Our Chocolate lab has terrible dandruff! It seems to get worse when he’s excited. Frequent bathing seems to help, but lately we just can’t get on top of the problem. What’s going on?
Living in a Snowglobe in Garden Oaks
Dear Living in a Snowglobe,
Canine dandruff is a common problem and can have all sorts of causes. The reasons your dog is experiencing dandruff can be related to seasonal allergies or a more serious skin condition. Drier months of the year (like winter) can make the problem worse, as can food sensitivities.
Rule out infection
There’s a chance your dog could have a skin infection that is causing the dandruff. A skin scrape, taken by your vet, can rule out yeast or a parasitic issue. If this is the problem, treatment is readily available and should have your pooch back to normal quickly.
Treating dog dandruff
After a visit to your vet, and providing that skin cultures come back negative for infection and parasites, your vet might start with a closer look at your dog’s food. There’s a chance your dog has a food sensitivity that is causing the dandruff.
In this case, your vet might help you on a guided elimination diet. During an elimination diet, you’ll eliminate certain foods from your dog’s diet for a time and then slowly reintroduce them to see if your dog reacts. This helps to parse out what foods might be causing the issue and will help to guide you on what to avoid going forward.
Some dogs with dandruff have autoimmune systems issues. When this happens, the dog’s body attacks the sebaceous glands (that produce oil) in the dog’s skin and destroys them. When this happens, medications (both topical and oral) can help to get the body back on track.
Endocrine problems can also cause skin issues. When a dog’s thyroid isn’t working properly, this can cause excess steroids to be produced in the dog’s body. As a result, the dog’s system becomes inflamed. Medications can help with thyroid issues as well.
Experts recommend regular bathing (which it sounds like you’re already doing), an Omega fatty acid supplement to help your dog’s skin, a humidifier in the home during the colder months, when the heater might be running more often, as well as a high quality diet. These tips might help to lessen the severity of your dog’s dandruff and help you to feel a bit less like you live in a snowglobe!
Pet of the Week
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