Dog Dandruff Explained

Dog dandruff is a completely normal condition that is typically easy to treat. Your dog's dander builds up over time and can flake off onto carpets, furniture and other surfaces in the home. Read on for a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments for dog dandruff.

Causes and Symptoms of Dog Dandruff

Dandruff buildup happens naturally in dogs. The body sheds skin cells as it replaces them, and these tend to build up on the surface of the skin. At a certain point, these skin cells will fall off the body. This is typically when people notice their pet's dandruff. Symptoms of excessive dog dandruff include the following:

  • Frequent scratching
  • Dandruff visible in excessive quantities on furniture and other surfaces in the home
  • Irritated or scaly skin

If you notice any of these symptoms, your pet may be experiencing excessive dandruff. In most cases, this does not require a veterinary visit, and the condition can be treated at home.

Treating Dog Dandruff

Most dogs that suffer from excessive dandruff will experience a dramatic improvement in symptoms if brushed and bathed frequently. Brush your dog with a firm but gentle brush each day. As you brush his fur, examine his skin for signs of excessive dandruff or scaly skin. Bathing your pet frequently will help to reduce his visible dandruff. Use a canine-approved shampoo, available at most pet stores and veterinary offices. Bathing your dog about once per week is ideal for maximum dandruff control.

If your pet's dandruff persists even in spite of brushing and bathing, make sure that his skin is adequately moisturized. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that your pet is drinking enough water. Always have water available for him, and encourage him to drink water while playing or walking. Insufficient water consumption can lead to dehydration and dandruff, among other symptoms. You may want to purchase a moisturizing ointment or cream, particularly if your pet experiences dandruff in a localized area. Olive oil and vegetable oil will work, as will moisturizing creams available in pet stores.

When Dog Dandruff Is a Sign of a More Serious Condition

If these treatment methods are still insufficient to address your pet's dandruff, it may be that your dog has a flea or mite infestation. These parasites live on your pet's skin and can cause excessive dandruff, among other things. If you are concerned about this possibility, take your pet to a veterinarian for further examination. Your pet's dandruff issue will not be resolved until you eradicate the parasites, and the easiest way to eliminate fleas and mites is through veterinarian-prescribed medicine treatments.

In most cases, you can help to eliminate dog dandruff with a little extra attention to his hygiene. However, persistent and chronic dandruff issues can indicate an underlying condition or parasite. If your pet's dandruff does not improve or worsens over time, take him to a veterinarian for an exam.