Dandruff in dogs
When a dog gets covered with dandruff, the owner immediately has two questions: why and how to get rid of it. The owner can eliminate most of the causes on his own, but in some cases treatment will be required. What factors cause dandruff in dogs, what can be done, and how to prevent it? About this – further in the article.
What is dandruff and how it may look
Dandruff is dead particles of the epidermis. Normally, they are formed in small amounts due to natural aging and death of skin cells. If their formation accelerates, and the number increases significantly (which can be seen with the naked eye), they talk about dandruff.
The particles may resemble flour or flakes; they may be dry or "wet", stick together into lumps. The location of the scales on the dog's body is also different: they can cover the body completely, be located in separate places – on the ears, tail, stomach, and so on. In addition, they differ in color shade: often there are not only white, but also black, pinkish, yellow and other particles of the epidermis. In any case, the appearance of dandruff on the pet gives it an untidy appearance and requires an immediate search for the cause.
Why does dandruff appear in dogs
There are many causes of dandruff in dogs. Among the most common are the following.
- Violations in the diet. Low–quality food, high content of dyes and preservatives in pet food, the predominance of one type of food in the diet for a long period of time, food poor in vitamins and minerals and many other mistakes are the most common factor leading to dandruff.
- Incorrect combing. The brush for the dog should correspond to the characteristics of the coat (length, density), sensitivity of the animal's skin, body size. Otherwise, there may be damage to the epidermis and a response in the form of abundant peeling of the scales.
- Parasites. Both external parasites (ticks, fleas) and internal ones can lead to the abundant appearance of dandruff. In the latter case, the detachment of skin particles is provoked by an allergic reaction to intoxication.
- Dry air. Basically, this applies to dogs living in an apartment, and is related to heating. Excessively dry air, temperature changes (street – house) lead to desiccation of the skin of the animal, which disrupts the processes of cellular renewal.
- Mistakes in care. This item includes the use of human shampoos for washing the dog, too frequent bathing, abuse of products intended for exhibition display (for example, varnishes, gels) and other improper actions of the owner. As a result, the pet's skin becomes dry, flakes off, dandruff occurs.
- Molt. The formation of dandruff on the back often accompanies the molting of the dog. When this period ends, the skin regeneration process is also restored.
- Fungal infections. A fungus can lead to abundant exfoliation of skin scales. More often, fungal diseases affect dogs that have a folded body surface.
- Stress. Nervous stress disrupts metabolic processes throughout the dog's body, including in the processes of skin renewal. At the same time, a stressful situation can be provoked by any phenomenon: the departure of the owner, a change of residence, a rearrangement in the house, fright, and so on.
- Age features. In puppies, dandruff can be caused by the final processes of the formation of the epidermis. In puppyhood, the formation of nerve endings and reflexes, the formation of the activity of the sebaceous glands still continues (and ends).
- Allergy. It can arise for anything: food, substances, hygiene products, other pets, and so on.
- Internal diseases. Metabolic disorders caused by hormonal failure, malignant tumors, bacterial and viral diseases are often the cause of dandruff in dogs.
Attention: due to the large number of factors leading to the formation of dandruff, first of all it is necessary to exclude diseases and parasites. Before taking independent actions, you need to go to the clinic and conduct an examination of the dog.
Dandruff and other symptoms
Dandruff in dogs can occur "by itself", and may be accompanied by other symptoms that help to suggest the cause of the violation. For example, the floury appearance of dandruff with a dull coat often indicates dry skin, its insufficient hydration and nutrition.
Clumped particles of the epidermis, yellowish or gray shade "hint" at skin disease, pathology of the sebaceous glands or hormonal imbalance. Among the additional symptoms: unpleasant smell, "dirty", greasy appearance of wool, the presence of bald spots, itchy areas. The dog becomes restless, often itches, which leads to the appearance of scratching, the addition of a secondary infection.
Abundant dandruff accompanied by baldness is evidence of an infectious skin disease (fungus), a lack of vitamin C and Zn in the body, disorders in the sebaceous glands, endocrine pathologies. For example, hair loss and abundant exfoliation of the epidermis at the tail may be a sign of blockage of the anal glands.
Sometimes the owner can detect "dandruff" of black color. In fact, these are droplets of blood or clogged sebaceous glands on the dog's body, indicating an incorrect pet combing technique or violations in the activity of the endocrine and sebaceous glands.
If dandruff appears yellowish, you may suspect seborrhea. The pinkish color of the scales may indicate the development of skin inflammation and peeling of its pieces.
