Does Your Pet Have Dandruff?
You read it correctly: Pet dandruff. Our loveable companions are just as susceptible as we are to those pesky, white flakes. Animals such as rodents, birds, dogs, cats, and other fury creatures are all susceptible to dandruff. The dead, dried-out skin cells that rest on your pet are typically the result of some type of allergic dermatitis, which when simply put means they are reacting to something that makes their skin dry, itchy, or scaly. Now, make sure you take a careful look so you don’t confuse dandruff with your pet’s normal shedding of dead skin cells, known as pet dander. It is interesting to note that it is pet dander’s microscopic flecks of skin that is shed by cats, dogs, and other furry animals that trigger allergies in humans, not the pet hair itself.
Now obviously your pet could care less about whether or not others see them with dandruff specks covering their beautiful coats. However, if left untreated dandruff may cause such discomfort for your pet that they scratch their skin raw, leaving them susceptible to the risk of infection. By scratching the surface of their skin your pet is destroying the natural defense that their skin provides. Scratching can break through all of the major layers of your pets skin, allowing the bacteria that normally rests on the top layer of skin to get underneath. This is what can lead to an infection or cause more itching, creating a never-ending vicious cycle. If you examine your pet’s coat for thinning or balding patches you can get a good indicator that dandruff may be to blame.
Top 5 Ways to Prevent and Treat Pet Dandruff
- Hydration In addition to dehydration, pets who do not drink enough water also tend to suffer from dry skin. On average, human beings are typically 60% water while dogs and cats are anywhere from 70% to 80% water. Clearly it is very important that both humans and pets drink plenty of water everyday to stay healthy and hydrated. Animals who are constantly lacking water are more prone to kidney diseases and a vareity of other illnesses. If your pet is not drinking enough water on their own, try adding some water to their food or making sure they are getting plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
- Diet You are what you eat has never been a more truer statement than it is with your pet. Pets need a certain amount of fat in their diet to maintain their supple skin and their shiny fur. Switching to a higher quality, holistic pet food with more Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids may be just what the doctor ordered.
- Oils Adding a fatty acid supplement to your pet’s diet, such as Kirkland Signature Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate or Omega 3,6,9 for Dogs and Cats, will help prevent dandruff in the first place. These Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids supplements will also help lubricate your pet’s joints, allowing them to move more easily.
- Moisturizers There are a number of moisturizing sprays and creams that can be applied to your pet’s skin after a good bath or combing. Combing is preferred over simply brushing because it will remove more of the dead fur that is just sitting on your pet’s skin. This will aide the air in reaching your pet’s skin and makes for a healthier coat. Combing also helps distribute your pet’s natural oils and message the skin. Moisturizing sprays and creams, such as Vet Best Moisture Mist Conditioner for Dogs and Colloidal Silver for Pets – Soothing Antifungal – Antibacterial Gel for a Wide Range of Skin Conditions, will help moisten their coat and can alleviate them from their dry, itchy skin.
- Dandruff Shampoos Once you have determined that dandruff is indeed the root of your pet’s discomfort, one of the best things you can do is to give your pet a bath with a medicated shampoo or conditioner. Shampoos that contain aloe or oatmeal are especially helpful, or there are even pet specific dandruff shampoos out there as well. We recommend SyngergyLabs VF Clinical Care Antiparasitic, Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo, DVM Pharmaceuticals Malaseb Pet Shampoo, or Earthbath All Natural Shampoo. And remember, the regular bathing of your pet can be most helpful in keeping their dandruff under control.
There you have it. Treating dandruff, or better yet preventing it in the first place, will help keep your pet at their happiest and healthiest.