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What’s causing my dog’s dandruff?

 by bora on 20 Nov 2019 |
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Dandruff isn’t always a case of dry skin in dogs. From fungal infections to allergies and disease, Fido’s flaky skin can be a symptom of more serious problems.

Dogs with dandruff often display symptoms from itching, licking and scabbing to balding and thick or calloused skin. Alongside his dry or oily flakes, these are symptoms of inflammation and it is important to understand their cause to treat the condition effectively.

Dandruff can be a red flag that Fido is experiencing some serious inflammation and one common culprit is allergies. Whether he’s reacting to something in his diet or the surrounding environment, your pet’s flaky skin is a telltale sign that something is awry. If you suspect your pet’s dandruff is caused by his diet, talking to your veterinarian about a special diet is the best way to improve his skin condition. If, after eliminating high-risk ingredients such as wheat, corn, soy, rice and beet pulp, his skin improves, you should continue following the diet to ensure Fido stays healthy. Environmental allergens such as dust, pollen or mold are more difficult to treat, but can be improved by several measures. Give your dog more frequent baths with a soothing shampoo to remove irritants from his skin and reduce allergens in the home by vacuuming weekly, keeping windows closed, and washing your dog’s bedding regularly.

If allergies are not the source of Fido’s flaky skin, fungal or bacterial infections may be the culprit. These infections irritate the skin, causing it to dry out and shed excessively. Some endocrine disorders such as Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also cause dandruff, as does infection by parasites. Other common medical causes of dandruff in dogs include mites, which cause Cheyletiellosis or “walking dandruff” and requires weekly treatments with a mite-eradicating dip to treat. If you suspect any of these are the source of your pet’s dandruff, take him to the veterinarian for an examination to diagnose the problem.

Of course, dandruff is often just a symptom of dry skin, especially during the winter months. Be sure to bathe and groom your pet more frequently when dandruff is present to keep him clean, remove potential contaminants and stimulate oil production in his skin. You may also consider giving your companion supplements such as fish oil, zinc and vitamins A and E to nurture his skin and immune system. Even stress can lead to dandruff, so do your best to minimize changes in your dog’s life and eliminate anxiety-inducing events. You can shop for pet oils or sprays that help replenish fluid in your dog’s dry skin and even invest in a humidifier to keep Fido’s skin supple during the dry winter months.


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