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How to Treat Dog Dandruff

Updated on March 8, 2012

Humans are not the only ones exhibiting unsightly snow flakes on their heads. Rather, dogs will join in as well, even though they may care less about having a few flakes here and there on their coats. While all it takes in humans is to use a special shampoo, dogs may require different treatments even though the causes of dandruff remain basically the same,

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff consists of dead skin cells. While these dead skin cells pile up on the scalp in humans, dogs tend to develop them on their whole bodies. In dogs, dandruff is much more relevant because they do not take a bath or shower as frequently as humans and because of the large areas that may covered in flakes.

What Causes Dandruff?

Dogs may develop dandruff for several reasons. Typically, dogs in the winter develop dry, flaky skin which may be also itchy at times because of the lack of humidity. Some dogs develop dandruff more than others because they may lack some important oils in their skin. Others simply develop dandruff because they lack hygiene, they are not bathed or brushed as frequently as they are supposed to. Some dogs are a combination of all the above.

What is the Treatment for Dandruff in Dogs?

There are various things owners may do from the comfort of their home to help their dog's skin become less flaky. Here are a few tips:

-Up the Humidity

This applies mostlyin the winter, when homes become dry from the heat. Investing in a good humidifier may be helpful to your dog's coat but also to your whole family.


When you brush your dog you not only help his coat look much better, but you also stimulate the production of oil and help distribute it evenly on your dog's coat.

- Invest in Fatty Acids

Fatty acids may work very well when dealing with dry, flaky skin. There are several fatty acid supplements available in pet stores or over the Internet. Some dog foods are also supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids. Read the labels carefully.


Baths in cool water may be helpful but do not overdo it. Usually ever two weeks should be sufficient. Too many baths may strip away the dog's natural oils in the skin making problems worse. Use a good dog shampoo.

-Oatmeal shampoos

Oatmeal shampoos help lock in natural oils while soothing dry, irritate and itchy skin. Some great oatmeal shampoos can be found in pet stores. Adding some colloidal oatmeal such as Aveeno to the water in the bathtub may also help make a difference.

-Prescription Shampoos

If your veterinarian finds your dog with a severe case of dandruff, he may prescribe some special products made specially for dogs.

Dandruff is certainly annoying to deal with, especially if you own a dog that is dark brown or black. Even though dandruff is not harmful, should your dog's skin not improve, it is a good idea to report to a veterinarian so to exclude other medical conditions and initiate a proper treatment plan.

Fatty Acids are Key to a Shiny Coat


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    • carolinemoon profile image

      carolinemoon 6 years ago

      I had never thought of dogs having dandruff. THanks for the info


    • C.Ferreira profile image

      C.Ferreira 9 years ago from Rutland, VT

      Helpful Hub! I would think that every 2 weeks for a bath is a bit much. Many experts recommend about 6 weeks between baths! Thanks for the info though!