Home remedies for dog dandruff may be something you are searching for if you noticed the presence of white flakes.
Just like humans, dogs can get dandruff too and it can become particularly visible as you groom your dog. And just as in humans, dog dandruff is composed by scales of dead skin and it's often an indication of dry skin.
Knowing what causes dandruff in your dog in the first place, can help you arm yourself with some good old home remedies, here are a few.
Firstly, Make Sure it's Really Dandruff!
I first learned about chelytiella mites when working at the vet's office. When dog owners made appointments for dog dandruff, we would ask dog owners to take a closer look to verify if the dandruff was by any chance moving.
Why? Because chelytiella is a type of mite that looks like dandruff. The similarity is so striking that these mites are often referred to as "walking dandruff."
If you notice walking dandruff, see your vet: chelytiella mites can be contagious to humans! Diagnosis is pretty easy, all that's needed is an easy test called a skin scraping.
As with many other skin conditions, it's always best to see your vet so to determine the underlying cause for the dandruff you are noticing.
Dandruff may be due to dry skin, but why is the skin dry in the first place?
Trying to rid your dog of dandruff when it's caused by an underlying skin problem such as an allergy or presence of parasites, won't likely get you anywhere if the underlying cause isn't addressed!
What's Behind those White Flakes?
OK, so let's say your vet confirms that what you are actually seeing is dandruff. You may now wonder whether there's anything you can do at home to reduce its appearance.
Understanding what dandruff truly is, and why it ultimately forms, will help you in your endeavor.
Turns out, dandruff is an abnormal scaling of different cells that stick together forming small sheets that linger on the skin's surface, explains board-certified veterinary dermatologist Ramón Almela in an article on Tufts University's website.
There are three main causes why dandruff occurs: genetic predisposition, dietary imbalances and underling medical conditions. Tackling this trifecta of issues is therefore key in resolving dandruff in dogs.
An Important Distinction
An important distinction to therefore make is whether the "flakes' are exfoliated keratinocytes, or skin cells, or crusts that are formed by dried serum or pus on the surface of the skin.
This latter can be indicative of a skin problem that requires a totally different treatment.
Additional signs of skin problems in dogs include presence of skin lesions such as bumps, pustules, comedones (dog blackheads), unusual odors, and red, irritated skin.
6 Home Remedies for Dandruff in Dogs
As seen, dandruff in dogs may occur for several reasons. Tackling the underlying reason is therefore important, and this is why you want to start with a vet visit. If your dog truly turns out having dandruff, you may find these home remedies helpful.
1) Increase the Humidity
Many times, doggy dandruff is mostly seen in the winter when we tend to crank up the heat and the home environment becomes quite dry.
This can lead to dry, itchy skin with scales of dandruff.
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If this is the case, cranking up those humidity levels by investing in a humidifier may turn helpful to your canine companion's skin and his beloved owners too!
2) Use The Right Shampoo
If your dog is itchy and his skin is dry with loads of visible scales, you may feel compelled to give him more frequent baths, in hopes of removing those unsightly flakes.
Turns out though that this may aggravate the problem, especially if you are using the wrong type of shampoo. Too frequent baths with the wrong type of shampoo risk stripping your dog's coat from natural oils that help prevent his skin from drying.
While you can bathe your dog as frequently as once a week to remove the unsightly scales, it is important that you use the right shampoo based on your dog's type of skin.
There are several types of medicated dog shampoo on the market nowadays crafted for taking care of dog dandruff. Just make sure to pick one that matches your dog's skin type (dry or oily).
Also, never use human anti-dandruff shampoos or conditioners considering that dogs have a different pH compared to humans and therefore their ingredients may be too harsh.
3) Give An Oatmeal Bath
If you want to try some home remedies for dog dandruff, you can't go wrong with an oatmeal bath.
Simply, use an oatmeal-based shampoo using lukewarm water. This can help gently remove the dandruff while not overly drying the dog's coat, points out board-certified veterinary dermatologist Dr. Laura Wilson in an article for DVM360.
4) Brush to Your Heart's Content
Brushing your dog doesn't only remove dead hairs; it can be a wonderful bonding experience and it allows you to inspect his coat.
On top of that, brushing help you distribute natural oils that help cut down the amount of dandruff.
Aim to brush your dog's coat once a day so to help keep his coat soft and shiny, suggests board-certified veterinary dermatologist Dr. Andrea Lam with Vet Derm Clinic.
Make sure you choose a brush that isn't too harsh and make the brushing experience pleasant with your dog by talking to your dog and rewarding him with healthy treats made for skin and coat.
5) Improve Your Dog's Diet
Dull, poor looking skin is often seen in dogs fed cheap, generic foods. These diets often fail to provide the entire range of vitamins and minerals your dog needs to look and feel wonderful.
Home-cooked diets may be lacking important vitamins and minerals too. According to researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, it was found that out of 200 diets only 10 met minimum essential nutrient intake recommendation.
According to Larsen, the author of the study, that's 95 percent of the recipes lacking at least one essential nutrients such as choline, vitamin D, zinc, or vitamin while 83 percent lacked multiple nutrients!
It is therefore important that you feed a dog a complete and balanced diet, and if you want to feed one that is home-made but healthy, make sure to consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to prevent deficiencies.
6) Add Healthy Supplements
To heal your dog's skin from the inside out, you can't go wrong with the addition of omega fatty acids.
These fats are known for helping maintain a healthy, shiny skin.
If your dog's food isn't already supplemented with healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, it's not a bad idea to ask your vet for advice on adding these skin healthy supplements.
Omega fatty acids nowadays can be found under the form of a liquid pump to pour over the food, gel capsules, flavored chewables or special diets that come enriched with them.