Does Your Dog Have Dandruff? Here’s How to Fix It

Dog itching itself

Do flakes fly when you scratch your pooch? Just like humans, dogs can experience the discomfort (and unsightliness) of itchy, flaky dandruff. Officially known as seborrheic dermatitis, pet dandruff occurs when the sebaceous glands in your dog’s skin produce too much sebum. There are two forms of doggie dandruff: dry seborrhea and oily seborrhea. Dogs typically have a combination of both.

What Causes Pet Dandruff?

Breeds such as cocker spaniels, West Highland white terriers, and basset hounds are prone to primary seborrhea—which means it’s inherited. Most cases of pet dandruff are caused by underlying medical conditions or external irritants, such as:

Dandruff Diagnostics

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we can uncover the cause of your dog’s dandruff and create an effective treatment plan to restore his or her skin to perfect health. We’ll begin with a physical examination, and possibly recommend one of the following diagnostics to pinpoint the exact cause of your pet’s dandruff:

  • Bloodwork to screen for underlying medical conditions 
  • Skin cytology, culture, and/or biopsy (to identify bacteria, yeast, or fungus)
  • Skin scrapings and/or hair removal to check for parasites 
  • Allergy testing
  • Hormone testing to look for endocrine disorders such hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease 

Putting an End to the Itching

Having itchy, irritated skin can significantly impact your pet’s health. Depending on the severity and cause of your dog’s dandruff, you may be able to treat it with simple home remedies, including:

  • Regular grooming
  • Supplemental omega-3 fatty acids
  • Adding humidifiers to your home
  • Bathing your dog in an anti-dandruff shampoo made just for dogs
  • Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet

If a medical condition is to blame, your veterinarian at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates can outline an effective course of treatment that may include topical or oral medications, or a combination of the two, such as: 

  • Allergy medications 
  • Topical antiseptics for skin infections
  • Oral medications for inflammation
  • Medications commonly used to treat hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease
  • Antibiotics if bacterial infection is present
  • Antifungals 
  • Steroids and/or immunosuppressants for disorders impacting your dog’s immune system

Preserving your pet’s health is important to us. Please contact us if your dog has itchy, irritated skin or excessive amounts of dandruff.