Why Does Your Dog Have Dandruff & How Can You Get Rid Of It?

Summary: “My dog has dandruff!” Fear not, pet parent. You’re not alone. In this blog, we learn all about dog dandruff, what can cause it, and most importantly how to get rid of dog dandruff…   Doggy dandruff – who knew!? But yes, dogs too get dandruff, just like us humans. Dogs are naturally very […]

Oct 18, 2023·5 min read
Why Does Your Dog Have Dandruff & How Can You Get Rid Of It?

Summary: My dog has dandruff!” Fear not, pet parent. You’re not alone. In this blog, we learn all about dog dandruff, what can cause it, and most importantly how to get rid of dog dandruff…


Doggy dandruff – who knew!? But yes, dogs too get dandruff, just like us humans.

Dogs are naturally very clean animals and like to keep themselves as such. Although it can be common, dandruff isn’t normal, so if you do spot what you suspect is dandruff, it’s probably a cause for a little concern and will most likely need some healthy pet parent intervention!

What Is Dog Dandruff?

Dog dandruff is dry, flaky, skin, made up of dead skin cells that look like white specks/flakes in your pooch’s fur. Skin cells are always dying – they shed and are replaced by healthy new cells, naturally cycled by the body. Dandruff can indicate an issue either with your dog’s grooming habits or the skin cell cycle and can sometimes even make your dog itchy or leave them feeling uncomfortable.

Why Does My Dog Have Dandruff?

a black and white springer spaniel looks upward on a path through woodland

If you’re thinking “my dog has dandruff!“, your dog is most likely sprinkled with white speckles. You then may be asking yourself, “but, why does my dog have dandruff!?”. Well, there’s actually a variety of reasons that can cause dandruff to occur;

  • Poor diet (not enough water, vitamins, fatty acids, and/or minerals)
  • Being overweight
  • Having an underlying condition like Hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or Pemphigus (please speak to your vet if you suspect any of these)
  • Fleas or ticks (over scratching can cause dog dandruff)
  • Mites (Cheyletiella mites are known as “walking dandruff” because they are white in appearance and noticeable to the naked eye),  
  • Low humidity (this will strip the skin of its natural oils, making it dry and flaky), etc.

It’s always worth getting any signs of dandruff checked over by the vet, as it could be a sign of an underlying issue (like some of the conditions listed above), particularly if accompanied by a greasy or smelly coat, red skin, and/or hair loss. Understanding the underlying problem can help clear up their skin situation faster.

Although it can seem alarming when you first notice your dog has dandruff, it can usually be cleared up quite quickly with some quick and simple lifestyle changes…

How To Get Rid Of Dog Dandruff

Support In Grooming

Even though dogs self-groom, they may need a little support when they have dandruff – or more regularly if they are prone to it! Brushing your dog every day can help dislodge and remove the dead skin cells, promote blood flow – and thus nutrients – to their skin, and distribute the skin’s naturally produced oils evenly through and across the coat. If you have a wrinkly dog or a dog with skin folds like a Shar-Peis or Basset Hound, be sure to check in, around, and beneath their skin’s folds, and brush and clean gently there too.

You should also bathe them a little more regularly and use a targeted, relieving shampoo, ideally, that contains oatmeal that can help soothe irritated skin, as well as support with occasional itching, gnawing, and biting.

PetLab Co. Pro Tip: Be careful not to over-bathe your pooch though, as this can disturb the pH balance levels in the skin, exacerbating dandruff, and dry out the skin, causing skin issues. If the dandruff is extreme, start off with bathing every couple of days. Then, once dandruff improves, drop this down to twice a week, then once a week as it gets better. As soon as the dandruff is clear, bathing your dog once a month should be sufficient enough to prevent it from coming back. If you’re unsure, always consult with your vet.

Improve Their Diet

a large black, long-haired dog sits in woodland

If you think it could be their diet that’s causing dandruff, it’s time to switch things up. Look at a higher-quality pet food that’s high in fiber and enhanced with a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Learn more in our blog What To Feed Your Dog, and then read our blog on How To Safely Switch Your Dog’s Food here, so as to not disrupt their tummy too much whilst transitioning!

If your dog is overweight, it’s time to consider a doggy diet! We cannot stress enough how important it is for all dogs to be maintained at their ideal body weight and no more! Their obesity won’t only be potentially causing problems to their skin, but obesity can cause a whole load of other health issues and have a negative impact on their joint health and thus their quality of life too…
Start by reducing their food allowance by 10% – they’ll barely notice the difference. Read our blog on 
How To Help Your Overweight Dog here.

PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If their dandruff  is recurring, remember this could be a sign of something more serious so always consult with your vet if your dietary improvements don’t seem to be working.

Consider Improving The Humidity

Particularly during the winter months, low humidity can have a negative impact on your dog’s skin and trigger dog dandruff to occur. Consider investing in a humidifier, and setting up near where your dog sleeps. Increasing the moisture present in the air will soothe their skin and can help deter seasonal bouts of dandruff.

Dog Dandruff

As you can see, dog dandruff can be rectifiable if you know the root cause of it! Remember to always have Fido checked over by a vet if the problem persists or you suspect a more serious underlying factor at play.

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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