Is your dog suffering from flaky skin? Dandruff is more than just unsightly, it’s actually uncomfortable for your dog. Dandruff is the result of dry skin, which is often itchy. Getting rid of dandruff is more than just wanting your dog to look better – improving the condition of your dog’s skin will actually make him feel better. So how can you get rid of your dog’s dandruff? The answer might be simpler than you think. But first, what causes doggie dandruff in the first place?
Causes of dandruff
#1 – Allergies
Dogs can suffer from many of the same allergies as people, from environmental to food. The release of histamine when your dog encounters an allergen causes intense itching, which scratches and dries out the skin. Identifying what your dog is allergic to can be difficult, but if you are able to identify and reduce exposure to his allergens, his quality of life will improve dramatically.
#2 – Cheyletiella mites
These white mites are also referred to as “walking dandruff.” They live on your dog’s skin, where they chew on him and lay their eggs. As you can imagine, having tiny insects crawling over you can make you extremely itchy. Due to their minuscule size, it may be difficult to distinguish these mites from regular dandruff.
#3 – Bacterial or fungal skin infections
While a bacterial or fungal skin infection may seem to be localized to one specific area, your dog’s entire skin may become dry and inflamed in response. If your dog is constantly licking one particular spot and it’s constantly moist and even red or brown, you should get him checked out by a vet. Treating your dog’s skin infection can help rid your dog of his dandruff.
#4 – Dry air
Like people, the most common cause of dandruff in dogs is dry air. You may notice that your dog’s skin, like yours, dries out and becomes flakier in the winter when you turn on the heater, which dries out the air. Dogs that live in dry climates are likely to suffer from dry skin year-round.
#5 – Endocrine disorders
Certain problems with the hormones in your dog’s body such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes can cause dandruff. This dandruff tends to be a little bit thicker and stickier than regular dandruff. If your dog’s dandruff seems unusual, it may be time for a trip to the vet.
#6 – Poor diet/lack of nutrients
Commercial dog food companies claim that their food contains all the nutrients your dog needs, but the truth is that many of those nutrients are lost during the cooking process. The high levels of heat required to make kibble, in particular, destroy many nutrients, especially fatty acids. Pet food companies make up for the destroyed nutrients by spraying the kibble with synthetic vitamins and minerals, but how sufficient do you really think that is?
Dogs fed raw diets aren’t necessarily in the clear, either. Raw diets need to be finely balanced to include all the nutrients your dog needs. While a raw diet may be nutritionally more complete than a commercial diet, that doesn’t automatically make it perfect. Many dogs on raw diets need nutrients added to their diet.
According to Mercola Healthy Pets’ Dr. Karen Becker:
“If there’s no disease process contributing to your dog’s flaky skin, the next step is to investigate for a nutritional deficiency, since a dietary lack of omega-3 essential fatty acids is the most common cause of dry, flaky skin in pets. Dogs need an abundance of omega-3s in their diet to be optimally healthy. The manufacturing process involved in producing most commercial pet food destroys the nutritional benefit of omega-3s.
Even if you’re feeding a homemade diet, if you’re not following a nutritionally balanced recipe that calls for extra EFAs/omega-3 fatty acids, or unless you’re feeding fish on a daily basis (not recommended), your pet’s diet is probably unbalanced for fatty acids. “
The importance of omega fatty acids
Omega-3 is considered an essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are something that your dog absolutely needs, and he can’t produce them on his own. Omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaneoic acid (EPA), all of which help your dog with things like:
-Relieving allergy symptoms that are the result of an overactive immune system
-Slowing the growth of yeast infections on your dog’s skin
-Helping the retina and visual cortex in your dog’s eye develop properly
-Regulating blood clotting
-Slowing the growth of some cancers
On top of all of this, studies have shown that adding omega-3 to a dog’s diet can reduce itchiness and dry skin by 50% or more.
Symptoms of a deficiency in omega-3 may include:
-Thin, greasy, or shedding hair
-Allergy symptoms like itching
-Dry, scaly, flaky skin
-Slow wound healing
The problem with kibble
Many kibbles claim to have omega-3, but the problem is that they add it before they cook it. The high heat required to bake food into kibble destroys most omega-3, and any fatty acids that survive the cooking process are unstable and tend to go rancid very quickly. No matter, what the bag says, you really can’t count on your dog getting a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids from his kibble.
Project Paws® Omega 3-6-9 Select Chews offer the best balance of omega 3, 6, and 9 in a tasty chew that is grain-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Many omega-3 products are made from salmon oil. Unfortunately, since salmon is so far up on the food chain, it tends to be highly contaminated with mercury. Our soft chews are made from sustainably-sourced krill, which is low enough on the food chain not to be contaminated with mercury. What could be better than that? Each purchase provides 14 meals for shelter dogs!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
(H/T: Petful, Care.com, Mercola Healthy Pets, Oil For Dogs)
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