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Causes of Dog Dandruff

What is Dog Dandruff

Man’s best friend. Your loyal companion through the best of times and the worst of times. But when you think of your loving canine, did you really believe that dandruff would be the worst of times you would suffer through together? Just as human beings are susceptible to dandruff, our faithful counterparts can also fall prey to this annoying and uncomfortable nuisance. Dandruff is made up of dead skin cells that clump together demonstrate themselves as white flakes on your dog’s once beautiful coat.

Signs of Dog Dandruff

So how do you know if your dog suffers from pesky dandruff or just needs to bathe more, or possibly less, regularly? The following are four simple questions you might ask yourself when investing whether or not your dog has dandruff:

  • Have you noticed white flakes on your canine’s coat?
  • Are they constantly scratching?
  • Have you seen any thinning or bald patches of fur?
  • Have you observed any unexplainable scabs, bumps, or pimples on their skin?

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you may have yourself a case of dog dandruff. Also, pay special attention when you brush or bathe your pooch if they have a lighter coat since dandruff is far more noticeable on darker coated canines.


So you answered yes to one of the questions above and are starting to accept the fact that your dog has dandruff, make sure you take a closer look to make sure it is not moving. That’s right, there is a skin condition known as Cheyletiella, or walking dandruff. Cheyletiella are mites that can live on dogs, cats, or even people and they are fairly easy to spot. Take comfort in the fact that a usual flea treatment should get rid of them. Make sure you check and treat all other animals in the house and if you develop an itchy rash after handling your infected pet, speak to your doctor right away because you may have also contracted those terrible moving mites.

Dog Breeds Prone to Dandruff

While all dog breeds are susceptible to dandruff, some are more prone to this condition than others. Check out the chart below to see a list of some of the most common breeds affected by these pesky white flakes.

Large Dandruff-Prone Dog Breed Small Dandruff-Prone Dog Breed
English and Irish Setters Schnauzers
Retrievers Pugs
Poodles Cairn Terriers
Bulldogs West Highland Terriers
German Shepherds Cocker Spaniels
Dalmatians Scottish Terriers
Pit Bull Terriers Fox Terriers

Causes of Dog Dandruff

As is the case with humans, dog dandruff can be the result of an array of factors in your canine’s health and lifestyle.

  • Allergies: Typical allergens include certain foods, dust and pollens, or household cleaners. Reactions can be topical or can affect areas that have not been touched and often cause increased irritation and itchiness.
  • Poor diet: If your pooch is not drinking enough water or getting enough vitamins, minerals, or fats in his food then his skin will most assuredly suffer. Dandruff could be one of a several outcomes to a poor diet.
  • Fungal Skin Infections/Bacteria: An underlying skin condition could affect your dog’s whole body.
  • Cheyletiella: Walking dandruff can really make life miserable for your canine because these mites make themselves comfortable in your pet’s coat and skin while they lay their eggs.
  • Low Humidity: Living in especially dry areas may strip your dog’s skin of its natural moisture, which will cause him to scratch frequently and worsen an already existing skin condition.

Treatment for Dog Dandruff

  • Dandruff Shampoo: Certain dandruff shampoos are designed specifically for pets in order to help prevent and eliminate dander. Their active ingredients commonly include sulfur, iodine, or salicylic acid. Do not use dandruff shampoos designed for humans because it will be too harsh on your dog’s skin and coat. We recommend GNC Pets Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Nature’s Specialties Tar and Sulfur Pet Shampoo, or Nature’s Specialties Derma-Dyme (Use this shampoo if you notice any scabs, sores, or bumps).
  • Oatmeal: Bathing in oatmeal often helps relieve itching and rid your pet of their pesky dandruff. Try I love my Dog Oatmeal and Neem Shampoo or Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal and Aloe.
  • Bathing: Regular baths will wash away the dandruff before it has a chance to accumulate on your pet’s skin or coat. Use warm water and a mild shampoo once a month in winter months or twice a month during summer months.
  • Improved Diet: Switching to a high-quality brand of pet food Choose one with plenty of healthy fats, investing in nutritional supplements (such as Cod Liver Oil or Coconut Oil), or trying out the Wild Dog Diet are all ways to improve your dog’s health.
  • Daily Brushing: Brushing your dog once a day will help distribute their natural oils and will message the skin, which promotes healthy oil production. (Dog brush?)
  • Seek Expertise: If the above methods don’t seem to be working, make sure you consult with your veterinarian to see if there are specific allergens to avoid for your beloved pooch.