Dog Dandruff: Causes and How to Get Rid of It

dog dandruff

If you’re a dog owner, you may have observed that your dog is suffering from a condition that seems uncomfortable and painful, prompting you to wonder, “Why does my dog have dandruff?”. While it’s easy to view dandruff in dogs as just a superficial problem, it could be indicative of more serious health issues. So, noticing any changes in your dog’s fur or behavior should prompt a consultation with a veterinarian.

To treat your dog’s dandruff, you’ll most likely need to employ a mix of proper grooming, washing with a specific dog shampoo, and even veterinarian therapy. In this article, we will discuss what causes dog dandruff and how to get rid of it.

What is Dandruff in Dogs?

Dog dandruff is such a prevalent condition, according to Dr. Christine Cain Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, because there are so many probable reasons.

Dandruff is one of the skin problems that is distinguished by the development of flakes of dead skin cells. Some skin conditions itchy skin, flaky skin, and skin sensitivity are common symptoms of dog dandruff. Dandruff in dogs can cause constant scratching, which can eventually lead to hair loss.

What are The Types of Dog Dandruff?

You must first determine the type of dandruff that your dog has.  Excessive skin flaking may afflict several dog breeds, most notably the Golden Retriever and Bulldog. This is already present at birth, although it may be so faint that it is not observed until adulthood.

The varieties of dandruff that your dog may have are listed here so that you can cure it and get rid of it as soon as possible.

Dry Skin

This is what most people imagine when they think of dog dandruff. The symptoms are generally related to dry skin, as it is a kind of dandruff that most dogs, even your own, may have at some point in their lives.

Walking Dandruff

This is a kind of mange that typically affects pups or dogs who are forced to live in filthy environments. The skin will also have dry, flaky dandruff, however, if you look closely, you can observe that the white flakes move.

A little mite infestation causes the disease. This mite spends its entire life on the fur of a hairy mammal. While the mites are microscopic, they may be seen with the naked eye or can take the form of little white flakes of skin that move.

Crusty Skin

This kind is not dandruff, but it may appear to be at first glance. These dogs’ skin is diseased, resulting in pimple-like lumps that break off and look like greasy dandruff.

Seborrhea, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a skin condition in which the skin’s sebaceous glands create an excessive quantity of sebum, resulting in scaly, flaky, itchy, and red skin. Seborrhea usually affects the back, cheeks, and flanks and is worst in skin folds.

What Causes Dandruff in Dogs

Seborrhea is the medical word for dandruff, and your veterinarian would most likely refer to it as such if you seek medical assistance. Although the terms dandruff and seborrhea are sometimes used interchangeably, they refer to the same condition.

Primary seborrhea, wherein your dog’s dandruff appears without any other reason, is extremely unusual and is assumed to be transmitted genetically. The following are some of the most prevalent causes of dog dandruff.

Dry skin

Dry skin is one of the most prevalent causes of dog dandruff. This can be caused by several circumstances, including low humidity, frequent bathing, or a diet deficient in critical fatty acids.

Dry skin problems may not seem like a huge matter, but they might be an indication of a far bigger problem in your dog, according to the American Kennel Club. Dry skin is a sign of a variety of illnesses, ranging from allergies and parasites to major medical problems such as Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism.


Dust mite and pollen allergies, as well as dietary allergies, can all cause the skin cells to react in your pets. Allergies cause dryness and itching on a pet’s skin. As a side consequence of allergies, superficial skin infections can occur.

To the untrained eye, an allergy-related skin illness might resemble dandruff. Skin infection and itching can cause more skin damage, resulting in even more dandruff.

Both environmental allergies and dog food allergies can cause your dog to develop dandruff. Allergic dermatitis is the medical term for this condition.


Fleas and mites can irritate the skin, leading to frequent scratching and dog dandruff. Cheyletiella mites thrive in congested environments and are easily transmitted from animal to mammal.

The flaky skin and peeling, leaving it bloated and irritating, and the movements of the mites may be apparent with just your eyes.

An infestation of the Cheyletiella mite can create itching and flaky skin. Walking dandruff is named for the movements of the flakes as the mites crawl underneath them.

Yeast infections

The fungus Malassezia pachydermatis causes yeast dermatitis or Malassezia dermatitis. It is a very prevalent cause of dog skin disease. This yeast is commonly present on the skin, but aberrant overgrowth can lead to dermatitis or skin irritation.

Hormonal Imbalance

Dry skin and canine dandruff can be caused by hormonal abnormalities such as an underactive thyroid gland.

Changes in your dog’s skin health might be caused by diseases like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. A weakened immune system makes him more susceptible to subsequent illnesses.

