Your Pet’s Skin, Coat, and Paws Need Care

Your pet’s skin, coat, and nails are essential to their overall health. Know what signs to look for and when to contact a veterinarian.

by Dr. Heather Sutton, PetIQ District Medical Director & Member of the PetIQ Veterinary Council

Believe it or not, your dog or cat’s skin, coat, and nails are an organ system. It’s the largest in their entire body and is collectively called the integumentary. This system provides protection, regulates body temperature and how they sense the world around them.

Your pet’s skin is a highly sensitive organ that is vital to their overall health and wellness. It requires a healthy hair coat that is free of mats, dryness, or excessive oil.

Since it is the first line of defense against disease, it is vulnerable to:

  • Developing allergies (flea bites, weeds, pollen, dust, and bacteria in the soil)
  • Temperature changes (sunburns and frostbite)
  • Chemicals used during the winter (salt on driveways and sidewalks)

Having intact, healthy skin, coat, and nails are essential to warding off infections from these environmental factors.

Common signs your pet may have skin, coat, or nail problems are:

  • Matted hair coat
  • Dry, flaky skin and hair
  • Inflamed skin (red, hot, swollen, and painful)
  • Dry, cracked paw pads or cracked nails that lead to limping

These are just a few of them.

Regular grooming and maintenance of your pet’s skin, coat, and nails significantly reduce the chances of irritation and potential infection.

Should your pet experience any signs of damaged skin or tender paws, contact your local VIP Petcare veterinarian. They can help provide soothing products that ease the discomfort and keep your pet looking and feeling their best.

About the Author
Dr. Sutton joined PetIQ as a District Medical Director in October 2020 and is an active member of the PetIQ Veterinary Council. She obtained her DVM from Iowa State University in 1997 and has proudly provided veterinary care for over 24 years. She currently lives in Painesville, Ohio with one cat (Emoji).

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