Canine Dandruff
Canine dandruff refers to the white specks of dried dead skin cells found on a dog’s skin and coat. It happens when the normal growing-and-shedding cycle of skin cells goes out of sync. This page looks at the causes and treatment of dog dandruff.

Dandruff is commonly seen in many of our canine friends. The dog skin is in a constant process of growing new skin cells and shedding off old ones. Dandruff is an accumulation of the dried, dead skin cells during this growing-shedding cycle.

However, sometimes the growing-shedding cycle is out of balance, in which case an excess amount of dandruff can be seen on the dog’s skin and coat, especially around the neck, the back and the rump.

Causes of Canine Dandruff

Like dandruff in humans, dog dandruff can be caused by such external factors as low humidity and inadequate or poor grooming. It may also be caused by a diet that does not have sufficient nutrients that nourish the skin.

Dog dandruff can also be a symptom of an underlying health problem. For example, seborrhea is a skin disease that results in dry flaky skin, or greasy flaky skin, or both.

Hypothyroidism is a hormonal disease that results in dry skin with dandruff as well as hair loss.

In addition, any health problem that causes excessive urination and/or defecation can result in dry skin and dandruff. Some such health problems include kidney failurediabetes, and chronic diarrhea.

Skin parasites can also cause dog dandruff. For example, excessive scratching due to flea infestation can traumatize the skin and cause more dandruff to form, especially near the tail where most fleas reside.

Another parasite is the Cheyletiella mites which usually infest young puppies.

If your puppy has a lot of dandruff over her neck and along the back, watch carefully to see if the dandruff moves. If it does, your puppy probably has a case of “walking dandruff” (aka Cheyletiella mange) – an infestation of the Cheyletiella mites. The movement is caused by the mites walking around under the scales of skin.

Treatment of Canine Dandruff

As you can see, canine dandruff can be an indication of some underlying health problem. It is advisable therefore to visit the vet for a check-up to rule out the possibility of an underlying disease.

If your dog has dandruff but is otherwise healthy, try the following home remedies:

Add Supplements to Your Dog’s Diet

Adding some skin nourishing supplements to your dog’s diet may just be enough to do the trick. Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil, fish oil) are good for a dog’s skin.

Use a Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoo

Oat has a soothing and nourishing effect on the skin. It also prevents dandruff to form. Give a bath to your dog regularly using a colloidal oatmeal shampoo, such as:

Daily Brushing

Brush your dog every day to get rid of any accumulation of dead skin cells and stimulate blood circulation.