If your dog has been especially itchy this winter, it could be a sign of dog dandruff (or seborrhetic dermatitis). Just like in humans, winter can be a tough time for a dog’s skin because of the low humidity in the air, especially in breeds that are more susceptible to dandruff.
What Is Dog Dandruff?
Dandruff is a skin disorder that causes itchy, flaky, red skin. It often affects a dog’s back, face and sides. At Animal Clinic of Woodruff, we see a lot of dogs with dandruff.
Common signs of dog dandruff include:
- Whitish scales left behind on their sleeping areas
- An odor to the skin
- Itching or discomfort
- Hair loss
What Causes Dog Dandruff?
Any type of dog can get canine dandruff, but certain breeds like Terriers, Hounds, Spaniels, Labs and Retrievers are more susceptible to cases of dandruff. Dog’s have glands that produce an oil called sebum. This oil helps keep your dog’s skin moisturized, but when those glands produce too much sebum, an imbalance sets in and dandruff can occur. There are two kinds of seborrhetic dermatitis:
- Oily seborrhea
- Dry seborrhea
Your dog can have one, both, or some combination of the two.
Treatments for Dog Dandruff
If your dog has moderate to severe symptoms, we recommend bringing your dog into Animal Clinic of Woodruff first for an evaluation, as there are many possible underlying issues that could be going on, and each has its own treatment protocol. Usually, dandruff is a secondary symptom of another underlying condition or a skin problem. Those issues could include allergies, a skin infection, an immune-related disease or endocrine disorders.
If your dog has a mild case of dandruff, then there are a few home remedies that you can try.
- Keep your dog’s coat brushed. When you brush your dog’s coat regularly, you distribute the natural oils in your dog’s skin that help lubricate and massage his skin. This can help calm the surface of the skin. Make this a normal part of your dog’s routine.
- Add a humidifier to their home. Just like in humans, the colder, drier months can take a toll on a dog’s skin. Keep a humidifier running, especially where your dog sleeps. Increasing the moisture in the air increases the moisture on your dog’s skin, which can in turn calm or prevent dandruff.
- Wash with dog anti-dandruff shampoo. Have you heard of the benefits of oatmeal baths for humans (especially little ones)? The same benefits go for your pet’s bath, especially when dandruff is an issue. Find a dog shampoo that has soothing oatmeal or other anti-dandruff ingredients. These shampoos help to soothe, moisturize and calm your dog’s skin. (Don’t use human shampoos, as the pH is different and can make the situation worse.)
- Consider changing your dog’s diet. First, be sure you’re feeding your dog healthy food made for dogs. And don’t change up their diet too much without consulting a veterinarian first. If our team at Animal Clinic of Woodruff has diagnosed your dog with food allergies, then you’ll want to make sure to select a dog food that avoids that ingredient. Simply removing that trigger food from your dog’s diet can have a big impact on his overall comfort when it comes to dandruff. Plus, choosing a dog food filled with the right nutrients also promotes healthy skin and fur. It’s a “win-win” all around for your dog!
These simple changes can have a big impact on your dog’s comfort when a mild case of dandruff sets in. If your dog seems to have a moderate to severe case of dandruff, then don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with us at Animal Clinic of Woodruff. We’ll assess the issue and create a treatment plan that’s just right for your dog.