How to Get Rid of Dog Dandruff

Depending on the severity of the illness, you may be able to do dog dandruff treatment at your home. In many situations, pet dandruff is merely a sign of dry skin due to the environment or seasonal shedding.

In terms of origins, symptoms, and treatment procedures, canine dandruff is quite similar to human dandruff. With a few easy tweaks to your grooming regimen, you can avoid or eradicate this form of dandruff. Use these steps to help your dog’s irritated skin become healthy.

Regular Grooming

Frequent grooming, according to Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital, aids to maintain your dog’s coat healthy. Human grooming equipment might irritate your dog’s skin, so use a dog-specific brush or comb.

Brushing, scrubbing, and blow drying completely remove your dog’s skin and hair while also allowing air to circulate thru the coat. Brushing also aids in disseminating the natural oils in the pet’s coat.


Bathing your dog can help with seborrhea breakouts as well as bacterial and fungal illnesses.

Washing your dog with the right dog shampoos can aid in the treatment of dry skin and dandruff. Rinse vigorously to remove any residue that may irritate your dog’s skin.

Rinse completely after all baths, whether using medicated shampoos for a dandruff breakout or ordinary shampoo for maintenance grooming, since many shampoos can lead to hair loss if not rinsed out.

Improve Your Dog’s Diet

Giving your dog breeds a high-quality meal rich in essential fatty acids will assist to enhance your dog’s skin and coat health, lowering their chances of getting dandruff. See your veterinarian to determine the appropriate balanced diet for your dog.

Many dog owners like to offer their dogs raw meat diets, and although this might work well for certain dogs, there are some crucial factors to consider. Dr. Leigh Davidson, an experienced veterinarian, offers the following.

Choose human-grade meat since some pet and bone products include preservatives that are harmful to your dog’s health.

Maintain excellent dog food hygiene since the danger of contracting a food-borne infection including campylobacter or salmonella is significant for both you and your dog.

Let a veterinary nutritionist create a balanced diet routine for you. Many raw diets are not well balanced for the stage of life or medical issues.

Allergy Management

Working with your vet to do a skin biopsy to recognize and control allergens can help prevent dandruff and skin irritation and dandruff in your dog.

Antihistamines according to Mayo Clinic assist decrease itching, sneezing, and runny nose by reducing the synthesis of an immune system chemical that is active in allergic reactions. Azelastine and olopatadine are two prescription antihistamine nasal sprays.

Parasite Control

Frequent flea and tick prevention can help to decrease parasite-caused skin irritation and can also prevent dog dandruff. Anti-dandruff shampoo and the right chemicals can also assist in treating dandruff to eliminate fleas and ticks on contact, but they do not prevent re-infestation.

Topical and oral flea and tick medicines kill fleas and ticks on exposure for up to a month by spreading across your pet’s skin. Several of them also contain hormone growth regulators, which keep flea eggs and larvae from developing and growing.


Dogs normally need no less than one ounce of water each day for every pound weighed. If you are unclear if your dog is drinking enough, see your veterinarian for guidance on how to guarantee your dog gets enough fluids.

Buy a Humidifier

Dandruff can be exacerbated by changes in temperature and humidity. Dandruff is very frequent in the winter. This is because the air is dry, which creates a lack of humidity in your dog’s coat, hair, and skin.

Hence, if your dog’s dandruff worsens in cold weather, invest in a humidifier. This will moisten the air, which will aid in the removal of those annoying white flakes on your dog’s coat.


Why does my dog have dandruff?

Dandruff arises when your pet’s sebaceous glands create an excessive amount of an oil called sebum. This oil keeps your adorable pup’s skin moisturized and healthy. Whenever the sebaceous glands create too much oil, an imbalance occurs, resulting in dandruff.

Should I wash my dog if he has dandruff?

If your dog has dandruff, you should address it by bathing them more frequently. If the condition is severe, this might happen daily for the first week.  When dandruff has been removed, you can reduce it to twice a week, then once a week.

Should I be worried if my dog has dandruff?

Dandruff is normally not a reason for worry unless it is accompanied by additional symptoms, such as frequent dog scratching, or symptoms of a more severe underlying condition, such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease.

Final Thoughts

Dandruff in dogs can be caused by several causes, including unhealthy diet, allergies, parasites, and hormone abnormalities. Understanding the underlying cause of your dog’s dandruff is critical to properly addressing the condition.

You can help treat dog dandruff and enhance your dog’s general health and well-being by boosting your dog’s diet, managing allergies, controlling parasites, frequent grooming, and hydrating your dog. If you have any worries about your dog’s health or are unclear about how to manage its dandruff, speak with your veterinarian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *