Seasonal Alerts to keep your Pet Safe and Healthy: weather-related dog's dry skin, ice-melts, traveling with your pet, etc.

Canine Skin Solutions Offers Seasonal Alerts to

Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy:  Keeping your Dog Warm, Cold Weather-Related Dog’s Dry skin, Ice-melt and Paw Health, Traveling with your Pet, and Sun-Damage!

There are a number of hazards that await your dog with each seasonal change.  Your dog’s dry skin is only one of them.  There are simple steps that you can use to keep your pet safe and healthy.

WINTER IS HERE! Time for coats and sweaters!

Cold weather is on its way!  Frigid temperatures are particularly problematic for short-haired or elderly dogs.  Windproof fleece jackets with turtlenecks or high collars are particularly helpful.  Look for jackets that provide full body coverage as well as a belly wrap to keep the underneath regions also warm and toasty.  Remember, sweaters provide little protection from the wind although they can be much appreciated in a house where the thermostat is lowered during the day.  

Take special care with puppies and sick or older dogs to limit their exposure to extreme temperatures.  You may need to clip the fur between the paw pads to prevent ice from collecting in the feet while on walks.  Remove any ice or snow from your pet immediately after returning home.

Frostbite of the feet, nose, or ears can occur after even brief exposure to sub-zero temperatures.  Remember, don’t leave your dog alone in a car during cold weather.  They can freeze!  Make sure to provide a warm cozy place to sleep away from drafts and cold floors.

Keep your pet on a leash in snow and ice storms as they can become lost and panic.  There is always an increase in reported “lost dogs” during the winter season.    


One last tip:  bang on your car hood or honk the horn before starting the engine….cats and wild animals will crawl under the car hood to stay warm.

Salt and Ice-Melt pose another WINTER WEATHER HAZARD FOR YOUR DOG!


Ice melt or salt products for melting ice and snow from sidewalks and parking lots can be harmful to pets.  Most products contain either sodium chloride (NaCl) or calcium chloride (CaCl).  Both of these ingredients can be harmful if ingested.  Less than 1oz of NaCl ingested for every 2-3 pounds of body weight could cause severe toxicity, even death.  That would translate to a 4-pound dog eating approximately 2 ounces of ice melt!  To prevent exposure: stop your dog from licking their paws, eating snow or drinking from puddles.

Consider using non-toxic brands for pets such as Safe Paws or Morton Safe-T-Pet.

Wash your dog’s paws after returning from your daily walk.

Dogs experiencing toxicity will exhibit the following:



Excessive thirst

Weakness & fainting

Low blood pressure

Decreased muscle function (ataxic)



Death (severe cases)


Consider “winter-proofing” your dog’s paws!  Ice, snow, and salt products (ice melt) can cause trauma and discomfort.  The pads are at risk for drying, cracking, frostbite, and chemical burn (from Ice Melt).

There are several brands of dog booties on the market. They can be easily found on-line or in retail stores.  Most have a sock like feel along the upper portion with a rubber or non-skid grip on the sole.  The best booties are those that are also waterproof.  

et parents can also use a protective balm (ex. Bag Balm) to coat the paw pads and prevent drying from excessive exposure to cold, moisture, and salt products.  Some dogs may require trimming of the hair between the pads to prevent accumulation of snow and ice during walks.

After returning home, immediately wash your dog’s paws to remove any chemical de-icing products and warm the toes

Traveling with your dog…Make it a Happy Vacation or Trip! 

The holiday (warm or cold weather) season finds many of us on the road and more of us are bringing our dogs with us. Dogs are part of the family and in many cases it just makes sense having them travel in the car with us to share in the fun. Follow our tips to make it less stressful for both you & your dog

Tip # 1 NEVER, EVER leave pets (or children) alone in a car on warm days OR cold days – even if it’s “just for a minute”, even if “the windows are rolled down.” In some part of the country, temps are in the 80’s and higher.  Importantly, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90-100 degrees -- and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!  In other parts of the country, it is frigid.  Cold weather is also dangerous for your pet!


Tip#2  Purchase a pet safety harness or carrier prior to travel and make sure to stabilize the carrier within your car so it doesn’t tip or roll over!

Tip #3  Play calming music in the car

Tip #4  Stop frequently during the trip to let your dog stretch his/her legs and relieve himself or herself.  This is NOT a recommendation for cats-we don’t want any cats escaping on the trip!

Tips #5   Consider avoiding the “pet designated areas” as all types of unfavorable parasites and diseases may thrive in that area!  Please ALWAYS remember to pick up after your pet.

Tip #6  If your pet experiences motion sickness (drooling, panting, anxiousness, vomiting)  contact your veterinarian for options. There are now medications available to help eliminate motion sickness nausea.  Sometimes, even using something as simple as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can be beneficial. 

Tip # 7  Keep a current picture of your pet handy as well as your name and cell phone number on the collar’s ID tag …in case of emergency. Additional protection can be found with microchips, especially if linked to GPS devices.


Warm Seasons also pose risks: SUN PROTECTION for your PET!

Animal skin is susceptible to sun damage…. just like ours!!

We don’t worry about wrinkles in our pets but just as we need to protect our skin from sunburn, we need to protect our pets as well. Lucky for animals, skin pigmentation and a thick hair coat are generally effective in helping prevent sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) light radiation.  If your pet has a light hair coat color, is lightly pigmented (typically white haired pets), and/or likes to sunbathe please beware. These light colored pets are often referred to as having “sensitive” skin.

sun induced pre-cancerous lesions

The most sensitive areas on your pet are any areas of the face without pigment (around the eyes, muzzle, nose or ears), the underarm areas (axillae) and the inguinal or belly areas. If your pet is a sunbather, then you need to be especially aware. Yes, some dogs love to lie in the sun on their backs!!!  Breeds of dogs that seem to be especially prone to sunbathing-induced dermatitis include the Dalmatian, Bull Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Bassett Hound, Beagle, and the American Staffordshire terrier.   Horses and cats can also be affected. Horses with white muzzles and white legs seem to be especially prone to sun damage.  The skin can become very red and irritated with scabs and even open sores.  Cats with white ears will often have sun damage along the tips of their ears.

Living outdoors in areas where the sun is particularly strong is also a risk factor. Pets in California and Arizona have a higher incidence of sun-induced skin damage (medical term actinic dermatosis) than pets living in Oregon or Washington.

Cancer alert!  Repeated sun-damage (like repeated sunburn in people), can lead to skin cancer. Unlike people, melanoma is not the veterinarian’s main concern. The most common sun-induced cancers in pets are squamous cell carcinoma, hemangioma, and hemangiosarcoma. 

squamous cell carcinoma induced by sun exposure

If your pet is at risk consider taking the following precautions:

·      Restrict sun exposure from 10 am -4 pm when UV rays are strongest

·      Apply sunscreen- there are products formulated specifically for dogs

·      When sunscreens are not possible consider protective gear- sometimes, a well-placed T-shirt (dog) can work just as well!

·      Sunsuits for dogs are also available at