Dog dandruff can range from a mild smattering of skin flakes falling from their coat to painful rashes and sores that can lead to infection. Fortunately, we typically recognize the former symptoms before your dog’s dandruff can escalate to a more serious skin issue.
Before we get into the ways you can get rid of your dog’s dandruff problem, it will help to understand what it is and how to identify it.
What is Dog Dandruff?
We call it dandruff, but the technical term is Seborrhea. It’s a condition that can cause dry skin symptoms, excess dander, and increased oil production in the skin.
Seborrhea can be genetically inherited, meaning your dog may be prone to it, or it could be triggered by external factors. Parasites, infection, bacteria, and many health conditions can increase your dog’s chances of experiencing dandruff.
In either case, you should be on the lookout for these Seborrhea symptoms:
- Greasy skin
- Visible dander or flakes
- Peeling skin, similar to a sunburn
- Red irritated skin, especially near folds of the skin and face
- A strong unpleasant odour
- Hair loss (alopecia)
Dry skin and dandruff can lead to other issues if left untreated. Scratching, licking, and chewing can worsen your pet’s skin issues, create sores, and even introduce bacteria that can leave them vulnerable to infection.
It’s a good idea to check with your vet at the first signs of any skin issues with your dog. Your vet can rule out infection or metabolic issues, like thyroid problems, that might be causing Seborrhea.
10 Dandruff Solutions for Dogs
Improving your dog’s skin and coat health can help reduce dandruff symptoms, eliminate dry skin, and get rid of that annoying itch. Even better, regularly supporting your dog’s skin, immune system, and digestion will prevent dandruff from coming back.
Here are 10 quick tips for ditching your dog’s dandruff:
1. Hydration is Key
Keeping your pet well hydrated is important to their overall health. Most pets do not get enough moisture in their regular diet. It’s not always enough to rely on their daily drinking habits to supplement their hydration needs.
Adding moisture to their diet with high-quality fresh or wet foods can help to ensure proper hydration, which will improve digestion and nutrient absorption. This will allow them to utilize more of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support their skin and coat health.
We drink water to improve our skin, so it makes sense that dogs would benefit from an increase in water intake too.
2. Food Fuels Life
Dog food is a beast of an industry, and it can be confusing to know which diet is right for your unique pet. Dog food is not one-size-fits-all, so what works for some dogs, might be all wrong for yours.
It’s important to consider your dog’s dietary needs and find a food that offers all the nutrients they need to thrive. Talk to your vet about nutrition, and don’t be afraid to try new types of food.
3. Environmental Impact
You may find that dandruff, dry skin, and increased shedding tend to coincide with seasonal changes. Colder weather can often bring drier air, which can affect your dog’s skin.
These environmental changes affect your pet’s skin in the same way it can affect ours. Consider adding a humidifier to your house to keep more moisture in the air.
Smaller patches of dry skin could be an indicator that your pet is hosting some unwanted guests. Using a preventative flea and tick treatment can rule out pests as the cause of the dry skin.
Look for a treatment that kills adult pests and inhibits the development of any eggs they may have left behind. Bayer K9 Advantix II topical treatments will protect against fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitos. This will provide your dog with 4 months of protection.
5. Bathe Them
Bath time may not be your dog’s favourite activity, but it is necessary to support their skin and coat. Stick to natural, hypo-allergenic shampoos that don’t use soaps, fragrances, or harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Bathing your pet too frequently can cause problems too. Overbathing will remove many of the protective oils that their skin produces. Try to keep baths to no more than once every 6 weeks.
If you need to bathe them more frequently, then skip the shampoo. Use warm water with a small amount of apple cider vinegar in it instead. This will deodorize them without stripping their natural oils or changing the pH balance of their skin.
6. Grooming Essentials
Find a brush that is right for your dog’s coat. It’s not a bad idea to have a few different types of brushes in your collection. A basic brush for detangling and a brush for shed control, like a Furminator, make a great starter kit.
7. Omega Fatty Acids
A high-quality diet will include omega fatty acids, but some pets need more. Try adding healthy fats and oils to your pet’s food to reduce dandruff and dry skin. Salmon oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil are all readily available omega fatty acids supplements for pets.
8. Avoid Allergens
Food allergies are a common trigger for skin issues, like dog dandruff. If you suspect that allergies are the underlying cause of your dogs itchy, flaky skin, then you may want to consider trying to weed out the offending ingredients.
Look for a limited ingredient diet, or talk to your vet about hypo-allergenic food options. These diets are designed to limit the number of ingredients that could be causing a reaction, allowing you to determine which ingredients your pet can have.
9. A Multivitamin a Day…
If dietary restrictions are limiting the variety of ingredients you can feed your dog, then you may need to think about adding a multivitamin supplement to their routine.
Multi-vitamins for pets are a great way to buffer levels of key nutrients that may be missing from their diet, without over supplementing. Look for multivites that have a wide variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids.
10. Gut Health
Digestion is the gateway to the body. All nutrients must be properly digested and absorbed to support their overall health. Introducing probiotics can help replenish their natural levels of healthy gut bacteria, and aid in breaking down food to its core nutrients.
Omega Alpha Probiotic 8 Plus contains a variety of strains of healthy bacteria to support digestion. It also has prebiotics to feed good bacteria and digestive enzymes to breakdown proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Dandruff is typically easy to spot, so acting fast will prevent the issue from worsening over time. Here are few key takeaways to help you spot and prevent dog dandruff.
- Your dog’s skin and coat health are directly connected to their overall health. Digestion plays a substantial role in how nutrients are broken down and transported through your dog’s body, so diet is always a good place to start when noticing issues with their skin and coat.
- Routine grooming, massaging, or basic health inspections can help you catch early signs of dryness or other skin problems. Make sure to check areas that are warm, moist, or hidden, as they are likely the first place irritation and dry skin will show up.
- Success can depend on the cause and severity of skin issues. If you find success in some of our suggestions, then try to keep up with them. Dog dandruff symptoms can come and go, but a regular skincare routine can work preventatively in most dogs.
Does your dog have dandruff? Let us know if any of these tips have been helpful in the comments below!
Krystn Janisse is the content writer for Homesalive.ca and a pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in many facets of the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others.