Dandruff in dogs
Dogs like to keep themselves clean, so if you notice your dog has dandruff (dry, flaky skin) it could be a sign of a problem. There are many possible causes for dry skin and fortunately, most will improve with the correct treatment. Contact your vet for an appointment if you notice your dog has dandruff.
Dry flaky skin explained
Skin cells are always dying, shedding off and being replaced by new healthy cells. Your dog will make sure their coat stays clean and ‘dandruff-free’ by grooming the dead cells away.
Dry, flaky skin tends to be a sign of a problem, either an illness, a skin problem or a lack of grooming. As well as indicating a problem, dandruff is likely to make your dog itchy and uncomfortable.
Keep an eye out for other skin issues such as hair loss, red skin or a greasy or smelly coat – these could give your vet clues about the cause.
Dogs will often start to look a little bit unkempt, develop a greasy coat and dandruff if they are feeling poorly.
If your dog is in pain, they are likely to spend less time grooming.
Skin infections due to bacteria, yeast or fungus (such as ringworm) usually cause flaky skin.
Mites and lice
Parasites such as mites and lice can cause very itchy, flaky skin.
Fleas cause itchy skin, scratching is likely to cause dandruff.
Allergic skin disease
Hormone problems such as hypothyroidism or Cushings disease often affect the skin.
Immune system problems
Autoimmune skin disease such as pemphigus causes scaly skin.
Published: January 2019
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst