Some dandruff in your dog's fur is quite normal and can occur repeatedly in our furry friends over the course of their life. These can be short-term skin changes triggered by a change in weather, coat change or cell renewal. However, flaking can also get out of hand and become a permanent condition.
Dandruff in dogs is often caused by dry skin. As dry skin leads to itching, the dog scratches himself more often, causing flakes of skin to peel off and become visible in the fur. Dandruff can be recognized quickly in dogs, especially in dogs with dark fur. White or yellow flakes can either be local or cover your dog's entire fur.
However, frequent scratching can also cause germs and bacteria to get into the open areas, which may lead to inflammation and secondary infections in the animal. Depending on how advanced the dandruff is, other possible symptoms are hair loss, bald spots and scabs.
While white flakes are caused by dry skin, yellow flakes are an indication of excessive sebum production. The dog's fur then becomes covered with large areas of sticky yellow scales and is also very greasy.
Causes and treatment of dandruff in dogs
The short-term changes we described above can happen from time to time and should subside after a few days. Regular grooming of your dog's coat can also support cell renewal, promote blood circulation in the skin and remove dirt particles and dead skin cells.
Dandruff is particularly common in dogs during the cold season. Dry indoor air and frequent bathing can dry out the skin and damage the pH value and the natural fat layer of the skin. If your dog couldn’t resist a puddle or has rolled around in the mud, a bath can’t be avoided. We recommend our dog shampoo Sensitive for sensitive dog skin, which is adjusted to the pH value of the skin and does not degrease it.
However, dandruff in dogs can also indicate serious complaints and even illnesses:
Improper nutrition - too many or too few nutrients
One of the most common causes of dandruff in dogs is an improper or inappropriate diet. Undersupply or oversupply of nutrients lead to malnutrition, so that the body's reserves are being used up. As a result, the dog reacts with deficiency symptoms such as flaking, dry skin and itching. Lack of important vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids can make the dog sick in the long term.
Allergies, intolerances and food changes
Inappropriate diet also includes ingredients that can trigger allergies in dogs. Common symptoms of allergies or intolerance are itching and dandruff. In particular, grains, cereals, protein substitutes and preservatives are not healthy for your dog’s organism and can trigger reactions, which are then expressed in intolerance or allergies. We therefore always recommend purely natural food for dogs that is free from artificial additives and meets your dog's nutritional needs. If you would like to change your dog’s diet, make sure that the change does not happen too suddenly, because changing food can be exhausting for your dog’s body. Physical reactions such as diarrhoea, skin problems with dandruff or general malaise can result.
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis - congenital or acquired
Diseases like seborrhea can also trigger dandruff in dogs. A distinction must be made between primary and secondary seborrhea. While primary seborrhea is hereditary and causes symptoms in puppies, secondary seborrhea is acquired over the course of life. Excessive sebum production, greasy fur and yellow scales are typical symptoms of this disease. The causes can be other underlying issues such as inflammation in the body, allergies or hormonal disorders.
Mental health problems like anxiety and stress
Not infrequently, psychological problems such as stress or fear are also the trigger for increased scratching and flaking. Being under-challenged can also make the dog depressed. Your dog may react with extreme nibbling and licking of body parts and tries to reduce the stress that arises from too little movement and variety. In addition to boredom, excessive demands can also lead to mental disorders in dogs. Every dog owner needs to find their individual middle ground that does justice to their dog.
Does your dog have dandruff and the flakes can still be found in the coat after a few days or have they even increased? Then you should definitely speak to your veterinarian or veterinary practitioner to get a diagnosis based on skin exams, possibly blood tests and behavioural analysis.
Causes of dandruff at a glance
- Bad diet - insufficient supply or oversupply of nutrients
- Allergies and intolerances
- Change of coat
- Parasite infestation
- Mental health problems
- A disturbed gastrointestinal environment
- Dry heating air
- Frequent bathing - resulting in a disturbed pH value
- Conditions like seborrhea
- Nutrients for a healthy coat and vital skin
If illnesses have been ruled out, you can restore skin and fur with nutritional adjustment. If your dog has dandruff, the following food supplements can help:
Brewer's yeast: This natural product is known for its high vitamin B content and the positive effects on skin and coat. Brewer's yeast is obtained from beer sludge, the waste product in beer production. The yeast cultures act on the gastrointestinal tract and provide important microorganisms for the structure of the intestine. As a side effect, brewer's yeast contributes to a shiny coat and vital skin for dogs.
Salmon oil for dogs contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids that support the dog's natural metabolism. The fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are present in the cell membrane and contribute to the elasticity and fluidity of the membranes. Salmon oil is also popular as a dietary supplement in humans. As an alternative, you can offer your dog salmon oil capsules.
Coconut oil for dogs has also proven valuable in food supplements and for grooming. It contains the important lauric acid, a fatty acid that is present in coconut oil up to 53%. The medium-chain fatty acid is important for the energy metabolism and the immune system.
Propolis: the natural bee product is used by insects as a building material to seal the beehive. It protects against germs and promotes wound healing. Dogs that scratch themselves often should also be offered propolis powder. It strengthens the immune system and maintains healthy skin.
Other proven food supplements for healthy skin and a vital coat are hemp oil, linseed oil and seaweed meal. If you are not sure which supplements are suitable for your dog, simply contact our competent service team consisting of veterinary practitioners, animal nutrition experts and veterinarians.
No need to panic if your dog has dandruff. Some flakes in the fur are completely natural and are simply part of cell renewal and fur growth. However, if the dandruff is long-lasting, other causes may be present. Basic illnesses, poor nutrition or even psychological stress can lead to increased scratching and dandruff. If this is the case, visit your veterinarian to determine the exact cause. In addition, you can use natural food supplements to provide your dog’s skin and coat with valuable vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.