Dandruff on my Lab? What could be the cause?

Lately, your lab’s skin is dry and flaky. It could be causing your dog to itch too. Poor pooch! As a concerned doggy parent, what should you do? Even though dogs cannot verbally communicate their discomfort, their expressions and actions such as constantly scratching can let us know how they feel. Learning to read your dog’s body language is a great place to start to keep track of your dog’s health and emotions.

Before running to the pet store to get any quick treatment, read on to find out your next move. In this blog, we share causes, prevention, and everything doggy dandruff-related. 

What causes dog dandruff?

1. Seborrhea

Seborrhea is a medical condition where baby skin cells travel to the surface too quickly. Because of this, the “glue” holding these cells together is weak, making them flake away. In other occurrences, Seborrhea in a dog may be seen by the presence of greasy skin. The oily skin will be as a result of your lab’s oil glands being over-reactive. 

2. Cheyletiella Mites

As you groom your lab, have you seen the fur coat moving? It wasn’t your imagination. In actual sense, the ‘walking dandruff’ is cheyletiella mites, which also lay eggs in your dog’s coat. They are white and have the appearance of flakes. When your pooch has these, it will tend to itch a lot.

3. Fungal and bacterial skin infections

Dandruff is a secondary symptom of something. Going by this, an infection could also be their cause. You will notice your lab has oily patches and hot spots in other parts of its coat.

4. Poor diet

You need to be keen on what you use in feeding your Labrador. From their puppy stages, you should feed your dog very holistic meals. A diet without some essential supplements and water is an assured bet to a dull-looking coat. 

5. Humidity

If you live in a humid area, your dog’s coat moisture is at risk. The constant heat will predispose your pooch to dryness, itching, and flaky skin. In summer, your lab could thus be more likely to have dandruff.

6. Health conditions

Labrador retrievers are prone to getting some diseases. Topping the list is hypothyroidism. When your dog has this, it can be seen through the appearance of its coat. You will notice the dog has a lot of dandruff as you brush it.

7. Breed susceptibility

Some breeds are more likely to be affected than others in dandruff infestation. In the Labrador family, the black lab is more likely to have a dandruff case reported. This is a comparison to the chocolate and yellow counterparts.

What is the relationship between dandruff and itching?

One of the sworn by symptoms by lab owners in detecting dandruff is itching. Your lab will constantly move around, lifting its leg to scratch somewhere. You can spot it rolling to the ground more than usual, and not in a playful way. So, why will your pooch be itching up?

  • If infested by the mites, they cause irritation from their bites.
  • The skin is dry, without moisture, and may feel uncomfortable.

What are the consequences of unchecked dandruff?

  • Increased discomfort from the itching.
  • The dog can exhibit a low appetite.
  • Your pooch will lose the playful nature.
  • May develop sores in the skin if the cause of dandruff is the mites.

Tips to help you prevent dandruff

Visit your vet

Your vet will be able to guide you by diagnosing the possible reason behind dandruff. They can take some skin tests; ask some questions, all of which will guide the advice. Be sure to mention the last time you also visited a professional groomer to your vet. It will help in determining whether you have a keen groomer or not. The vet is likely to suggest some antibiotics, depending on the severity of dandruff.

Groom your dog

Proper grooming is a must-do when you want to save yourself from stress and bank-breaking. You can spend less on the doggy skincare products you buy by ensuring you have groomed well. Have a routine of checking your dog constantly, preferably on a daily basis. Labs have short coats, which makes it easy for you to spot any changes sooner. Brush him daily too to help distribute the natural oils from the coat and stimulate blood supply to the skin. 

Bathe your dog

Since Labradors suffer from the “oily” dandruff, you’ll want to find a product that is formulated with benzoyl peroxide, coal tar, or selenium sulfide. Shampoo and conditioner with this will be the best option for bath time. They re-moisturize the skin and relieve flakiness and irritation caused by dandruff.

 Opt for products like Wondercide Natural Dry Skin Relief Kit full with a Tonic Spray and Hypoallergenic Aloe Vera Shampoo Bar. Nature’s Specialties Aloe Remoisturizer Pet Conditioner will rejuvenate your dog’s skin. The itching will be a thing of the past.

If you find your lab’s dandruff very severe, bathe them daily for two weeks. After this, you can lower it to twice a week, then once a month.

Check your dog’s diet.

We know labs are hogs. They eat so much they can be overweight before we know it. Even as we check on the food to give a lab to help balance its weight, it will aid in dandruff control.

Start by including water in its diet to keep them hydrated. You can flavor the water to encourage your pooch to drink if it is a choosy one. Be keen to offer dog food rich in omega 3. Use fish oil to aid in achieving this. Include dog supplements, such as zinc and vitamins A and E. The zinc will help boost your dog’s immune system, while vitamins A and E will nurture the skin.

Consider having a humidifier

Buying one of these will prevent the dryness around that can be affecting your dog’s skin. You can use it in dry times and winter too. A humidifier is also an excellent remedy for a dog suffering from kennel cough.

Treating the mite infestation “walking dandruff”

Since mites are the cause, your dog may need to undergo regular weekly treatments. You should use treatments with a lime sulfur dip. You may also need to use pyrethrin shampoos and sprays.

Home remedies for dandruff control

Use Apple cider vinegar rinse

Mix equal parts apple cider and water, and then apply the solution to your dog either as a rinse after his bath, or spot with a soft cloth. Let the solution dry on your dog’s skin and repeat daily.

Lime juice rinse

Combine equal parts water with the lime juice and natural oatmeal shampoo. Rinse your pooch and notice the relived itching.

Fenugreek paste application

Soak some cups of the fenugreek seeds overnight to soften them up. Mix them with more water the next day to make a paste. Use the paste all over your dog, and let it sit for an hour or so. Then wash and shampoo your dog as normal.

Milk of magnesia

Also used in human dandruff control, spread it on your Labrador’s coat and wait for half an hour. Wash your dog and use it every time during bath time.

Dandruff can be a real pain to you and your pooch. The good news is that they can be kept under control. When you master the routine of checking your dog often, you will be more likely to prevent the storm. Use the said tips and regain your dog’s shiny and healthy coat once more! For more on Labrador retrievers, hop onto our blog.

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