A healthy dog has a soft and pleasant coat. Changes in its structure, such as traces of combing the skin, scratching, white particles of dry skin on the coat, and excessive oiliness of the hair, immediately become noticeable. Dandruff is not typically a sign of a serious condition, but you can talk with a veterinarian to find out what may be causing it. Make an appointment sooner rather than later if you see symptoms like extreme itchiness or a change in weight or behavior.
Do dogs have dandruff?
Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, is common in dogs and humans alike. The difference is that the entire body of the dog is covered with thick hair, therefore dandruff will cause it much more unpleasant condition than in humans. Seborrhea typically affects the back, face, and flanks and is worse in the folds of the skin. There are three types of seborrhea:
- Seborrhea sicca (dry seborrhea). It is characterized by dry skin and focal or diffuse peeling with the appearance of whitish or grayish scales. The coat becomes dry and dull.
- Seborrhea oleosa (oily seborrhea). It manifests itself, on the contrary, in an excessive amount of sebaceous secretion. The skin and coat become oily, and with a strong form of the disease, there is also an unpleasant odor present.
- Mixed form. When an animal shows signs of both dry and oily seborrhea. Most dogs with seborrheic dermatitis have a combination of dry and oily seborrhea.
Often the color of the dog’s dandruff can indicate the cause of it. By color, dandruff can be:
- White dandruff - is particles of dead epithelium. This type of dandruff may be a result of dry skin, food allergies, seasonal allergies, and nutritional deficiencies.
- Yellowish or gray dandruff. Sticky particles of the epidermis indicate pathology in the work of the sebaceous glands or hormonal imbalance. The coat looks dirty and greasy. The pet usually has bald spots, scratches a lot, often itchy too.
- Black dandruff (pseudo-dandruff) - is droplets of coagulated blood or plugs of clogged sebaceous glands. A sign of improper coat brushing or pathology of the sebaceous glands. Sometimes pet owners mistake fleas for black dandruff.
- Red (pink) dandruff. This type of dandruff is a particle of the epithelium that exfoliates from the inflamed area of the skin.
Dandruff in a dog can occur on its own or be accompanied by other symptoms that indicate disorders in the body. It is impossible to accurately determine the causes of the appearance without the help of a specialist. If you notice dandruff in your pet, be sure to show it to the veterinarian.
The main causes of dog dandruff
The most common factor leading to dandruff is if the pet food is of poor quality, and does not contain the necessary vitamins, macro, and microelements in sufficient quantities. This will inevitably lead to health problems, which may be evidence of a deterioration in the condition of the skin. Your pet's diet must consist of such elements like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are not synthesized by the body on their own, these elements are necessary to maintain healthy skin and coat. The food must contain protein which should be high quality and well digestible, and vitamin A which regulates the growth of skin cells.
- Improper skin and coat care.
Improper care of your pet's coat is another leading factor for causing dandruff. Bathing a dog with a shampoo that has silicones, parabens, or SLS dries the skin and damages the fur, so it's one of the main reasons for dandruff appearing. Use bathing products with natural composition only to avoid this problem.
- Wrong selection of grooming tools.
The brush for combing out the dog should be specialized, selected by the size of the body, length and thickness of the hair, and skin sensitivity. If the brush is not suitable, there is a high risk of damage to the epidermis and increased exfoliation of skin scales. When selecting a brush, keep in mind that the cushion should be quite soft and pins should be rounded to avoid scratches during the brushing.
- Winter frost and dry air.
During the winter months, dogs often suffer from dry skin caused by walking in the cold. In addition, the air in the house or apartment where the pet lives becomes too warm and dry due to the operation of heating radiators. This can lead to breathing problems, as well as dryness and flaking of the skin. The problem needs to be solved, for example, by putting humidifiers in the rooms and reducing the heating temperature.
- Ticks, fleas, and other blood-sucking insects, causing skin itching.
Dandruff appears when the dog begins to scratch its skin because of itchiness. In addition, ticks can infect a dog with dangerous infections. Make it a rule to check your pet's coat for dangerous insects after returning from a walk. If the dog is infected with internal parasites, seborrhea may also occur - already as a reaction to the intoxication of the body.
Excessive excitement can cause deterioration of the skin and coat. Try to protect your pet from stressful situations. Stress disrupts metabolic processes throughout the body, including interfering with the normal regeneration of the skin.
- Skin infections, allergies, and other internal diseases.
Abundant dandruff and hair loss in a dog is a reasons to immediately contact a veterinary clinic. Often these are symptoms of serious diseases, such as metabolic disorders, hormonal abnormalities, and bacterial or viral infections.
How to cure dog dandruff?
The first thing to do when your pet develops dandruff is to contact your veterinarian. Only a doctor, after conducting the necessary studies, will make a diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment.
The most important thing is to eliminate the root cause, that is, deviations in the work of the body that cause seborrhea. The key to success is an integrated approach. The veterinarian will prescribe the treatment of the underlying disease (if any) and what manipulations the owner needs to do to get rid of dandruff, like changing the diet to proper food consisting of necessary micro and macro elements, elimination of itching, proper skin and coat care. Once the disease (if any) is gone, it’s time to use a healthy pet formula.
My several decades of experience helped me create a healthy pet formula that I follow everywhere! To fulfill this formula I use Tauro Pro Line skin and coat care products and Nature’s Protection Superior Care food.
The formula looks like this: 80% nutrition +20% daily care
The most reliable way not to make a mistake with the choice of diet is to choose the right food for your pet. It should be a high-quality balanced diet, which includes all the elements that are necessary for the health of the pet. I recommend Nature’s Protection Superior Care food with the highest quality Norwegian salmon or White Fish and krill. It is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, helping to keep the pet's skin nourished from the inside.
For bathing, I use Tauro Pro Line grooming products that are 97% natural and suitable for sensitive skin which is a perfect solution for dandruff. I use these products according to a special 3-step system:
1st step is for CLEANING. The first washing with a cleaning shampoo. In 1 step the aim is to wash the coat throughout, clean the dirt or sebum, and previous grooming products.
2nd step is for FUNCTION. The second washing with a functional shampoo to get the desired result. You can choose moisturizing, nourishing, volumizing, or repairing shampoo. This step fills up the skin and fur with useful ingredients.
3rd step is for FIXATION. It's the last phase where we use conditioner or mask to capture the result and get a long-lasting effect. This step closes hair scales and leaves the coat smooth and healthy, ready for drying and combing. In this step, enrich the conditioner with Calming Elixir No.3. This combination will soothe irritated skin and relieve your pet from itching. This elixir can be also applied directly on the skin if necessary.