As much of a superhero as your pooch may be in your eyes, he also is prone to the harshness of the winter elements. Remember, frigid winter weather can be just as brutal on your dog's skin as it is on yours, from the unsightly chapping to the flaking.
As temperatures drop during the winter months, your dog's skin may show it. Severely cold weather may cause a doggie's skin to become sore and cracked, according to the ASPCA. If you notice that your pooch's skin seems cracked, raw, itchy and flaky, then the time of the year may be the culprit.
Chapping also is very common on a dog's paws, since the little guys move directly over sleet and ice on sidewalks and streets. You may be able to manage this dilemma easily, however. As soon as you get back inside after taking your pet out for a walk, hydrate his chapped paws by rubbing a dab of petroleum jelly thoroughly into them. Just be sure to towel dry his paws diligently before you do so. If your dog allows it, it may even be a smart idea to put booties on his feet before going outdoors. A little extra protection in that department may go a long way.
Keep chapped skin to a minimum in times of cold weather by reducing bathing frequency. If you bathe your pooch too often, you risk extracting his skin's natural and healthy oils -- not good. Without sufficient oils, your pet's skin could become flaky, dry, crusty and chapped. In some cases, however, you may have no choice but to put your pet in the bath, for instance if he got stuck in some mud or got into the kitchen trashcan somehow. If this is the situation, consult your veterinarian on recommendations for hydrating doggie shampoos or conditioners.
Pet attire isn't only for fun, it sometimes can be utilitarian and practical, too. If you notice any dogs sporting sweaters while on their morning walks, consider the fact that their owners actually may be onto something smart. A simple sweater may assist a doggie in keeping his body heat, which may in turn prevent unsightly and uncomfortable skin dryness and chapping.
When your dog's health is involved, never make assumptions. Although chapped, dry, flaky and scratchy skin often may be associated with the weather, that isn't always true. These symptoms actually may be related to other ailments, including allergies. If your pet's skin situation seems especially severe, play it smart and take him to the vet to rule out any possible health concerns.