Fighting with our pet’s dandruff


Photos courtesy of N'

Dogs after treatment for dandruff. Photos courtesy of N’, do visit them if your dog is experiencing problems with dandruff.


Dandruff. Itch. The very thought of it makes one itch all over. If we  itch, imagine how irritating dandruff is to the skin of our little animal friends.

Dandruff is definitely skin ailment that certainly results in a not so desirable appearance and sometimes, unbearable frustration. Resulting hair loss, of course, makes the victim of it worse for wear.

Our pets suffer from the effects of dandruff too. Spotting its symptoms, knowing its causes and finding ways of treating it can help pets and consequently, their owners.

What is dandruff, exactly?

Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells. It happens to us and to our pets. It is not to be confused with simple, dry skin.

Daily, especially in dry weather, a little shedding of skin is quite normal. Excessive shedding accompanied by other symptoms is dandruff.

Signs of dandruff in our pets

Both dogs and cats can become victims of these dreaded flakes. Our pets have quite a bit of hair, so dandruff can be a little difficult to spot without a little observation.

Still, there are some quite obvious signs when a pet has contracted it.

Flaky, scaly skin

Flaky, scaly skin in cats and dogs can be attributed to dandruff. These flakes will make their way to our sofas and beds, so when we see lots of them, check your pet’s skin and consult a vet.

Itching/red/irritated skin

Dandruff causes itchiness and irritation on the human scalp. itches in pets are not only attributed to fleas. Pets can suffer from the effects of dandruff in the same way too.


Skin irritations will definitely lead to scratching. If your pet does this excessively, check its skin for either fleas or in this case, dandruff. The pet might also start swatting and scratching its face.


A pet with very bad dandruff might have its nose assailed and start sneezing.

Increased thirst

Dry skin is a major cause of dandruff, resulting sometimes from a lack of hydration. If a pet suddenly starts needing a lot of water and has flaky skin as well, it could very well be suffering from dandruff.

Bumps and scabs.

A pet with dandruff might develop small bumps on the skin, the causes of which will be elaborated on. It may have scabs on the skin as well.


Dandruff is a perfectly normal condition that is fairly easy to treat. In pets, it can be associated with a number of ailments or as you will find, insects!


Yes, insects are a cause of dandruff. Cheyietiella are microscopic mites that live and lay eggs on a dog or cat’s skin. They cause extreme itching or flakiness. Dandruff caused by these mites is also known as “walking dandruff” mainly because of skin flaking to the ground as the pet walks around.

These mites also lead to the scratching of the nose and face mentioned earlier. They may even crawl up a pet’s nose and cause it to sneeze.

Chronic dandruff with very excessive flaking is likely because of such parasites. If such mites are the cause, a vet will best advise on the medication needed.

Skin allergies

If a pet’s skin is prone to certain allergies, it may suffer from scaly skin, flakiness and resulting scabs.

A veterinary examination will establish what it is the pet is allergic to.

Fungal infections/bacteria

Fungal infections may be accompanied by dandruff. If it is an inherent skin condition, it may affect the whole body instead of specific areas.

Poor diet

Certain types of canned food for pets may not satisfy the dietary nutrients that a pet requires, causing unwanted skin conditions like dandruff. An imbalance of fats, vitamins and minerals can be the culprit that causes skin irritation.


We get chapped lips when it is dry, and animals may have dry skin too. Low humidity strips a pet’s skin of the moisture that it needs.

Dogs with dandruff 1

The same dogs, with dandruff. Photos courtesy of N’

Suggestions for treatment

If the pet shows symptoms of having dandruff, there is no need to fear. A few things can be done to reduce his discomfort.

Practice good hygiene.

Pests or mites make their presence felt when our pets interact with grass and dirt, so regular baths are important to ensure that these do not have the chance to make pets their homes. Regular brushing will also help rid your dog of mites and prevent fungal allergies from developing.

A word of caution that in cold weather, bathing should be only  once or twice a month. Shampoos may cause further dryness.

Use the right shampoo.

Pet health and pet care can be more costly, at times, than our own. A grooming procedure for them sometimes costs more than a simple haircut does for us.

It can be tempting to just use our shampoo or even liquid soap to bathe our pets because it is not as expensive. One should avoid doing so because the animal’s skin might not react so well with the chemicals used.

Get a shampoo specifically for dogs or cats.

Oatmeal baths can also help to rid the pet of dandruff.

Change the pet’s diet.

A diet with a healthy amount of good fat, such as Omegas 3 and 6, is good for your pets. Try to get pet food that is high in that and not just bacon grease.

Supplements, if possible, should be given as a complement to a regular diet, but these can be rather expensive.

Dandruff is a nuisance but with a few steps in the right direction, can be gotten rid of!

Michelle's Signature



14 Replies to “Fighting with our pet’s dandruff”

    1. Oh, I understand completely, Lianda, they certainly take a lot of work and have some attached problems! Thanks for sharing!

  1. Great information, We have found some really great shampoo's, but Humphrey has always found that right after a bath mud or dirt helps his fur! Thanks for sharing!

Do say hello!