Methods of diagnosis of dandruff in dogs
First of all, the specialist will find out why the dog has dandruff. To do this, the doctor will need the following information:
- concomitant symptoms;
- presence/absence of chronic or recently transferred acute diseases;
- localization of dandruff and its intensity;
- general condition of the dog (apathy or activity, thirst, excess weight);
- features of nutrition and living conditions of the animal.
The necessary examination will depend on the intended diagnosis. For example, if a specialist suspects a violation of the functions of the thyroid gland, he will prescribe a blood test for hormones, and in the case of skin infections, a scraping of the epidermis.
Treatment of dandruff in dogs
The treatment of dandruff in four-legged friends is symptomatic and is necessarily accompanied by the elimination of the factor that caused it. All manipulations are aimed at alleviating the dog's condition: eliminating itching, reducing the rate of formation and the number of scales, normalizing metabolic processes in the skin and body, increasing immunity, restoring the pH of the skin, and so on. The key to success is an integrated approach – in addition to treating the underlying disease (if it occurs), prescribe drugs that eliminate the symptoms of dandruff, therapeutic shampoos, and folk remedies.
To eliminate itching, clean the dog's skin from dandruff, veterinarians recommend using shampoos containing salicylic acid, tar, sulfur. To get rid of parasites, means are used, which include the appropriate components. The following shampoos have gained the greatest popularity.
- Lactaderm. It has antiseptic and exfoliating properties. Gently moisturizes the skin and promotes the restoration of the upper layer of the epidermis and normal microflora. It has a deodorizing effect.
- Tropicline. Eliminates itching, has a soothing effect on irritated skin. It is effective against insect parasite bites, leading to their death. Softens the stratum corneum of the epidermis, restores the moisture level in the skin and hair.
- Doctor. Effectively removes dead skin particles and sebaceous gland secretions from the dog's body. Eliminates itching, reduces the amount of sebaceous secretions, has an anti-inflammatory and anti-seborrheic effect. Shampoo Doctor is successfully used for fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, and also increases the effectiveness of other external antimicrobials.
Simultaneously with shampoos, the use of external and / or internal medicinal preparations is indicated. For example, if the dog is very itchy, then the doctor may prescribe steroid remedies that relieve inflammation. When detecting external parasites, it is possible to use such means as Stronghold (drops), Frontline (spray). For the restoration of hair in dogs, the biological drug Nucleopeptide is recommended, as well as a French-made Essential. Vitamins Nutricoat and Power balance, Lozeval (externally and internally) will help to support the immune system, normalize the condition of the skin and coat from the inside.
Additionally shows the intake of vitamins A, C, group B. Brewer's yeast, wheat germ, flaxseed, seaweed and other products rich in macro- and microelements are added to the feed.
Folk methods are also great for eliminating the symptoms of dandruff in dogs. Oils, herbal decoctions and infusions are used externally in the form of wiping, compresses, lotions; small dogs can be rinsed with decoctions after washing. Chamomile, linden, nettle, burdock relieve inflammation and irritation well. Burdock, sea buckthorn, olives can be used from oils.
How to help a dog with dandruff
Regardless of what is the cause of dandruff in dogs and what treatment the doctor prescribed, the owner should take some actions to alleviate the condition of a four-legged friend.
- Make changes to the diet. If the food was monotonous – introduce additional products (change the feed). Enrich the diet with vitamins, especially A and E, omega-acids. Ensure a sufficient supply of nutrients. Make sure that there are no artificial additives in the food.
- Scratch your pet regularly. During the daily procedure, not only the exfoliation and removal of dead scales occurs, but also the improvement of blood flow in the epidermis, normalization of metabolism and sebaceous glands.
- Increase the humidity in the house.
- Use only the shampoo that is agreed with the doctor. In any case, do not use a hair dryer for drying – the pet should dry out naturally.
- If the diagnosis is associated with the presence of external parasites, treat not only the dog, but also the litter, as well as the apartment (floor, furniture, bedspreads).
Prevention of dandruff in dogs
What should I do to avoid dandruff in dogs? The main preventive measures are the following:
- ensure the balance of vitamins and minerals, nutrients in pet food;
- eliminate stress;
- do not bathe the dog more than once a quarter (or depending on pollution);
- apply special bathing products;
- properly comb the dog, use the appropriate comb;
- monitor the condition of the pet's skin, regularly inspect for parasites, skin damage, allergic manifestations.
Dandruff in dogs is easy to cure if it is detected in a timely manner and the cause is identified. In advanced cases, treatment may take several months and require significant material costs. In addition, it will be much more difficult to detect the factor provoking the violation, so the key to the health of the animal and the tranquility of the owner is an attentive attitude to the pet.