How to Get Rid Of Dog Dandruff
You may not see a serious problem in those tiny white flakes visible on your furbaby’s coat. However, they can be an indication that your pet’s wellbeing is actually comprised underneath the surface. Usually, dog dandruff occurs as a secondary health issue resulting from a more serious condition. More so, even when a pup that has dandruff appears to be healthy, getting to the root cause of the problem is necessary before you can succeed in completely eradicating dandruff. Read on to get important details on the causes of canine dandruff, including a few remedies and professional treatment.
Why Do Dogs Get Dandruff?
To understand how to get rid of dog dandruff, it’s vital to first be aware of the various causes that lead to such a condition. Let’s take a look at a few of them;
Environmental factors and allergies: As the seasons change from winter to summer, and vice versa, it brings different challenges from cold and dry air to seasonal allergies. If you notice that your dog’s dandruff always occurs alongside decreased humidity and colder temperatures, the underlying cause may be an allergy or dry skin condition.
Dog dandruff can also come as a result of seasonal shedding. This is especially true for pups that are not exposed to regular grooming – what happens here is that dead furs will accumulate, decreasing the dog’s coat luster and will eventually result in dandruff.
Allergies can give rise to atopic dermatitis in canines, causing dry skin, dandruff, redness, and inflammation. This should be treated immediately to prevent the occurrence of secondary infection. Flea allergy dermatitis is another common canine skin disorder. Dogs affected by this health issue have a sensitivity to what is known as flea saliva, which might result in itchiness, dry skin, dandruff, and much more.
Parasites: Parasites such as mange can also cause canine dandruff. An example of a severe case of dandruff here is the type called sarcoptic mange or canine scabies. The symptoms include; hair loss, itchiness, irritation, and pimples. Additionally, Demodex (also known as Demodex mange or canine demodicosis) which is a type of mite characterized by hair loss as well as scaly, dry skin might also be a suspect. And although lesions concentrate on the eyes and face, these small parasites can occur elsewhere.
Walking dandruff is called cheyletiellosis – this mite engenders scaling and itchiness and has a close resemblance to dandruff, but the name is derived from the fact that it actually moves on the topmost layer of the dog’s skin, making the skin flakes look like they are actually walking. No doubt, cheyletiellosis is a highly contagious skin disease; thus, any infected dog needs to be separated from other household pets until it completes treatment.
Low Humidity: if you live in an area with low humidity, you are probably not aware that the air in your home might be reducing moisture in your pup’s skin. Naturally, dry skin is susceptible to itchiness and flakiness and appears less supple. This means that your furbuddy will be frequently scratching, which might aggravate an existing skin issue.
Infection: Dog dandruff might come from a skin infection. We do know that there are normal bacteria and yeast that live on a dog’s skin, but when their numbers become excessive, they pose a problem, such as excessive dandruff. Additionally, some bacteria and yeast are not at all normal; these can bring a number of symptoms, alongside dandruff.
Another good example is ringworm – a canine fungal infection that is highly contagious. With ringworm, pet parents need to practice regular hand washing to prevent infection.
Inadequate Diet: Dogs are supposed to get all the essential nutrients from their food, and most good quality kibbles are replete with all the nutrients for a pup to maintain a healthy and fit body.
Canine food with low content of omega-3 fatty acids might engender coat and skin abnormalities; which include dandruff. If the food you are currently feeding your dog is low in omega-3 fatty acids, you can enlist the help of a vet to find more suitable kibbles or supplement alternatives such as fish oil.
Systemic illness: The appearance of dandruff on a dog might seem small, but when you observe changes in their skin and coat, it may be indicating a more serious health condition. If your pet still has dog dandruff after bathing, and the constant brushing doesn’t seem to be restoring its natural sheen, it is time to call the vet. This is very important for pet parents who observe changes in the way their pet behaves, alongside their energy levels, appetite, or even their urination habits.
Changes observed on a pup’s skin might be an initial sign indicating more serious issues like Cushing’s disease, diabetes, kidney, thyroid, and liver disease.
Musculoskeletal disease: Any dog that is not capable of grooming itself will end up with a rough coat and consequently, dandruff. A dog not being able to groom itself is due to certain diseases that can affect both bones and muscles like arthritis. If the resultant pain is excruciating, your furbaby is likely to experience a restricted movement hindering effective grooming.
Treatment for Canine Dandruff
Home remedies If your furbaby’s dandruff is a mild case characterized by some minor itching, it may not call for the attention of the vet. This is especially true for cases that don’t involve open sores. There are a good number of natural remedies you can try out in your home to aid the dog in overcoming the condition.
Giving your dog baths from time to time will help in combating dandruff. However, try not to overdo the baths as excessive bathing may engender changes in the skin’s pH level; which will further result in more serious health conditions. “Once a week bath” is fine for your dog unless the vet instructs otherwise.
- Dandruff shampoo
Leverage moisturizing conditioners and shampoos and other canine products specifically made for the treatment of dandruff. Try using a honey canine shampoo or moisturizing oatmeal produced with only natural ingredients. For one, honey aids the skin in the retention of moisture – this is so because it belongs to the class of natural humectants.
- Proper Brushing
In addition to making it feel good, regular brushing for your four-legged companion smoothens its furs, makes it shinier, aids in massaging its skin, as well as achieving a more even distribution of the natural oils in the coat.
There are brushes made specifically for canine grooming, but you will need to get the right one. If the brush is too hard, it will aggravate your pup’s skin. On the other hand, a brush that is too soft won’t achieve much results.
Additionally, your brush choice depends on various factors like the type of dog, its coat, as well as its level of tolerance. Your vet can also offer advice on grooming tips and which tools are likely to work best. Pups on the larger side might find self-grooming a little bit difficult, particularly on their backs – this underlines the need for constant brushing. And if your dog is overweight, it will certainly need to lose weight in order to bring a lasting solution to the problem.
Older dogs might also experience difficulty with self-grooming; thus, they need more grooming than younger ones. In addition to home remedies, there are still other options you can try at home before calling on the vet. If you have concluded that the climate is responsible for drying out your pup’s skin, invest in a humidifier to remedy the situation.
- Proper Diet
Canine dandruff, resulting from allergies, can also be treated with proper nutrition. Though the term is rather broad, there are allergies that have been countered by simply changing a dog’s diet to an upgraded variety. Some processed dog food might come with common irritants like dairy, grains, soy, and the lots, which your pup might be allergic to. Hence why feeding your pup with high-quality kibble is vital in holistic treatment, which is better than just tackling the symptoms seen on the surface. Any dog on a balanced diet will be able to maintain a healthy and shiny coat. Even puppy dandruff can be tackled with a high-quality diet.
For severe cases of dog dandruff caused by allergies, your vet might recommend some anti-allergy dog medication after identifying the underlying cause of the condition. If inflammation and itching are involved, the prescription may include a corticosteroid, which takes care of both conditions.
If flea allergy dermatitis happens to be the root cause of your dog’s allergy, the only remedy is to completely eliminate the fleas from your home. This might sound so easy, but it is a difficult task and you will have to work alongside your vet to determine the best eradication process.
When it comes to treatment for mites, some anti-parasitic canine medication such as ivermectin will suffice. There are still some skin infections that don’t require medication like Demodex, which usually resolves on its own. However, medical intervention might be needed for cases such as sarcoptic mange.
Continuing medication is necessary to control underlying health issues like Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism; with these conditions under control, the resultant Demodex and dry skin will also resolve. Your vet may also include some antibiotics in the prescription to take care of secondary infections if any.