Beneath The Fur: Pet Summer Skin Care Secrets
By Carol Bryant, Professional Pet Blogger
The skin is the largest organ of dogs and cats, just as it is with humans. Keeping your pets’ skin in tip-top shape is incredibly important, especially during the warm summer months.
If you’ve ever looked around your residence and saw flakes around your residence, it belongs to you, other occupants, or your pets. That outer layer of your dog or cat’s skin, the epidermis, has a turnover rate of 20 days. The turnover rate of human skin is 28 days.
Not only do dogs and cats shed skin cells more often, but their skin thickness differs from a human’s. Your dog’s epidermis is a mere three to five skin cells thick. Cats have even thinner skin, ranging between .01 and .07 epidermis thickness. Look at your skin and be thankful it is at least 10 to 15 cells thick.
If you ever tried brushing or grooming a cat, you can understand why they are generally fussy. Their skin is so delicate that you must use caution.
Pet Summer Skin Care Secrets
The skin protects the body from damage, guards against dehydration, provides sensation, and is a barrier against germs and environmental damage.
In the warmer summer months, dogs and cats require extra skin care. Here are some critical pet skincare tips to remember as the temperatures rise.
Start or Replenish Your Pet’s First Aid Kit
You can purchase a simple pet first aid kit on Amazon, but you should also add a few basics to it. Namely, the ZYMOX ®topical spray with 0.5% hydrocortisone or the ZYMOX topical cream with 0.5% hydrocortisone.
The spray and cream provide skin relief caused by bug bites, hot spots, dermatitis and eczema bacteria/fungus/yeast, minor skin irritations, and inflammation.
Limit Sun Exposure
Like people, pets can get sunburned. Frequent high exposure to the sun increases your pet’s risk of skin cancer. Even though dogs have hair or fur, they are still at risk for skin issues from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Dr. Lisa Lippman says avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is ideal. Pet sunscreen should be fragrance-free, zinc-free, and salicylate-free. Never use a human sunscreen on your pet.
Keep Pets Hydrated
Access to clean, cool water is a must-have year-round for dogs and cats. If your pet isn’t drinking as much, talk to your veterinarian or try a water fountain made for dogs and cats.
If the surface of concrete or sidewalk is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog or cat. Applying a pet-safe product to protect or moisturize paws can be helpful, but avoiding hot surfaces is essential.
Use dog shoes or booties, walk on grassy surfaces, and walk your dog or cat when it’s cool. Hot pavement can increase a dog’s normal resting temperature.
Twice Daily Lump and Bump Check
Run your fingers over and through your pet’s coat at least twice daily in the summer months. The goal is to find any lumps, bumps, growths, or ticks on the skin.
Veterinary oncologist Dr. Sue Ettinger, aka the Cancer Vet, advises that a veterinarian should aspirate lumps that are the size of a pea and have been on your pet for more than a month.
Protect Against Ticks and Fleas
Fleas and ticks are much more prevalent in the warmer months. These nasty parasites carry infection and can cause allergies, skin irritations, or worse. Protect your pets with your favorite and safest prevention products.
My dog was diagnosed with an immune system disease called canine immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT). It nearly cost him his life, he spent a week in the hospital, and the cause was determined to be a tick bite.
Seasonal allergies can flare up in the summer months. Signs that your dog or cat has a skin allergy or sensitivity include but are not limited to, rubbing their ears and face, scratching their skin, licking or biting their paws frequently, red or watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing.
Your pet may benefit from a veterinary dermatologic consultation to prevent things from worsening. Wash your pet’s paws and coat if they spend time outdoors, and talk to your veterinarian about allergy testing and treatment.
Keep ZYMOX Stocked Up
Keep your dog and cat looking and feeling their best year-round. View the entire line of ZYMOX products and where to purchase them by visiting https://zymox.com/products/.
About the Author
Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant as a “dog lover of the highest order” when she and her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, appeared on Oprah Radio. Carol is well-known in the pet industry, having appeared on television, radio shows, and podcasts, as well as in articles from CNN and Yahoo to Dogster and Today.com. She is the founder of the award-winning blog FidoseofReality.com and is the Immediate Past President of the Dog Writers Association of America.