Does Cold & Dry Weather Affect a Dog's Skin?

by Lisa McQuerrey
Climate and environment can have an impact on your dog's skin.

Climate and environment can have an impact on your dog's skin.

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The condition of a dog’s skin is subject to changing weather conditions, much like the skin of his human companions. You may see more noticeable changes in skin conditions if your dog is regularly outside in both warm/dry and wet/cold conditions. Careful maintenance of your dog’s coat and skin can help ensure he is comfortable and healthy in any type of weather.

Hot Dry Climate

Moisture evaporates from a dog’s skin more rapidly in a dry climate than in a moderate or humid climate. For example, dogs that live in the desert require increased fluid intake to maintain hydrated skin, and may even need a topical sunscreen to protect them from harsh, hot, dry and windy weather conditions. Extra care should also be taken with the pads on a dog’s feet in hot, dry climates, as pavement and sidewalks can burn their sensitive skin. Blistering, red or peeling skin should be examined by a vet.

Cold Weather Conditions

A dog kept primarily outside during cold weather needs adequate shelter to protect his skin, as well as his general overall health. Harsh, biting winds paired with sleet, rain and snow can all negatively impact your pup’s skin. Your dog may suffer from windburn or frostbite in cold weather conditions. Skin discoloration, ulcers and blisters should all be checked out by a medical professional. Even inside dogs can suffer from dry skin in cold climates due to the increased propensity of humans to turn up the heat and increase the temperature in their homes.

Protective Measures

Whether your dog is in a hot, dry or cold environment, coat and skincare is an important part of your pup’s overall health and well-being. Regular brushing can help your dog’s coat and skin retain its natural oils. Bathing your dog with a moisturizing dog shampoo or conditioning agent can also add a layer of protection, though overbathing can dry out your pup’s skin. Consult your vet for bathing and grooming needs specific to your dog’s breed and skin type.

Other Skin Issues

Dogs who have skin allergies or conditions like psoriasis may see their disorders exacerbated by extreme weather conditions. Talk to your vet about nutritional supplements and topical agents you can apply to ensure your dog’s skin and skin issues are well-maintained in whatever climate or weather conditions you find yourselves in.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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