Dandruff in Cats and Dogs- The Ugly Truth
19 August, 2011
My sister’s cat had some flakiness in his fur and I realized it was dandruff! I did some research to find out what causes the dandruff and found that it is very common in dogs and some cats. Here are some ideas on how to recognize that your pet has dandruff and some thoughts/ideas on how to treat it.
The first sign of dandruff in your pet is if his or her coat contains flakes of dead skin that build up and shed constantly. You may notice your dog or cat’s fur thinning in certain areas and any visible skin will appear dry and dull. Dogs with dandruff often scratch, lick and bite at their skin, which can cause redness, scabs and bald patches. They may also develop bumps, pimples and skin infections as a result of frequently scratching and biting irritated areas.
While this is not something that will hurt your pet, it is ugly, uncomfortable and can even aggravate pet allergies in humans. There are ways to treat and prevent your pet’s dandruff, which will make your dog or cat’s coat healthy and shiny once again.
What causes this dandruff?
Dandruff in your pet is often causted by poor diet, which can result in a deficiency of vitamins and omega- 3 fatty acids that would nomrally keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Bathing your dog or cat too frequently or in water that is too hot can also cause dandruff and dryness.
Dandruff an occassionally be a symptom of other conditions that cause flaking and itching, such as fleas, mites, yeast infections or ringworm. If you think that your pet’s dandruff is caused by one of these conditons, consult a veterinarian.
How to Treat it
To treat your pet’s dandruff, feed it a high quality brand of food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, or give your dog or cat a vitamin supplement that is specifically formulated for them. A fish or flaxseed oil supplement will also benefit your pet’s dry skin. If the dandruff is severe, you can obtain a medicated shampoo from your veterinarian, which you will typically use on your pet every other day for 10 days until the dandruff subsides.
How to avoid pet dandruff
To try to prevent dandruff in your dog or cat, make sure to feed your pet a consistently healthy diet, and provide it with regular exercise. If you wash your dog or cat, you should never use our human shampoo as this can change the pH balance of your pet’s fur and aggravate dryness. You should try to brush your cat or dog’s coat regularly with a soft brush to ensure healthy skin regrowth and distribute natural oils evenly. Even if you feel your pet is otherwise healthy, regular checkups performed by your veterinarian can prevent dandruff altogether.