If your scalp starts to get a little flaky, you might switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo. But what do you do when your dog’s coat becomes covered in white flakes?
Dog dandruff is a reality that many dog owners face, but few know what to do with. While in some cases dog dandruff might be a temporary problem, it is often due to an underlying issue such as skin allergies or seborrhea. Flaky skin is often accompanied by dryness, itching, and irritation but bathing your dog with dog anti dandruff shampoo can help resolve all of these symptoms and more.
While dandruff may not cause your dog the kind of embarrassment you suffer from the same problem, it can make him itchy and uncomfortable. Keep reading to learn more about dandruff and dry skin in dogs and to see our top picks for the best dog dandruff shampoo.
8 Reasons Why Dogs Have Dandruff Issues
Many dogs have dry skin, but if it is mild enough, it might not cause an issue other than occasional itching. If you find your hands (and clothing) covered in flakes every time you brush or pet your dog, however, it could be more of a concern. But what is dandruff in dogs and what causes it?
Here are some of the most common causes for dandruff in dogs:
- Bacterial skin infections
- Fungal skin infections
- Endocrine disorders
- External parasites
- Poor diet
- Environmental factors
Canine seborrhea is a skin condition that comes in two types. Oily seborrhea causes the dog’s skin to exude a greasy, waxy substance that builds up around the ears, belly, armpits, and elbows and causes an unpleasant odor. Dry seborrhea causes the skin to become dry and flaky, leading to dandruff. In some cases, seborrhea is an inherited skin condition, but it can also be related to allergies, endocrine disorders, dietary deficiencies, parasites, and autoimmune disease.
Another common cause of dandruff in dogs is infection. Bacterial skin infections are known as pyoderma and can cause severe itching as well as flakiness. These infections may also lead to redness, inflammation, crusted skin, lesions, and hair loss. Fungal infections are often caused by an overgrowth of yeast which can lead to dry, itchy skin. If these conditions are allowed to worsen, they can spread and become systemic which may make your dog very sick.
Endocrine disorders like Cushing’s disease are sometimes to blame for dog dandruff. Cushing’s disease is also known as hyperadrenocorticism, and it leads to an imbalance of hormones that can affect your dog’s skin and coat condition. Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid gland which can also cause your dog’s skin to become dry and flaky. External parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites also have the potential to irritate your dog’s skin, causing it to become itchy which may then lead to flakiness.
In some cases, dog dandruff is related to dietary deficiencies or environmental factors. There are two primary dietary concerns when it comes to dog dandruff: moisture and fat. Your dog needs plenty of water in his diet to keep his skin hydrated and healthy as well as healthy fats. If your dog’s diet is too low in moisture or essential fatty acids, it may lead to dryness and dandruff.
In terms of environmental factors, things like low humidity can affect your dog’s skin. Dogs can also develop seasonal or contact allergies to things like dust, pollen, and mold which may manifest in the form of itchy skin and dandruff.
5 Things to Look for in a Good Dandruff Shampoo for Dogs
If your dog’s skin has become dry and itchy, you need a good shampoo to restore moisture and start the healing process. You also want to avoid any products that might make your dog’s dry skin worse – this means things like soap, detergents, alcohols, and artificial ingredients.
Here are five things to look for in a good dandruff shampoo for dogs:
- Natural Ingredients – When your dog’s skin is already dry and itchy, the last thing you want to do is irritate it further. Choose a dandruff dog shampoo made from natural ingredients with no harsh chemicals, soaps, or detergents that could dry out your dog’s skin even more.
- Moisturizers – The most important element in a dandruff shampoo for dogs is moisturizers. Some great natural moisturizers to look for include coconut oil, oatmeal, and aloe vera.
- pH-Balanced – Your dog’s skin has a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, so look for a dog shampoo that is pH balanced. Human skin has a different pH, so don’t just use human shampoo on your dog.
- Deodorizers – In cases where your dog’s dandruff and dry skin is caused by oily seborrhea or other skin infections, a shampoo that contains natural deodorizers might be a benefit.
- Medicated – When your dog’s dry skin is caused by an underlying medical condition, you may need a medicated shampoo. Antibacterial dog shampoo is good for bacterial skin infections while antifungal shampoo is best for yeast infections. You can also find medicated shampoos for seborrhea, allergies, and other conditions that may cause dandruff.
When your dog is suffering from dandruff, you need to talk to your vet to diagnose the underlying condition and then follow his recommendations for treatment. In addition, you may want to include a dandruff shampoo for dogs to help heal and restore your dog’s skin. Always talk to your veterinarian before using a new product or making changes to your dog’s diet just to be safe.
