Why does my dog have dandruff?

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Skin disorders and dandruff are fairly common among dogs. This can lead to scratching and irritation. Some causes of this condition are poor diet, dry skin, allergies and infestation. Often making simple changes in your dog’s life can treat this problem at home. Experiment with different products until you find what works for your dog. She will be much more comfortable and happier once the dry, itchy skin has been treated.

It’s usually diet-related, but can be caused by other things, such as over-bathing, as well.

Here are some tips to keep your dog healthy and happy:

• Read labels thoroughly: Some commercial foods have a list of ingredients that read like a chemistry set. Preservatives, additives and other processing can all be contributing to your dog’s allergies, which are manifesting as dandruff. The fewer ingredients, the “purer” the food—just be sure to check it with your vet to be sure you’re not causing an unbalance.
• Check by products: The dog’s ancestors ate the entire prey, including organ meats, which are very rich in nutrients. However, you must be sure the ingredient list also includes a specific meat (nothing vague, like “meat meal”) so your dog gets the most nutrition.
• Avoid corn: Corn and corn products are known allergens.
• Give her plenty of omega 3 fatty acids: This fatty acid is crucial to your dog’s skin and coat health. Fatty acids are generally not manufactured by the body but, rather, must be provided in the diet. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a good supplement that contains fish, flax or salmon oil.
• Improve her digestion: You may need to improve your dog’s digestion so she absorbs more nutrients.
• Is she getting enough biotin? Biotin plays an important role in the health of your dog’s skin and hair. Give her a cooked egg every so often, or ask about supplements.
• Moisturize for the weather: Is it cold, windy and dry? That could be contributing, so a good moisturizing shampoo or conditioner, such as one containing oatmeal, could help.
• Try orange oil: Some state strongly that orange oil helps calm and sooth itchy, irritated skin. See our article describing how to make it.
• Avoid over-bathing: Some breeds can tolerate more than others. Make sure you’re not overdoing it.

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