What Causes Dandruff in Dogs, How Is It Treated?

Dog Health

Dog owners have definitely seen dandruff on their dog’s back or on their favorite bed for a while. Dog dandruff may be a temporary condition or may indicate a different health problem. When this situation does not bother your dog, it is enough to wait for the dandruff to pass. However, the constant appearance of dandruff and itching of the dog is an indication that there is a different situation in the skin health of the dog. In this article, you can find detailed information about the causes of dandruff in dogs and the measures that can be taken against dandruff.

itchy dog

How Does Dandruff Occur in Dogs?

“What causes dandruff in dogs?” We know the answer to the question very clearly. Because dandruff in dog hair occurs exactly the same way as in humans. Dead skin cells cling to the hair as they fall out. While dandruff is seen in the hair in humans, it occurs in the back area of ​​dogs. Intense dandruff is seen especially in the beginning of the tail. It is also normal to see dandruff in places where your dog likes to lie down and sit. The scientific name for dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. The dog’s skin has sebaceous glands that produce sebum, the oil that keeps the skin moist and supple. When these glands produce excessive amounts of sebum, an imbalance occurs in the skin. There are two different types of seborrheic dermatitis, namely dry seborrhea sicca and oily seborrhea oleosa. Both types are seen in dogs.

combed dog

Factors Causing Dandruff

Dandruff on the skin of dogs occurs due to many different reasons. Dandruff can occur in all dogs, regardless of breed. One of the causes of dandruff is genetic. It is especially seen in Cocker Spaniel, West Highland Terrier and Basset hounds. In Golden Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Yorkshire Terrier species, dandruff is seen due to ichthyosis, which is characterized by flaking of the skin, that is, fish scale disease. However, in general, dandruff occurs due to environmental and various health factors.

Dry Air

Just like human skin, dog skin remains dry, especially in the winter months when the air is drier. Moreover, some air conditioning methods we use, such as air conditioning or natural gas, cause the air to dry out even more, leading to more dandruff. If you only see dandruff in your dog during the winter months, the primary reason is that the air is dry.


Cheyletiella mites are large enough to be seen with the naked eye and are quite similar in appearance to dandruff. Lice can live on your dog’s skin and coat along with other types of external parasites such as fleas, demodex and sarcoptes mites. Cheyletiella mites cause your dogs to itch constantly.

Obesity and Nutrition

With an unbalanced and inadequate diet, your dog may be staying away from the foods necessary for skin and coat health. You need to make sure that your dog is fed a high quality and balanced diet. Fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 play an important role in skin health. Some dogs can be given these fatty acids as a supplement. You can view supplements containing Omega-3 and Omaga-6 that dogs can safely consume by clicking here. However, you should consult your veterinarian before giving such additional support to your dog. Obesity can cause very serious health problems in dogs. Poor skin health is just the tip of the iceberg.

Skin Infections

Bacterial and fungal infections on the skin cause dandruff. There may be an infection under the dandruff problem in the puppy. Bacteria or fungi can cause secondary infection with your dog’s skin health worsening for other reasons. It doesn’t matter which dandruff or infection is seen first. Your dog’s skin needs treatment to be healthy again.


Food allergies and other environmental allergies cause skin problems in dogs. Dogs affected by allergies experience excessive itching at certain times of the year. In addition, with chronic ear and skin infections, behavioral changes such as constant paw licking occur. Dandruff often occurs as a symptom of allergies.

Hormone Balance

Diseases that affect the hormone balance, such as thyroid insufficiency, known as hypothyroidism, or Cushing’s disease, also cause changes in the dog’s skin health. A weakened immune system makes the dog more prone to secondary infections.

Idiopathic Seborrhea

Sometimes the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis cannot be determined. In such cases, dandruff is considered idiopathic seborrhea. In dogs with dandruff of unknown cause, treatment is usually directed towards alleviating the symptoms.

dog with colored eyes examined by veterinarian

When should a veterinarian be consulted?

As soon as you experience the awareness of “My dog ​​has dandruff”, it is not something to be afraid of. It is very normal to have mild dandruff from time to time. However, when you notice symptoms such as itching with dandruff, a different smell on the skin, excessive dandruff, hair loss, red skin or other signs of disease, you should take your dog to the veterinarian for examination. The treatment for dandruff in dogs varies according to the symptoms seen in the dog and the underlying cause of the dandruff. In addition to a physical examination, various other tests, such as a blood test, may be required to fully understand the cause of dandruff.

dog taking a bath

How to Manage Dandruff in Dogs?

The resolution of dandruff in dogs varies depending on how severe the condition is. There are measures that can be taken to reduce the severity of dandruff at home. In this way, you can control your dog’s dandruff problem and make him more comfortable.


Regular combing is very important in terms of skin and coat health in dogs. It is also very useful in controlling the dandruff problem. By combing your dog’s hair, you can prevent excess oil from accumulating in certain areas and spread it all over the body. When you see dandruff in your dog, it is very useful to comb it every day. Especially for long-haired dogs, spraying a little water with the spray helps to make combing easier. You can view the products you can use to scan dogs by clicking here.


Bathing is very important in dandruff that develops due to bacterial or fungal infection. After diagnosing the infection, the veterinarian may recommend a shampoo for treatment. When using medical shampoo, it is necessary to follow the recommendations of the veterinarian or the instructions for use on the shampoo. Some shampoos need to sit on the hairs for a few minutes before rinsing off to be beneficial. In addition, it is important that the frequency of the dog’s bath is determined by the veterinarian in this process. Bathing your dog too often can dry out the skin, leading to more dandruff and other problems. Regardless of the type of shampoo you use, you should make sure that your dog is adequately rinsed and that no shampoo buildup is left in his coat. Shampoo residues can cause irritation on unhealthy skin.

Food Support

In dandruff caused by malnutrition, veterinarians may recommend Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid supplementation. You have to be careful which support you use. Food supplements are not inspected in depth like drugs. You can proceed with the advice of your veterinarian in this regard.

Healthy eating

The poor quality of the food your dog eats can negatively affect skin and coat health, leading to dandruff problem. You should choose foods that fully meet your dog’s daily needs. You can view the dog food types customized according to the general health status and life stages of dogs by clicking here.

Air Humidifier Usage

Using an air humidifier in very dry winter months provides significant benefits for both you and your dog. The steam emitted by the humidifier helps the dog to be more comfortable by moisturizing its skin and eliminates itching.

Cause Management

In order to control or treat dandruff, it is necessary to know the underlying causes. Antibiotic treatment, steroid or immunosuppressant treatment may be beneficial in bacterial or fungal infections. In addition, allergy testing may be required in cases where allergy is suspected. When dandruff is diagnosed correctly, your dog’s skin will regain its former health with the treatment methods to be applied. Along with this, the dandruff problem also disappears.

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