Best Dandruff Shampoos for Dogs
If your dog has dandruff, you need a dog anti dandruff shampoo that will restore the natural moisture in your dog’s skin. The best dog dandruff shampoo will contain soothing natural ingredients to relieve itching and dryness with conditioners to protect your dog’s coat. It should also be made from natural ingredients with no harsh or drying ingredients. Here is our top pick:
If you’re looking for the best dog shampoo for dry skin and dandruff, consider Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner. This 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner is made with soothing natural ingredients in a soap-free formula that will cleanse and hydrate your dog’s skin and coat. It features a coconut-based cleanser to gently clean your dog’s skin with natural moisturizers like aloe vera and botanical extracts. It contains wheat protein as a natural deodorizer as well, and it is gentle enough for regular use and safe for puppies.
Pros: Natural soap-free shampoo and conditioner, gentle coconut-based cleanser, natural deodorizer, soothes and hydrates skin and coat, natural moisturizers, pure botanical extracts, pleasant scent
Cons: Not medicated for infections, scent may be too strong for some
6 More Top Rated Dandruff Shampoos for Dogs
If the dog anti dandruff shampoo reviewed above isn’t quite the right fit for your dog, you have plenty more options to choose from. We’ve assembled a list of 6 more excellent options to consider:
If your dog’s dandruff is caused by seborrhea or a parasite infestation, this Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Shampoo might do the trick. This shampoo is designed to treat skin conditions like seborrhea, mange, dermatitis, and bacterial infections with the help of salicylic acid, coal tar, and micronized sulfur. It features oatmeal to restore skin’s natural moisture with other soothing ingredients to hydrate and promote healing. Plus, it is free from dyes, parabens, and soap.
For dog dandruff caused by allergies and dry skin, this Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Dog Shampoo is a great option. It features a soothing mixture of natural ingredients and salicylic acid to hydrate, restore, and heal the skin. This shampoo contains colloidal oatmeal and tea tree oil for moisture with vitamin B5 to improve skin’s condition. It works to moisturize the skin, soothes itching and irritation, and helps tighten and clear the pore. Plus, it is safe for puppies and won’t affect flea and tick control products.
When your dog’s dandruff is simply caused by dry skin or allergies, a natural moisturizing shampoo like EarthBath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Shampoo might be best. This soap-free shampoo features oatmeal and organic aloe vera to moisturize and hydrate the skin while also neutralizing odor. It helps heal the skin as well, plus it has a soothing vanilla and almond scent. This shampoo is 100% biodegradable and free from both phosphates and parabens so you can feel good about using it.
Dry, itchy skin is a common cause of scratching in dogs which can lead to dandruff. This Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E is specifically formulated to moisturize the dog’s skin, and it leaves a protective layer to relieve itching. This shampoo offers natural antifungal and antibacterial benefits as well as natural moisturizers like aloe vera to restore healthy skin and coat condition. It has a light vanilla scent to deodorize the coat, and it is suitable for dogs of all ages.
Seborrhea is a common cause of dandruff in dogs, and this Duoxo Seborrhea Dog Shampoo is just what you need to resolve it. This shampoo not only cleanses and hydrates your dog’s skin, but it also helps restore the skin’s natural barrier and regulates sebum production to keep the coat smooth and shiny. It doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients, and it works well for all types of seborrhea.
If you’re looking for an all-natural dog shampoo to resolve your dog’s dandruff, try this Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey. This 97% natural shampoo features colloidal oat flour to reduce itching and irritation while honey restores and regulates moisture balance in the skin. It is pH-balanced for dogs and works to deeply condition dry skin. You’ll also be glad to know that it is cruelty-free and contains no sulfates or artificial color either.
FAQ Regarding Dandruff Shampoos
- What causes dandruff on dogs?
Dandruff in dogs can be caused by a wide variety of things. One of the most common causes is a skin condition known as seborrhea which can be either oily or dry. Dandruff may also be related to bacterial or fungal skin infections as well as external parasites, endocrine disorders like Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, and environmental factors like low humidity. For chronic dry skin issues, a diet low in moisture or essential fatty acids may also be a factor.
- Can I use human shampoo on a dog?
While bathing your dog with human shampoo may not cause any immediate negative effects, it is not recommended. For one thing, your dog’s skin has a different pH than your own and using a shampoo that is not pH-balanced can cause irritation. Human shampoos also tend to be made with soaps and detergents which can dry out your dog’s skin as well as artificial fragrances and other chemicals which can cause a negative skin reaction.
- How do you get rid of dog dandruff fast?
The first step in dealing with your dog’s dandruff is to go to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Once you have identified the underlying cause of your dog’s dandruff, you can put a treatment plan into action. Along with any recommended medical treatment, you should increase the moisture content of your dog’s diet and consider adding a fish oil supplement. You may also want to bathe your dog with a moisturizing shampoo to restore the hydration in his skin and his coat.
The best dog shampoo for dry skin and dandruff will be made with natural ingredients to gently cleanse and restore moisture to your dog’s skin and coat. If you’re not sure where to start shopping, feel free to choose one of the options we’ve reviewed above. You can’t go wrong!