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Dog Dandruff: Everything you need to know

Shetland Sheepdog running on a trail during the sunset

Every pet owner has brushed their dog and wondered where did all this dandruff come from and what can I do to make their coat shiny and smooth again. While many times this is just dry skin there are also underlying medical conditions that can cause dandruff on your dog. This article will answer all your questions that you may have about dog dandruff and what treatment options are available to help your pet's coat get back to its naturally healthy and shiny state.

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is dry flaky skin that we see on our dog. The flakes are dry skin cells that are flaking off your dog. There are many reasons that your dog may have dry flaky skin. Some of the causes of dry skin are due to an underlying condition and some can be due to a drier season of the year.

Is there such a thing as dog dandruff?

German Shepherd laying in a field of grass

Dog dandruff is commonly seen in veterinary practices. This is seen more in dry aired areas or when the air outside is drier than normal. The dry weather will dry out your dog’s skin just like it does with your own skin. While not all dog dandruff is a bad thing, there are some disease that can cause your dog's dandruff. Seeking veterinary care for your dog if they are experiencing dandruff to make sure that your dog is not suffering from a more severe disease.

What causes dandruff in dogs?

While just dry skin may cause dandruff. This can easily be corrected with a supplement. There may also be an underlying medical condition that can cause your pet to have dry skin. Diseases such as Cushing disease and thyroid disease can cause dry skin. There are also skin conditions such as ringworm, bacterial or fungal infection or mites that can cause your pet to have dandruff. If your pet has dry skin seeking veterinary care for bloodwork to rule out any underlying conditions causing the dry skin.

Some pets can have flaky skin for other reason such as seasonal allergies or food allergies. The weather outside can also affect your dog’s skin. If you live in a dry climate your dog may have dandruff more often than a dog that lives in a very humid environment. A veterinarian can help you rule out any possible causes for your dog’s dandruff.

Should you be worried?

Australian cattle dog in the mountains

If your pet has a medical condition causing the dry skin, these conditions can be easily treated with daily medication. Dry skin is not a critical disease that can endanger your dog’s life. If your dog has dandruff seeking veterinary care for your pet is the best to make sure that there is nothing medically causing the dry skin. Your veterinarian can help you figure out the cause of dandruff and what can be done to help treat the disease.

What are the symptoms

While most of the symptoms of dog dandruff are pretty obvious some can be not easy to detect that your dog is suffering from a skin disease. Most dogs with dandruff you will see the white flakes in their fur. They will be itching or licking their arms, legs, and backend. If they have a bacterial or fungal infection to their skin, you will notice a smell. Hair loss is a common secondary condition of dandruff. If you see any of these conditions you along with your local veterinarian can help your pet have a healthy and shiny coat.


Terrier chewing at their leg in the grass

There are many different treatment options for your dog’s dandruff. If your dog has an underlying disease causing dandruff, then medication will be prescribed for the treatment. If the dandruff is just due to dry skin, there are many holistic options that you can give your pet to help them have a shiny coat.

Dog Dandruff Shampoo

There are shampoos that can help decrease the amount of dandruff that your pet has. These shampoos contain oatmeal and other oils to help repair the skin layer. You should only bathe your dog about once a week. If you bathe them more often their coat will dry out and you will see more dandruff.


Diet is another thing that can help with your pets’ skin. Keeping your pet on a good quality dog food will help them with a shiny healthy coat. Most dog foods contain Omega 3's. Making sure that your pet's food contains Omega 3's will help make sure they get the added benefits of this wonderful supplement.

Holistic options

Healthy looking border collie in tall grass

Omega 3 is a common supplement used for dry flaky skin in dogs. This can be added to your dog’s food. There are many different forms of Omega 3’s available that can be added to your pets’ diet.

Coconut oil

This is a great supplement to give to your pets to help with their dry flaky skin. This can be given on their food or can be massaged into the fur during bath time. Coconut helps repair the skin layer which will also help make the skin more resistant to bacteria and fungus in the skin layer.



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Fish oil

The Omega 3’s in the fish oil act as an anti-inflammatory agent decreasing the immune response and help repair the natural skin barrier. Fish oils are a great supplement to give to your dog for dandruff. These come as a chewy treat or as an oil that you can add to your pet’s food.



From $24.99

While a dog with dandruff can be somewhat concerning and can be difficult to treat. Once your pets skin disease is under control keeping them on a skin supplement high in Omega 3’s will help keep your pet from developing skin disease in the future. Prevention of skin disease is way easier than treating the problems. Most skin problems do not show up until they are at a very advanced stage.

For More SitStay Works Check Out

Dog Dandruff And How To Help It By Sara Ochoa

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