Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.
Why Do Dogs Get Dandruff?
Have you been brushing your dog and finding whitish looking scales? Is your dog scratching a lot lately? Chances are what you are seeing is dandruff and your dog is suffering from dry skin. Dandruff is basically dead skin that flakes off due to dryness which may be exacerbated by a variety of factors.
The skin, indeed, tends to get dry during the winter season and a lack of humidity is often a contributing factor, especially when the dog is kept indoors in a heated environment. Reduced production of natural oils in the dog's skin may also play a role. In some cases, an underlying skin condition may be causing problems. For this reason, it is a good idea to have your dog see a vet to rule any skin conditions out. Some skin conditions require specific shampoos to be treated.
Home Remedies for Dog Dandruff
When treating dog dandruff it helps to keep in mind the underlying cause. Because parasites, allergies and other skin conditions may cause dry, dull skin with flaky scales, as mentioned, a vet's visit is the best place to start. For instance, dandruff may affect dogs with dry skin, but may also affect dogs with excessively oily skin such as in seborrhea. The treatment for these two conditions is different and may exacerbate either condition if given incorrectly. Only once medical causes have been ruled out, natural treatments should be considered. The natural remedies below are only for dogs that have been diagnosed with dandruff due to dry skin.
Remedies for Dog Dandruff
- Crank up the Humidity: If the dry skin accompanied by itching and dandruff is seen mostly in the winter, it helps to invest in a humidifier to place in the main living area. A humidifier in the bedroom will also help both dog and human skin.
- Fill the Water Bowl: The more your dog drinks, the more its skin will be moisturized. Some dogs do not drink enough. Always keep a fresh bowl of water handy to help your dog keep hydrated.
- Improve the Diet: Cheap dog foods rich in preservatives, additives, colors, and artificial flavors may cause a dry, dull coat full of dandruff. Switching over to a healthier, premium dog food may be beneficial
- Spread the Oil: If the skin lacks natural oils, it helps to brush the dog on a frequent basis. Brushing stimulates the skin to produce natural oils which can then be spread throughout the coat. Brush your dog at the same time every day, so that the natural skin oils are evenly spread, according to Vet Info.
- Bathe Properly: Often owners of itchy dogs feel compelled to give their dogs frequent baths, but if the dog has dandruff and dry skin, this will only exacerbate the problem. Frequent baths strip a dog's coat from natural oils. If you must, give your dog a bath once every two weeks if it is suffering from dry skin, further adds Vet Info. And when you do give a bath, choose a soothing shampoo, such as an oatmeal based one. Oatmeal aids in locking in the moisture for a healthier looking coat.
- Pass some Fatty Acids: To help the dog from the inside out, it helps to supplement the dog's diet with fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help maintain a healthy skin and a shiny coat. Supplementing the dog's diet with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help replenish the natural essential oils needed for a healthy coat. There are many dog diets already formulated for skin and coat healthy which contain fatty acids already.
- Add Some Oil: Sunflower or safflower oil added to food may help a dog that needs a little of fat in the diet for a healthy coat. It is important to use fresh oil, as oil often goes rancid over time and may not be very helpful. Small dogs, necessitate one teaspoon of oil per meal, whereas, large dogs, do well with one tablespoon per meal, according to veterinarian Dawn Logas, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. Rubbing in the coat a few drops of olive oil may be also be a good topical therapy.
Disclaimer: because dandruff may be caused by underlying medical conditions such as abnormal thyroid levels or seborrhea, it is important to seek veterinarian advice prior to utilizing natural remedies for dogs. If your dog has dandruff, please see your veterinarian for professional advice.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 09, 2012:
Happy the natural remedies for dog dandruff has been helpful! kind regards!
Dr Pandula from Norway on March 09, 2012:
Thank you for an excellent hub! It really gives me the answers to a burning issue.
Teylina on March 09, 2012:
Excellent hub. Knew it was coming after AE's question, but didn't expect such a god one! Thank you! Very well done!