Dandruff in Cats and Dogs- Not Pretty but Can be Treated
9 January, 2013

My friend, Lucy, has a cat that had some flakiness in his fur and I realized it was dandruff!  As in humans, dandruff in pets is treatable and not a big health issue.  Dandruff in pets won’t hurt your pet; however, 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.  Below are some ideas on how to recognize if your cat or dog has dandruff and some thoughts/ideas on how to treat it.

Symptoms of Dandruff

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.



Dandruff in your cat or dog is sometimes caused by a poor diet that is deficient in vitamins, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, which normally 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.  Sometimes your dog or cat can pick up a mite or allergy from the outdoors or other pets which can cause dandruff.


Dandruff can occasionally be a symptom of other conditions that cause flaking and itching, such as fleas, mites, mange, yeast infections or ringworm. If you suspect that your pet’s dandruff is caused by one of these more serious conditions, please take your pet to the vet for a check up and treatment.


To treat your cat or dog’s dandruff, try feeing your pet a high quality cat or dog food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, or give your pet a vitamin supplement specially formulated for dandruff. A fish or flaxseed oil supplement will also benefit your pet’s dry skin. If the dandruff is severe, you can get a medicated shampoo from your veterinarian that you will typically use on your cat or dog until the dandruff subsides.   Your veterinarian will prescribe the exact dose.


To try to prevent dandruff in your dog or cat, make sure to feed your pet a consistently healthy diet and regular exercise.  If you wash your dog or cat, you should never use shampoo for humans as this can change the pH balance of your pet’s fur and aggravate dryness.

Brush your cat or dog’s coat regularly with a soft brush to ensure healthy skin re-growth and distribute natural oils evenly. Even if you feel your pet is otherwise healthy, regular checkups by your veterinarian can prevent dandruff altogether.    

Come and join all of the other dogs and cats:


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