dog taking a bath

So your cat has the flakes, and your dog leaves a snowy trail behind him. This frustrating fur faux pas can be corrected with a few simple adjustments to lifestyle and grooming practices. Begin by correctly diagnosing the causes for dandruff in your pet, by visiting the vet to confirm what may be ailing your animal. They will advise you on ways to correct the issue, and help your cat or dog regain their healthy dander-free coat. Below are some healthful and helpful tips to banish the dandruff, and keep your furry friend as clean as a whistle.

Pet Dandruff Remedies

Supplements: Dandruff is often an external symptom of an internal problem.   Most pets with heavy dander are severely dehydrated, or lack important oils in their diet. By supplying fish oils to their food, the dog or cat’s skin will properly metabolize fats in the skin tissue from the inside out.
Some pet parents have found the problem of dander to diminish entirely, by simply reintroducing these healthy oils into the diet. When you give the dog or cat daily supplements of Fish oils, Omega-3s, phosphorus supplements, or Vitamin E oil, you will begin to notice how effective supplements are in improving the condition of the pet’s fur and skin.

Diet Change: Unfortunately, many of the mainstream cat food and dog food companies manufacture products with harmful ingredients that deteriorate an animal’s health rather than fortify it. By consuming food with high fat, sugar, carbohydrate and “additive” content, your pet is likely not receiving the balanced diet he needs to fight off health problems. Change the palate by providing a raw diet , or hypoallergenic products, and natural oil-rich foods like fish and salmon for your dog or cat. (For cats and dogs with diabetes, this diet change ought to also be accompanied by daily injections of insulin.)

Humidifier: In many regions, the winter months prove dry and warm indoors, while the summer months are sweltering outside. In these fluctuating temperatures, pets can suffer from the arid climate causing their skin to flake from dryness and dehydration. Use a humidifier near where your pet sleeps at night, to soothe his skin with the extra moisture.

Brushing & Daily Wipe Down: If the cat fails to groom himself, and the dandruff is continually evident on your dog, then you will have to act as the daily groomer. Though pets should be brushed every day, consider adding an extra wipe-down to the regime. By using a rubbing a cleansing over your pet’s fur, you will help remove any extra dead skin flakes or grime that was brought to the surface.

Pet Oil Spray: These light oils can be sprayed on a dog or cat’s coat just after you bathe them. The oil will help hold in the moisture from the bath and will nourish both the skin’s surface as well as the animal’s coat. Oil sprays can be found at most pet stores, grooming spas, or ordered online.

Hypoallergenic Shampoo:
Switch out the typical product you have used for washing your cat or dog, and opt for something a little less intense. Hypoallergenic shampoos use natural oils and gentle products (instead of artificial colors and perfumes) to moisturize and calm the skin. Your pet may not end up smelling like delicious green apples, but his skin will be much healthier.

Medicated Shampoos:
Applying medicated shampoo is a good way to tackle serious dander issues in your pet. If the hypoallergenic approach does not seem to be effective, employ strong antifungal shampoos with coal tar, salicylate, and ketoconazole to help fight whatever is causing the flakiness. Some products use more natural antibacterial oils like tea tree oil, oatmeal, zinc to limit dander.

Regular professional grooming: If you are too busy to attend to your canine or feline companion, take your pet out for a day at the “beauty parlor” and get the works! Treat your pal to a hypoallergenic shampoo, an oil rub, etc. to help ease the dandruff. But be sure to steer clear of the pet blow-dry, since you want to avoid stripping the skin of moisture.

Medications: For animals that have dandruff due to other disease, medical attention is necessary. For example, to address diabetes, daily insulin injections are required; whereas topical ointments and medications will treat issues such as ringworm and parasites. Antiparasite treatments can be used to kill mites and fleas on the animal, other pets, as well as the bed clothes and furniture in a house.
Another alternative to deal with ringworm is to give your cat lime/sulfur dips to help eliminate the bacterial growth. For severe skin allergies, some vets prescribe oral antihistamine medication to alleviate skin agitation.

Natural Home Remedies (Just look in your cupboard!)

lime on a tree

Lime juice can guard against infections and bacteria.

  • Lime Juice: Like the vinegar wash, applying lime juice invigorates the skin and combats infection or bacteria that may be festering on the surface. By rinsing your pet’s skin with lime juice mixed water, it will naturally guard him from dandruff due to growing fungi or bacteria.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Wash: Vinegar has been a favorite home remedy to treat skin ailments from rashes, to sunburns, to dryness and skin infections. Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective natural cleaning products that neutralizes bacteria without stripping the skin’s natural oils. Some pet parents recommend diluting the vinegar with equal parts of water before rubbing it into your pet’s coat. Others suggest daily using ½ a cup of the vinegar and massaging it into the coat until the fur is dry, then rinsing the pet with warm water.
  • Boiled Beet Bath: By boiling beets (stalks and all) in a large pot of water, you will extract plenty anti-inflammatory nutrients that will help heal the dryness of over-washed or under nourished skin.
  • Oatmeal Bath: The pet shampoo market has numerous products that feature oatmeal as a moisturizing element to dog shampoo. For your next puppy bath, exchange the official products, and let your dog soak in a tepid bath filled with natural whole oatmeal to calm his skin irritation.
  • Olive Oil (or Coconut Oil) Rub: Help replenish the hydration of your pet’s skin by massaging olive oil or coconut oil directly into his coat. Do this daily, followed by a rinse with warm water to witness the dander disappear. Other pet owners recommend filling a bath with both oatmeal AND olive oil, to let the oil evenly and naturally soak into his coat. (This treatment can also be accomplished with flaxseed oil, or vitamin E oil.)