5 Treatments For Cat Dry Skin
Dry skin on cats is not only possible but actually very common across all breeds. The easiest way to tell if your cat has dry skin is if you notice patched, flakey spots around their coat. Another telltale sign that your cat has dry skin is if you see them constantly scratching and itching, especially if they’re focused on a certain spot on their body. The nose, back, ears, and base of the tail are some of the more common areas where a cat can develop dry skin.
What Does Cat Dry Skin Look Like?
Your cat’s dry skin can appear as bald spots, scabs, scaly patches, or flakes that look similar to dandruff. These symptoms can appear anywhere on your cat, however, they’re most commonly found around the nose, tail, lower back, and ears. Once you’re certain that your cat has dry skin, the next step is figuring out what’s causing it, and then appropriately treating it.
Dry skin is a common concern for cats, often bringing cats and their pet parents to the veterinarian. Here we’ll discuss the possible reasons for cat dry skin, and how to handle a serious issue or tell if it is just regular old wintertime chapping.
What Are the Top Home Remedies for Dry Skin on Cats?
Wondering what the best home remedies for dry skin on cats are? Use the following five remedies to treat your cat’s dry skin and heal their discomfort quickly:
- Use a cat food that has a higher protein content.
- If you suspect your cat has allergies, consult with your vet to determine an allergy elimination plan.
- Use an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to provide natural moisture for your cat’s skin.
- If your home is naturally arid, use humidifiers to help protect your cat’s skin from becoming dry.
- Use a natural moisturizing agent (such as coconut oil) on your cat’s dry areas. Certain shampoos and essential oils can also be used as remedies for dry skin on cats.
Read also: Ear problems of dogs and cats
INDICATIONS OF DRY CAT SKIN
Dandruff and flakiness are the primary indications that your cat has dry skin. The skin itself may appear dull when you part the fur to have a look. Also, your cat may be itching, scratching, or licking more than usual.
- Scratching of the head and neck can indicate a food allergy.
- Hair loss, or thinning hair by the tail, can indicate that your cat has fleas.
CAUSES OF DRY CAT SKIN
More often than not, dry skin is a red flag alerting you to some other condition. By addressing the real issue, dry skin should go back to normal. The most common causes of dry cat skin are:
- Allergies: Your cat may be allergic to anything from an ingredient in their food to the pollen in the air. They could also be reacting to something in their environment, like a new bed or grooming product.
- Poor Diet: Your cat’s food may be short on vitamins and minerals. Their dry skin could be an indication of a deficiency.
- Changes in the Weather: When the weather gets colder and heaters come on, everyone’s skin gets dry. Luckily, this type of dry skin is easy to treat.
Other, less common causes of dry cat skin can include:
- Fleas: Sometimes a flea infestation can cause dry skin. Getting rid of the fleas should resolve the skin problem unless an infection has also developed. In this case, antibiotics, or a special ointment, may be necessary.
- Lice and Other Parasites: Eliminating the parasite should resolve the skin issues.
- Overgrooming: Sometimes cats get carried away with their self-grooming. Over-grooming can indicate a serious medical problem or a behavioral issue like OCD. Both the medical problem and the excessive licking can lead to dry skin.
- Fungal Infections: Fungal infections like yeast infections, ringworm, and sporotrichosis, for example, can lead to dry skin. Sporotrichosis can spread to humans and should be managed right away.
- Serious Health Conditions: Older cats are especially susceptible to diseases like hyperthyroidism, heart conditions, and diabetes. Dry skin can be an early indication of one of these issues.
Read also: countries with the most number of pet cats
5 TREATMENTS for Cat Dry Skin
1. A Better Diet
More Protein: Most commercial dry cat foods are low on protein and high on carbs, which is the opposite of what nature requires for a cat’s health. The solution? More protein. Consider buying a higher protein food and/or mixing some wet food into your cat’s diet, and see how their skin fares.
Eliminating Allergens: If you think your cat has an allergy, ask your vet to help you plan an elimination diet to identify the source of the allergy.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Other Supplements
If your cat already has a well-balanced diet, consider an Omega 3 supplement. The benefits of fish oil for pets even go beyond skin moisture — some tests indicate it may help prevent cancer. You may also consider a more general supplement, like Dermatrix, that includes keratin for skin health.
3. Topical Treatments, Shampoos, and Grooming
Shampoos: These should only be used if your cat has gotten very dirty, greasy, or sticky. Otherwise, there’s almost no reason to bathe a cat.
Flea and tick Topical treatments will rid your cat of existing lice or flea infestations, which may resolve their related skin issues.
Brushing your cat regularly will help spread its own natural skin oils.
4. Antibiotics & Antifungals
Prescription medication will be necessary for just about any infection-related skin condition. Your vet will know which medication is needed.
5. Household Changes
Dry Heat: If the air is dry in your home because the heat is on, bring a humidifier into the room your cat spends the most time in.
Allergies: Have you changed laundry detergents? Brought in a new scratching post? Started using a new household cleaner? Your cat’s dry skin could be a reaction or an allergy to one of these substances.
7 Signs of Cat Skin Problems
Cats, just like everyone else, can end up developing a skin condition. We may not think about it, since their skin is pretty well covered with a thick layer of fur (in most cases), but when a cat skin problem occurs, they are just as uncomfortable as anyone else. If you want to be able to help your cat when the problem occurs, it pays to know the signs, and what the likely cause could be.
1. Scratching, licking, and chewing at the skin
Fact: cats lick themselves clean, and they also scratch themselves. However, if you notice that your cat is really working a specific spot (especially around their neck or head), it could be their way of trying to deal with skin irritation. Often, this type of behavior is symptomatic of a parasite, such as fleas, ticks, or ear mites, causing your cat to go mentally trying to get at the source of the itch. If your cat is really going to a specific area, take them to the vet.
While they may not be visible, scabs can often be felt. If you are petting your cat and you feel a spot of crusty, scabbed-over skin, this could either be a legion or the result of excessive scratching, both of which are a sign that something is bothering your cat. It could be miliary dermatitis or another issue, and it’s time to consult your vet.
3. Redness or inflammation
If your cat’s skin is becoming red and raised, chances are this is an allergic reaction to something they are interacting within your home, commonly known as contact dermatitis. Frequently a result of an allergy to plastic or rubber, the best defense is to keep your cat away from potential triggers. Try feeding them from glass, stainless steel, or ceramic bowls, as rubber/plastic dishes are a leading cause. Talk to your vet as well, since it could also be a result of something more serious.
4. Round, scaly patches
Ringworm is an infectious fungus that causes scaly patches on the skin. If you notice any round, scaly skin on your cat’s body, most commonly on the head or paws, take them to the vet to have them treated.
5. Dry, flaky skin
A symptom that can be attributed to a ton of different causes — from allergies and weather to parasites — dry, flaky skin can be alleviated with a dietary supplement such as fish oil to help their skin and fur regain their natural sheen and moisture. However, you should always consult with your vet before adding any supplement to your cat’s diet.
6. Hair loss
If your cat is licking their coat to the point of removing hair, it is a good sign that they are in pain resulting from one of the aforementioned causes. If, however, the hair is falling out on its own, chances are that the cat is suffering from a different kind of condition, such as demodectic mange, an excess of cortisone, hyperthyroidism, feline endocrine alopecia, or some other type of disease. If your cat’s hair is falling out, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
7. Skin discoloration
Depending on how far the discoloration spreads (small spots or a large portion of their skin), this could either be a minor reaction to something like a mosquito bite or something more serious like Cushing’s disease. Regardless of the size, however, if there is a change in your cat’s skin color, you should take them to the vet immediately.
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