditioners and other techniques.
Dandruff or seborrhea sicca, as it is technically called, is defined as the excessive shedding of dead and dying skin cells. We all know what it looks like, flaky and white, and most noticeable on darker colors. But our pets can suffer greatly from dry skin and can become very itchy. This itching and scratching can lead to skin infections and other serious afflictions. When hey scratch the surface of their skin, your pet will be breaking down the natural protection that skin normally provides.
Your pets skin as approximately seven layers and scratching will break them. You will notice scratch marks, possibly bleeding, and redness. Once the skin is broken, any bacteria on the top of the skin can get underneath and may cause infection and more itching. If this is left untreated, your pets dry skin can lead to more dry skin and more itching and become a vicious cycle. In most circumstances, itching can be more uncomfortable than pain and it can keep your pet awake at all hours
A first step is to provide your pet with relief. Consider giving your pet a bath with medicated shampoos and conditioner that you have cleared is safe from your vet. Similar to your hands and legs, when they become dry and itchy, applying soothing lotion can provide immediate relief. A helpful tip is to choose a shampoo that contains aloe or oatmeal or a product that attacks dandruff specifically, can be a great help to your pet.
To aid in prevention of dandruff, you may try adding fatty acid supplements to the diet of your pet. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements can provide daily relief and can prevent dandruff. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil and will also help lubricate your pet's joints. Also consider adding a humidifier to your home, especially during winter months, to help your dog's skin and your own as well. Most home heating can produce very dry heat.
Another significant issue to address is your pet's hydration. Pets that fail to drink enough water can become dehydrated and it is very important that our pets drink plenty of water. Pets that are constantly dehydrated are prone to kidney disease and other serious ailments. If your pet doesn't drink enough water, try adding more water to their food.
Moving along, combing and brushing on a regular basis during the winter can help prevent skin ailments. But, also consider purchasing lubricating sprays that can be applied to the skin after you've finished your pet's grooming. Combing can be preferred over brushing though, so you can remove any dead hair. Combing can be preferred to help hair get to the skin and produce a healthier coat. A great tool to use is a flea comb, its teeth are close together and will ensure the removal of dead hair and it is normally advantageous to remove the dead hair before it comes out naturally around your home.Veterinarians agree that proper water consumption is crucial to the health of both cats and dogs. In general a healthy dog should be expected to drink about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Keep in mind, that a dog that eats dry food will need slightly more water.
Because cats have a much smaller range of weights, the correct amount of water consumption is simply a recommendation of between 2-4 ounces of water per day. And, cats that eat dry food will also need slightly more water.
Without proper water consumption, cats and dogs may experience dehydration, defined as an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body. Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather, increased activity or a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration may also indicate a serious underlying problem.
A simple exam recommended for both cats and dogs to check for dehydration is to grab a piece of skin at the back of the neck. A properly hydrated pet's skin will "snap" back into place. If your pet is dehydrated the skin will return slowly.
If your pet seems to be refusing to drink enough water for an extended period you should consider taking it to the vet. However, there are a few things you can try before you rush off to the vet.
You can try to encourage the drinking of water by offering praise when your dog drinks.
Keep a water bowl of fresh water nearby his food and bed or anywhere else he frequently spends time.
Try using a water bowl with a weighted bottom if your dog tends to from knock over his/her bowl.
Add a flavor packet such as chicken, bacon or beef to the water.
Provide clean drinking water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness. It's worth mentioning to not forget to wash your pet's water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.
Sprinkle a small quantity of water onto your cat's food.
Place the water in a glass bowl as some other materials may leave an objectionable taste in her mouth.
Try using filtered or bottled water.
Replace the water frequently to keep it fresh and clean.
Maintaining proper hydration is very important for good pet health, so it is something that you might want to consider monitoring quite seriously.