It is a cringe-worthy situation that you have seen in many shampoo commercials: the white flakes that are scattered on the shoulders of some unfortunate individual.
Now, imagine seeing those in your lovable pooch that’s literally covered in hair!
Yes! Just like us, our doggos are also susceptible to dandruff. And although it is not the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world, it may be a sign that your dog is suffering from dry, itchy skin.
Dandruff in Dogs: Underlying Causes?
Dandruffs are basically dead skin which flakes off because of dryness that may be exacerbated by various reasons.
They can run the gamut of allergen-related triggers— from environmental or food-related to irritants such as dust, pollen, household cleaners as well as the saliva of fleas.
Occasionally, dogs may suffer from dandruff because of Cheyletiella mites, also called “walking dandruff”. Such mites burrow into your dog’s coat and skin and lay eggs.
To multiply, thrive and generally make your dog’s life as miserable as possible!
Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also cause dandruff. Fungal and bacterial skin infections can have the same effect, although this type of dandruff manifests as flakes everywhere around the body, rather than in just one localized area.
Abnormalities in your dog’s diet, for instance not drinking enough water or an improper ratio of vitamins, minerals and fat, obesity, and even things such as humidity and temperature levels can cause those white flakes to manifest.
Weather conditions are a common cause of dandruff especially in the wintertime, because of the low humidity levels typical for this period. The low level of moisture in the air can take moisture from your doggo’s skin too, making them itch, scratch and flake.
Lastly, improper grooming can also be a culprit for dandruff. Thus, it is crucial that you keep your pooch clean and well-groomed at all times in order to prevent possible infestations and infections.
Are There Certain Breeds That Are More Prone To Dandruff?
Breeds at a predisposition to developing oily dandruff include:
- West Highland White Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Basset Hounds
- English Springer Spaniels
- Cocker Spaniels
Breeds prone to developing dry dandruff include:
- Irish Setters
- German Shepherds
Of course, all breeds of dogs may suffer from dandruff for one reason or another.
Dog Dandruff: What Are The Symptoms?
If you notice a couple of random flakes on your doggo, then there is really no need to worry. A handful should not appear alarming.
However, here are some symptoms that should draw your attention:
1. Lots of Flakes
If you start noticing a lot of flakes on your dog’s coat, then it is time to get to the bottom of the issue with your vet. If your pet’s skin is flaky, then it is important that you have them evaluated by your vet in order to rule out any medical issues. Be sure to mention certain seasonal patterns to the doctor.
2. Redness or Odor
You may see redness in some areas of your dog’s skin. If they have a skin infection or allergic reaction, then the skin may often be red and/or stinky.
3. Discomfort or Itching
Depending on the underlying cause of dandruff, you might notice discomfort or itching in your dog. If the cause is allergies, skin infections, parasites or even some skin disorders, then trust me, things can get really itchy for your furry pal.
Natural Treatment and Home Remedies for Dandruff in Dogs
1. Fenugreek Seed Paste
This is one of the very effective natural treatments for doggy dandruff. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties which can help remove fungi in the dog’s coat.
- Soak at least 2 – 3 cups of fenugreek seeds overnight. The seeds should become soft.
- Create a paste by draining the water and mashing the seeds.
- Apply the seed paste to the affected skin area and leave it for 1 hour.
- Wash your dog with cool water.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Solution
Apple cider vinegar has antifungal, antibacterial and detoxifying properties that can help improve the condition of the skin. In addition, it also helps remove allergies and itchiness when used after shampooing.
- Prepare half a cup of water and mix with half a cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Rub the mixture on your dog’s fur and skin using cotton balls or clothes.
- Allow it to dry.
- Repeat the process until you achieve the desired result.
3. Lime Juice Rinse
This fruit contains vitamin C, which is effective for dandruff as well as making your dog’s coat glossy and shiny.
- Mix lime juice with water.
- Apply a dog shampoo during bath time.
- Use the mixture of lime juice and water when rinsing off the shampoo.
4. Olive Oil
- You can add olive oil to your pooch’s food; however, it is best eaten raw, since it does not do well under high heat. Make sure to give your furry friend half a tablespoon at least 2 times a day.
- You can also apply olive oil directly to the affected area in order to instantly relieve itchiness and moisturize dry skin.
5. Oatmeal Mixture
One of the easiest, cheapest and fastest home remedies for canine dandruff, oatmeal helps soothe itchy skin, as well as moisturize and nourish your dog’s skin.
- Grind oatmeal using a blender and fill a single cup.
- Add the ground oatmeal into a tub that is filled with water.
