As temperatures drop during winters, our bodies also need more warmth and care. Likewise, our pets also need season-specific care to deal with various common health issues during the cold season. “So this winter, be alert and look for signs of winter allergies in your pets,” said Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Chief Veterinarian at Supertails.
Some common winter allergies that pets face include:
Dust mites or mold
Many pets are susceptible to dust mites, which cause symptoms such as red or watery eyes, sneezing and coughing. Mites typically grow on pet dander, hair and skin scales and are found in carpets, mattresses, beds and sofas. They are airy, invisible to the naked eye and present everywhere in the house. It is almost impossible to get rid of house dust mites.
“An easy step to controlling the threat of dust mites is to keep the environment clean and dry. Damp mop or vacuum floors daily. Electrostatic filters can be helpful in driving out dust, dust mites and particles inhaled If possible, try to keep the humidity level in the house between 30 and 50% Regularly wash all bedding used by your pet in hot water Avoid feathers, wool or horsehair in bedding, as these materials can attract mites,” the vet said.
Dandruff and dry skin problems
While pets have their fur coat as a natural barrier against the cold, low humidity can rob your pet of essential moisture. This dry weather can lead to dry, scaly skin leading to dandruff and itching. To treat these skin problems, moisturize once a week. Brush them once or twice a day – this helps get rid of dead hair and dander.
“Grooming your pet is essential to stimulate the release of the skin’s natural oils and their distribution throughout the body. Bathe your pets only when necessary, as frequent bathing can strip the skin’s natural oils and moisture. If a bath is necessary, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner recommended specifically for your pet. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water to avoid drying out their skin even more,” he said.
For dry noses, use vitamin E oil to reduce the effect of dry weather. Provide a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to meet the extra demands of the body during winters. Include omega fatty acids in their diet as they help maintain healthy skin.
Contact allergies are a common occurrence when pets encounter substances or allergens that cause skin inflammation. Skin lesions caused by swelling, bumps, rashes can cause a lot of irritation and discomfort. These allergies can occur on any part of the body that comes in contact with the allergen while sitting, walking, or lying down.
To avoid contact allergies, use pet-friendly cleaners. The fastest way to treat these allergies is to remove the allergen from the animal. Bathe your pet with an oatmeal shampoo. If the irritation persists, talk to your veterinarian for proper treatment for your pet.
“Ectoparasites are parasites living outside the body, such as ticks, fleas, mites and lice. These parasites usually seek out warm bodies and migrate from the grass to the animal. Ectoparasite bites cause intense itching and scratching, leading to hair loss, rashes, flea dust and redness in the affected areas,” he said.
Consult your veterinarian for the proper medication to eliminate the parasites from the body. There are sprays, spot solutions, medicated shampoos, tick/flea collars, and even some oral medications to get rid of those aliens living on your pet.
After listing these seasonal triggers to watch for during winters, it’s also essential to look for non-allergic changes. Pets, like humans, tend to consume less water during the cold season. Make sure your pet is well hydrated – soak the kibble in warm water or add a little water to homemade food. You can also increase the amount of broth to compensate for the reduced water intake.
“Reduced activity and changes in sleeping patterns are perfectly normal during winters. Allow your pet to sleep and rest to rejuvenate their energy and maintain their body temperature during the winter. Don’t worry if your pet eats more than usual; the body needs more energy than usual during winters compared to other times of the year,” he said.