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.
Sometimes, when the growing-shedding cycle is out of balance, 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
A dog having dandruff doesn’t necessarily have health problems such as skin issues. It could just be caused by such external factors as low humidity. Not grooming a dog regularly or poor grooming can also cause the dog to have dandruff.
Feeding the dog a low-quality, unbalanced diet that does not have sufficient nutrients to nourish the skin is another cause of dog dandruff.
On the other hand, sometimes a dog having dandruff does indicate that the dog is suffering from 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 failure, diabetes, and chronic diarrhea.
Skin parasites are another common cause of 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. If you suddenly find a lot of dandruff on your dog, it’s best 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. For example:
Vitamin E and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These two oils are good for a dog’s skin.
Fish oil rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon oil) is anti-inflammatory and skin nourishing.
When giving Omega-3 fatty acids to dogs, be sure to also give vitamin E. If not, the dog may run the risk of developing vitamin E deficiency.
Another oil that is good for the skin is coconut oil.
Daily use of coconut oil can greatly reduce dandruff and body odor. Since coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which has powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, it can prevent skin infections caused by these microorganisms.
Vitamins A, B and C
Although dogs can make their own vitamin C, older dogs and dogs with health problems can benefit from supplementation. Vitamin C is essential for cell growth and repair. When using vitamin C for dogs, choose one that is ascorbic acid, such as Wholistic Pet Organics Ester-C Supplement (link below).
B vitamins are also important for coat health. Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is particularly beneficial to the health of skin and hair.
Vitamin A is another supplement that can nourish the skin. It can help lubricate the hair follicles, thereby reducing dandruff.
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.
Finally, don’t forget to brush your dog every day to get rid of any accumulation of dead skin cells and stimulate blood circulation.