- Mix the water for equal distribution.
- Put your dog inside the tub and allow the mixture to soak the coat.
- Wait for at least 15 minutes. You can massage the dog’s fur to spread the solution better while waiting.
- Repeat the process until you achieve good results.
6. Coconut Oil
The beneficial coconut oil helps moisturize your dog’s skin and keep dandruff at bay. It also provides luster to your pooch’s fur and benefits their overall skin health, while also preventing unhealthy microorganisms from appearing.
- Add at least 10 drops of coconut oil to a bowl of water.
- Apply the mixture on your pooch’s coat and leave it for about 5 minutes.
- Rinse the mixture with clean water.
- Apply a shampoo then rinse again.
- Keep doing this at least once a week until you achieve the desired results.
You can also use coconut oil as a topical treatment and just apply it to the affected area to soothe itchiness and dry skin. You can also add it to your dog’s food or mix it well with its regular shampoo.
7. Listerine Mouth Wash Rinse
Listerine Mouth Wash is another potential home remedy treatment that you can try. Although it may sound a bit odd, you should know that the ingredients of this mouthwash – methyl salicylate, thymol, and menthol – can be quite helpful in overcoming yeast and fungal infections that can cause dandruff.
- Dilute Listerine with equal parts of water.
- Apply the mixture to your dog’s coat just before bath time.
- Allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Bathe your doggo as usual.
This has been a natural remedy used in both animals and humans for many years. It is simple and effective at treating dandruff and dry skin.
- Take an ample amount and rub it into your dog’s skin and fur.
- Allow the treatment to sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Wash your dog with clean water.
Additional Tips To Treat And Prevent Dog Dandruff
1. Fill Their Water Bowl
Dry skin can mean poor hydration. The more your pooch drinks, the more moisturized its skin will be. Some dogs just don’t drink enough water. So, always keep a fresh bowl of water nearby in order to help your dog stay hydrated.
2. Increase The Humidity
If dandruff is mostly present during winter and if the dry skin is accompanied by itching, then low humidity levels may be the culprit. Thus, it helps to invest in a good humidifier and keep it going, especially in your dog’s sleeping area.
Not only should it help your dog’s skin, but it should also keep your own skin moisturized and hydrated.
3. Spread The Oil
If the skin is lacking natural oil, you should brush your pooch on a frequent basis. Brushing actually stimulates the skin to produce more natural oils that can spread throughout the coat.
Make sure to brush your dog at the same time every day, so the natural skin oils are spread evenly.
4. Improve His Diet
Cheap dog foods are only rich in colors, additives, artificial flavors, and preservatives, without the necessary nutrients. Therefore, they cause a dry and dull coat, loaded with dandruff.
Make sure that your dog’s diet includes enough omega-33 fatty acid supplements, as these do wonders for their coat. In addition, dandruff may be caused by certain allergens present in the doggo’s diet, so try to figure out what it is it that your dog is allergic to.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is another crucial factor in your dog’s general health. Physical activity helps decrease stress levels, thus decreasing dog dandruff. Exercising also helps boost your pooch’s immune system, which should prevent skin infections and keep dandruff at bay.
Walk your dog often and allow them to run free in a dog park, or invest some time for play and bonding.
6. Bathe Properly
Usually, most owners feel required to give their doggos frequent baths. However, if your furry buddy has dry skin and dandruff, frequent baths can only worsen the problem. Baths can strip the coat of natural oils, leaving the dog’s skin dry and itchy.
If needed, you can give your dog a bath at least once every 2 weeks, if it is suffering from dry skin. And if you do give them a bath, make sure to use a soothing shampoo such as oatmeal-based ones that help lock in moisture for healthier and moisturized coats.
7. Consider Specialized Anti-Dandruff Dog Shampoos
The market also offers specialized anti-dandruff shampoos for dogs. These products should help ward off dandruff— moisturizing the skin, relieving irritation, and reducing flakiness.
Avoid dandruff shampoos that are formulated for humans, since they may be too harsh on your dog’s skin.
Shop at your local pet store; get a shampoo that is made for dogs only and is specially formulated to treat dandruff.
Your lovable doggo does not have to suffer from this annoying condition. If you ever notice the telltale signs of white flakes and unsightly dog dandruff, then you need to take the proper steps in order to treat both the symptoms and the underlying cause. Only by doing this will you be able to get the condition under control.
With regular maintenance treatments and care, you can reduce or completely eradicate your doggo’s discomfort and give your four-legged friend that lush, beautiful coat that he or she so deserves.