From the itchy scalp to the telltale white flakes, dandruff is not only embarrassing when we suffer from it, it is also uncomfortable. Fortunately, you can go to the pharmacy to get anti-dandruff shampoo and stop dandruff soon. But what about your dog? Dandruff can also affect your furry friend. While you can’t share your anti-dandruff shampoo with your animal, there are options to make dandruff flakes disappear in dogs.
In this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of dog dander, and what you can do to make sure your beloved pet is free from this annoying condition.
Causes of dandruff in dogs
Dandruff, officially known as seborrhea, rarely strikes on its own. As such, dandruff is usually the side effect of another condition. Primary seborrhea (dandruff without an underlying health condition) is a hereditary condition, but it is very rare.
On the other hand, secondary seborrhea is much more common. This type of dandruff is usually caused by:
- Allergies, including food allergies.
- Cheyletiella mite infestations.
- Internal parasites.
- Bacterial infections.
- Yeast infections
- Yeast infections, including ringworm
- Cushing’s disease.
- Environmental factors, especially humidity or aridity.
Because dog dander is often linked to other medical problems (such as allergies), it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vet to rule out any underlying conditions.
Along with dandruff, be sure to watch for any other changes in your dog’s coat, including odors, hair loss, or skin conditions such as increased itching.
How to know if your pet suffers from dandruff
An occasional flake caused by dry skin can become common in dogs (or humans). While dry skin often leads to flaking, it is important to recognize if peeling occurs often.
Common symptoms of dog dandruff include:
- Visible flakes of dry skin all over the dog’s coat.
- Increased itching sensation (and more scratching).
- Reddened skin
- Scabs (from scratching too much).
- Signs of discomfort.
Does breed matter when it comes to dog dander?
Just as some people are more prone to dry skin, some dog breeds are more prone to dandruff.
For example, ichthyosis is a condition that causes the development of rough skin and greasy scales. The following breeds are known to be at higher risk for this condition:
- Western highland white terrier.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
- Doberman pinscher.
- Jack Russell Terrier.
- Norfolk Terrier.
- Yorkshire terrier.
Breeds that are at risk for allergies (of any kind) are more likely to develop dandruff. Poodles, Maltese, terriers and greyhounds can be added to this group.
Tips for treating dog dandruff
The first step in treating dog dander is identifying the underlying cause of the animal’s skin and coat problems. Once you determine the root of the problem, you can implement the appropriate treatment that your vet has recommended. Keep in mind that an allergy test would be the most effective way to determine if specific allergens are affecting your dog and causing dandruff.
You can promote healthy skin and coat by doing the following:
- Brush Your Dog Regularly – Regular brushing helps loosen (and remove) loose hair and dead skin flakes.
- Use gentle, moisturizing shampoos: When bathing your dog, choose dog shampoos formulated for dry skin, such as oatmeal shampoos. You can also find medicated shampoos specifically intended for dog dandruff.
- Rinse your dog well: poorly rinsed shampoo can cause dryness on your dog’s skin. Try to remove the remains of the product well when you are bathing him.
- Turn on a humidifier: If low humidity is causing your skin dryness, a humidifier can add moisture to the air.
- Include omega-3 fatty acids in your dog’s diet – Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat in humans, and they also offer those same benefits to dogs. You can find essential fatty acids in many dog foods and treats.
Is it possible to help my dog stay dander free?
Of course it is possible to prevent canine dandruff! Even if your dog isn’t actively dealing with dandruff, promoting healthy skin and coat is essential. From regularly brushing your dog’s coat to feeding him a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, you can take steps to prevent your pet’s dander.
However, if you notice that the animal’s dandruff or itching has already started and suddenly worsens, you should always consult your vet to determine if your dog has an allergy or you could benefit from other treatments or medications to eliminate the problem. We know that the health of your pet is the main thing for you.