Stop The Flakes: How To Control Canine Dandruff

Stop The Flakes: How To Control Canine Dandruff

We’ve all had it before… especially when we were younger. Those little white flakes that show up on dark clothes and leave us feeling a little frustrated and embarrassed. 

Did you know your dog can get dandruff too? Yep, dogs, like us, are susceptible to this skin condition. Maybe you have noticed your pup scratching more than often or you’ve noticed some white specks on their fur. So what causes canine dandruff, and what are some ways to get it under control?  


Dandruff in canines is pretty similar to human dandruff. It’s when the sebaceous glands - those responsible for producing the oils which protect and nourish the skin 0- begin to overproduce. The excess oil can irritate the skin and lead to flakiness and skin being shed in greater quantities than normal. Canines have much more hair than we have, which means dandruff can become more irritating for dogs than us. 

So what are the symptoms of dog dandruff? 

Dog dandruff causes skin to look dry and sometimes irritated or inflamed. If your dog has dandruff, there will be white specks on their coat, which may come off on their bedding or on your clothes. Depending on how severe your dog’s dandruff is, there may also be scabs, general hair loss, bald patches, and some scratching or itching. 

Dandruff is typically found on the back, belly and armpits; and most often affects puppies and medium and long-haired breeds.  


1. Environment 

In the winter, when temperatures and air moisture levels drop, your doggos skin can become dried out. Also, an increase in dust and pollen, or a drop in indoor humidity, can cause dandruff too. 

2. Grooming 

Too little or too much grooming can contribute to dandruff development. Dogs naturally groom themselves to keep their coats healthy, however if your dog is ill or in pain they will groom themselves less often. On the other hand, overgrooming can lead to dandruff as it strips the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry.

3. Poor diet 

A nutritious diet is key to optimal skin health. It’s important for dogs to always have access to clean, fresh water as dehydration can lead to dry skin and dandruff. Also, too few healthy fats in the diet can lead to dandruff. 

4. Allergies 

Food allergies are perhaps one of the most common causes of dog dandruff and general skin discomfort. Other allergies include something outdoors, or grooming products that aren’t free of nasty toxins and chemicals that cause skin irritation.

5. External parasites 

Fleas and lice can make skin itchy and flaky. A more serious possible cause for your dog's flaky, itchy skin is a condition called walking dandruff. The Cheyletiella mite doesn’t cause dandruff but is nicknamed “walking dandruff” because of the way the mites move through the skin flakes. This parasitic infection is extremely contagious and can spread easily to other pets in your household like cats and rabbits, and sometimes even affect humans. 

6. Skin infections

Bacterial and fungal infections create a vicious cycle where they drag down the skin’s ability to protect itself. In most cases, this causes hot spots or greatest patches (which can be treated with our  Hot Spot Gel!), but in some cases it can cause flakiness and dandruff. 

7. Seborrhea 

This is a medical condition where baby skin cells travel to the surface too quickly. The “glue” holding these cells together is weak, meaning they flake away as dandruff. Seborrhea in dogs makes the skin flaky, scaly, and greasy. 

If your dog has Seborrhea, we have the perfect naturally formulated solution -  Pet Drs Derma Cream. This formulation is developed with your pets’ sensitive skin in mind. The ingredients are pH balanced and are safe to lick! 

8. Systemic Disease 

Diseases characterized by hormone disruptions, such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism, can cause dandruff. Autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks itself, can also lead to dandruff.


1. Humidifier 

The humidity levels in your home play a big role in your dog’s skin. Factors that can affect indoor humidity levels include the weather outside, age of your home, and even your HVAC system. To improve the humidity, place a humidifier in the room(s) your dog uses most often, particularly where they sleep. 

2. Groom your pet properly 

Regardless of the underlying cause of canine dandruff, a gentle dog shampoo is essential to help alleviate symptoms. Our pick?  Pet Drs ShamPOO. This shampoo is soap free, hypoallergenic and leaves the coat looking, smelling and feeling good, without drying the skin. 

It is also recommended to regularly groom and brush your dog’s coat to distribute the coat’s natural oils and massage the skin. Also, try to avoid using a blow dryer to dry your dog after a bath as this can dry out their skin.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

A lot of pet parents have seen good results incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids to their dog’s diet. The easiest way for your dog to consume high quality Omega 3, 6 & 9 oils is  Pet Drs Mega Oil. 

This formula will naturally enhance your pet’s health targeting specifically their coats, skin, joints, digestion as well as heart and brain support. It doesn’t contain copious amounts of cod liver oil, soya bean or canola oil like other competitor brands use. Instead Pet Drs prefers the natural goodness of Omega 3, 6 and 9, balancing this formula to the exact ratio to surpass using supplements.

4. Identify any allergies!

If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, work with your vet to identify the ingredients in your dog’s current diet that may be causing issues and select a new food to try instead. There are commercial skin and blood allergy tests on the market, and your vet may recommend starting there. However, these tests aren’t always 100% accurate, so another way to discover which foods your dog is allergic to is an elimination diet. An elimination diet requires you to feed a diet that is limited to a single protein source, and preferably minimal other ingredients to test which ingredients your dog is and isn’t reacting to. It is recommended the single protein source to be a novel protein to help you limit the variety of ingredients in your dog’s diet. 

Novel proteins are ingredients your pet’s body has most likely never been exposed to. This would include kangaroo, wild boar and goat. Because your dog’s body is unfamiliar with these ingredients, they are unlikely to solicit an allergic response. Therefore, including these less mainstream animals into your dog’s diet may help alleviate food allergy symptoms. 

Pet Drs know that treats are an important part of a dog's life, which is why we have carefully crafted these novel protein treats specifically for sensitive tummies and skin that cannot cause irritations to your furry friends! Our novel protein treats come in three flavours: goat heart, kangaroo kidney and wild boar liver.  Click here to check them out! 

5. Use gentle cleaning products for your home 

Many cleaning products on the market are not toxic-free and can cause skin irritation. The same goes for any pest control products you use in the garden and lawn. There are safe, gentle and natural alternatives that will keep you and your pet safe! 

6. Last but not least! Therapeutic Fur-Favourite Pack 

This pack includes our best selling products that are great for all dogs, but especially for those with dandruff and dry, irritated skin. Our Therapeutic Fur-Favourite pack includes our  Natural Shampoo,  Derma Cream and  Mega Oil to provide your pup with the essential nutrients and vitamins it requires to relieve the itching, scratching and biting.