Dandruff In Dogs And Cats: It Can Be Beaten
If your pet has dandruff, you likely want to know what you can do about it. In this article you’ll learn about what causes dandruff in our dogs and cats, and that it’s much the same as people. More importantly you’ll find exactly what you can do at home to finally stop dandruff in your pet.
Small amounts of dandruff are normal, but when you start to see mountains of white dead flaky skin on your pet’s coat, then you need to do something about it. Skin cells are continuously formed, so the shedding of these old cells is completely normal. When you are seeing mountains of white, the dead skin cells are shedding at a faster rate than normal. Then the normal oil in your pets coat causes the dead skin cells to clump together and show up as white flakes.
In pets with dandruff, old skin cells are rapidly dying, often due to another underlying disease. The most common cause of dandruff in dogs and cats is an underlying allergy, such as atopy (inhalant allergy) or food allergy. Other potential causes include nutritional deficiency or metabolic disease (low thyroid production).
Oatmeal based shampoos, such as Aveeno, are effective in decreasing itchiness and removing flakes. Another option is a pet dandruff shampoo that contains salicylic acid. Lather it on well and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing it off. This can be done weekly if needed.
Moisturizing of the skin is essential. Following a shampoo, help keep the skin supple by adding a conditioner. There are specific pet conditioning shampoos or you can use a lotion designed for moisturizing people skin.
Treat the secondary infections. Commonly dogs that have dandruff have secondary skin infections from bacteria and yeast. Rinsing their coats with undiluted vinegar will kill a number of the organisms. Vinegar is especially effective in killing yeast, and I have used a 50:50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to treat dandruff and yeast.
Consider changing your pet’s diet. Diet plays a huge role in overall skin health. Put your pet on a high quality premium food – you will probably see an immediate decrease in dandruff. Some pets respond better to the more natural foods, such as Innova or California Natural. Give the new food a 4 week trial period to see if it works.
Fatty acids are essential. For dogs, the best source is ground flax seed or flax oil – give 1 tsp per cup of dog food of ground flax, or 1000 mg of flax oil per 10 lbs of body weight daily. For cats, the liquid oil form is the only option, either flax or fish oil. The cat dose is 500 mg twice daily.
Dandruff as irritating as it is, is a normal body process. If it is in excess though, you do need to be looking at the underlying causes, and consider treating it. Start with some of the correct shampoos, and then go to treating the secondary problems such as allergy with the right dose and type of essential fatty acids. Take heart for dandruff can be beaten.
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