How to Get Rid Of Dog Dandruff
Dog dandruff can be a real issue among pet owners. Some cannot stand watching their beloved canines scratch furiously. The itch can be unbearable. Most, however, are bothered by the small flakes of dead skin cells on their pet’s coat. In some cases, the animal’s skin can turn reddish or emit a foul odor. In any case, getting rid of dog dandruff is critical if you want your dog to retain the optimum health of its skin. Treating canine seborrhea – the medical term for dog dandruff – requires understanding of the different causes. We’ll look at two fundamental treatment options to help manage dandruff in your canine friend.
Veterinary Approaches to Canine Seborrhea
If you notice your dog to have signs other than flaky skin, then it is a must that you bring it to your veterinarian to have a more thorough examination. For instance, if your dog cannot stop scratching a certain part of its body, it often warrants a more careful evaluation since it could be a sign of allergies. If the dandruff also comes with a nasty odor emanating from the animal’s skin, then there might be fungal or bacterial colonization. And if you observe unusual redness on your pet’s skin, then there must be an inflammatory condition behind the dandruff. The point is that a veterinarian can help get rid of dog dandruff by treating the cause. Here are some of the ways in which vets can get rid of canine seborrhea.
Anti-allergy Medications or Diet Modification
One of the most common causes of dandruff in dogs is environmental allergies. However, it is also not unusual that the seborrhea is due to food allergies. The dog’s immune system becomes hypersensitive to the presence of certain molecules that are otherwise harmless. The cells of the immune system mount an inflammatory response to get rid of these “allergens”. One of the effects of these inflammatory processes is the rapid cleavage of corneocytes from the outer layers of the dog’s skin. As they peel off, your dog will get dandruff.
If the cause is food allergy, then your vet may recommend a limited ingredient diet to test your pet’s allergic responses. The idea is to provide non-allergenic pet food that contains as few ingredients as possible. It is also critical that the ingredients are novel proteins and healthy carbs. This is to help minimize triggering an allergic reaction. If the animal’s dandruff subsides with the change in diet, then you’ve confirmed that it’s food allergy-related. The vet can then recommend the gradual introduction of other ingredients to help zero in on the food item that’s causing the allergy.
If the cause of the dandruff is environmental allergens, then there are medications that can help minimize the symptoms associated with dandruff.
Topical Antiseptics or Oral Antibiotics
Another potential cause of canine seborrhea is bacterial or fungal colonization. The parody here is that these microorganisms are not pathogenic in the real sense. However, because of a break in the dog’s skin, it is possible that these microorganisms enter a region where they are not supposed to go.
Scratching can create a break in the skin where these microorganisms can enter. When yeast or bacteria enter the deeper layers of the skin, they also trigger an inflammatory response. This can lead to the faster removal of superficial skin layers.
Veterinarians will try to take a sample of the tissues in the affected area. This is to help identify the microorganisms that are causing the inflammation and infection. This also helps pave the way for the determination of a more appropriate antimicrobial agent. In most cases, vets can give pet owners topical antiseptics they can apply over their dog’s skin.
There are certain immune-mediated disorders that can also produce canine seborrhea. An example is sebaceous adenitis. What happens in this condition is that the cells of the dog’s immune system attack and destroy the animal’s sebaceous or oil glands. The resulting inflammation leads to the destruction of these glands, favoring the drying of the superficial skin layers above them.
Treating an immune-mediated disorder is very tricky. Vets have to both tame the immune system and address the symptoms at the same time. Suppressing the immune system will stop its cells from further attacking and destroying still-healthy sebaceous glands.
Unfortunately, suppressing the immune system also exposes the dog to opportunistic infections. That is why vets have to strike a balance between suppressing the immune system and maintaining optimal immune function.
Medications for Endocrine Disorders
One possible cause of dandruff in dogs is hypothyroidism. This is a very common endocrine disease in certain breeds of dogs. For example, low levels of thyroid hormones are common among Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Doberman Pinschers.
Another endocrine disorder that can lead to canine seborrhea is Cushing’s disease. What happens is that there is an overproduction of steroid hormones, leading to flare-ups in the skin. Dog breeds that are more prone to Cushing’s disease include German Shepherds, Poodles, Dachshunds, and Yorkshire Terriers.
Treating these endocrine disorders takes time and different medications. Thyroid hormone replacement is often necessary in dogs with hypothyroidism. For canines with Cushing’s disease, they are often given oral medications that will reduce the levels of steroid hormones in the body.
Home Remedies for Dog Dandruff
For minor dog dandruff, there are proven ways to get rid of this nuisance without having to see the vet. When we say “minor”, we mean the only symptom you see is the characteristic dry flakes on the dog’s coat. There may be occasional itching, but not severe enough to inconvenience your pet. Regardless, it’s still best to check with your veterinarian.
Consider Changing Your Pet’s Dog Food
As mentioned, one of the possible culprits for dog dandruff is food allergies. Try changing your pet’s food with a high-quality dog food. It is essential to talk to your vet about the kind of diet that can help address dandruff in your dog. As much as possible, all dogs require a balanced and nutritionally-sound diet. Institute an elimination diet to help identify the possible food allergen. You will need a limited ingredient diet for this. If the change in diet eliminates the dandruff, then you can reintroduce one additional ingredient at a time.
Grooming doesn’t only make your pet look nice and more presentable. It also helps prevent dandruff by removing dead skin cells before they have the chance to fall off on their own. Brushing also has the added benefit of distributing the oils that the sebaceous glands produce. This can help prevent excessive drying of your dog’s skin. As much as possible, brush your dog’s coat every day. If you have a shorthaired pet, then once a week brushing is enough.
Bathing with Pet Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
It is true that you should not bathe your canine friend every week. This can strip its skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness. Depending on the state of your dog’s skin health, bathing longhaired breeds once every 2 to 3 weeks is ideal. For shorthaired canines, once every 2 to 3 months is sufficient; unless needed. In bathing your pet dog, you may want to use an anti-dandruff shampoo formulated for pets. Those that contain oatmeal are perfect for managing the itchy sensation that can accompany dandruff.
Minimize Canine Stress
Stress can cause skin flare-ups or trigger inflammatory processes. If you noticed your dog to have an unusual bout of dandruff during stressful situations, then you’ll know that its seborrhea is stress-related. Give your dog a relaxing massage. Unfortunately, this is only a short-term solution. What you need is a pet behaviorist or a dog trainer to help your canine friend work through its anxiety or whatever it is that’s giving it stress.
In addition to a change in your dog’s diet, you may also want to give it omega-3 fatty acid supplements. These are substances that can help improve the health and integrity of pet skin and coat. It can also help improve the immune system response so that it will not unnecessarily mount an inflammatory response. If you are not keen on giving supplements to your pet hound, then maybe you should pick a dog food that already contains omega-3 fatty acids. There are plenty of pet food products that put fish oil in their ingredients. This is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Humidify the Home
If there is not enough moisture in the air, this can exacerbate the canine seborrhea. The dog’s skin will become drier, predisposing it to more frequent bouts of dandruff. Check the humidity levels in your home, especially in the area where the pet often stays or sleeps. If you must, then you need to put a humidifier in this area to help keep the moisture levels at their optimum. This will help soothe the animal’s skin while also preventing dandruff outbreaks.
Getting rid of dog seborrhea starts with a careful examination by a vet. This is to help rule out a medical cause for the dandruff and to determine the most appropriate treatment. Home remedies can help, too.