How to Get Rid of Dog Dandruff: Info & Tips

Dog dandruff (also known as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea) is not harmful in itself, but that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. The problem indicates that your pet’s skin is dry, which could be due to numerous reasons, some of which could be more serious.

Our aim is to educate you on the topic and hopefully offer some useful tips.

How to Get Rid of Dog Dandruff

According to our research, these are the top 5 tips to consider when treating dandruff in dogs: 

1. Consult Your Vet.

Many of the suggestions we intend to talk about involve ways you can help your dog on your own, but we’d like to start by saying that it’s probably a good idea to get a professional opinion.

Only your veterinarian can determine if it’s a medical problem (allergies, hormonal issues, bacteria, and so on), in which case you may need to get vet-prescribed medication.

2. Bathe and Groom Your Dog Regularly.

Dog grooming is important for various reasons, one of which is healthy skin and coat. Make sure to use an adequate brush or comb, since dogs of different coat lengths require different grooming tools. 

Long strokes are advised to remove dirt and stimulate oil production, thus reducing seborrhea in dogs. If your pooch is on the heavier side, we suggest using grooming gloves, as they allow you to cover areas that are hard to reach.

Moreover, long-haired dogs and those with allergies typically need bathing more frequently. Be careful, though, since excessive bathing can be harmful too — it can remove your pet’s natural oils and cause itchiness.

3. Use Dog Dandruff Shampoo.

Speaking of bathing, there are different kinds of dog shampoo, so you should get one specifically designed to eliminate dandruff. Oatmeal shampoo is known to be particularly effective in this case because it moisturizes and soothes the skin.

4. Adjust Your Dog’s Diet.

A balanced diet is always recommended. You need to determine your dog’s nutritional needs, how often it needs to be fed daily, and so forth. 

Shiny fur and healthy skin are also connected to the amount of fat in your pet’s diet. One way of achieving a sufficient amount is to give omega-3 fatty acid supplements to your dog. That’ll hydrate its skin and provide numerous other health benefits.

5. Use a Humidifier at Home. 

Dry air can worsen dry flaky skin on a dog, especially if you live in a really dry climate. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, so they are good for several medical conditions — and not just for pets but for humans as well. 

Humidifiers are perfectly safe for pets as long as they are placed where pets can’t reach them and knock them over.

What Else You Might Want to Know

We listed the main things you’d need to do in order to eliminate dog dandruff, but you might want to learn more about the issue. So, we also decided to also answer the following questions.

What Does Dog Dandruff Look Like?

Dandruff is clearly visible — dead skin cells in the form of small white flakes stuck in the fur. They can also fall from the coat and stay on the furniture or floor.

Why Do Dogs Get Dandruff?

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dandruff can be a primary or secondary disease. Primary seborrhea is inherited and only observed in certain breeds. Secondary seborrhea is more common, but the exact cause cannot always be determined (idiopathic seborrhea).

The issue is commonly linked to underlying medical problems such as:

  • Parasites (fleas and ticks, for example)
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a dog’s diet
  • Fungal infections
  • Musculoskeletal diseases preventing a dog from grooming itself properly

Some other sources also list stress, yeast infections, and bacteria as likely causes.

Do Puppies Get Dandruff?

Canine seborrhea is more common in puppies than in adult dogs. Dog skin structure includes so-called sebaceous glands, organs that discharge an oily substance known as sebum into the hair follicles and onto the skin. 

When a dog is young, the glands are underdeveloped, which leads to greater dandruff production.

How Do You Moisturize a Dog’s Skin?

We already mentioned using a special shampoo, humidifiers, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements, along with a proper grooming and bathing routine. There are also other ways —  Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital lists vitamin E (digested or applied to the skin), adding a little olive oil into your dog’s food, or keeping the dog inside when the weather is super cold.


How can I treat my dogs’ dandruff naturally?

Some of the common natural home remedies for dog dandruff and itching are:

  • Chamomile and herbal tea soaks
  • Apple vinegar cider mixed with water (50-50%)
  • A small amount of sugar-free yogurt eaten once per week
  • Massaging coconut oil into the coat
  • Making an oatmeal paste and applying it to the skin

(AKC Pet Insurance, 2022)

Does coconut oil help with dog dandruff?

Yes. As noted in the answer above, you can massage this oil into your dog’s coat. It should help, as it’s an excellent moisturizer.

Why is my dog getting dandruff in one area?

Dandruff is never found in one area only, but it’s possible that only one spot on your dog’s skin is particularly affected due to something it came in contact with.

What is black dandruff on dogs?

Dandruff is white, not black. If you see black flakes, it’s probably flea dirt, lice, or some kind of skin infection. Make sure to visit your vet for a more thorough examination.

What is walking dandruff in dogs?

This is also known as cheyletiellosis, and it is a rare but very contagious skin parasite that can affect dogs, cats, rabbits, and humans. The name walking dandruff can be attributed to big whitish mites crawling across the fur.

(VCA Canada Animal Hospitals, 2021)

Final Thoughts

Various things give your furry friend dandruff, and it’s certainly a problem you want to tackle ASAP so that your dog avoids irritation and your home remains clean. You now know how to get rid of dog dandruff, and we hope you’ll manage to succeed quickly.


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