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Since dogs are covered with fur they require shampoos to clean and condition them, just like human need shampoos for their hair.
Some human shampoos maybe harsh on the dog and disturb their oil and pH balance. Therefore, there are special products made especially for dogs and other pets that should be used on them.
Dog shampoos generally contain a number of natural ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil since they are gentler on the skin.
Compatibility with skin type is an important attribute of any dog shampoo.
Why do Dogs get Dandruff?
Your dog is also susceptible to dandruff, just as you are. In scientific terms, dandruff is known as seborrhoea.
It is generally caused due to dry skin. If your dog has a dry coat, it will be very clear when he has dandruff. On the other hand, if your dog has a light fur coat, it is hard to determine whether he has dandruff or not.
So you should pay close attention to it when you are bathing the dog. Dandruff is not as scary as it seems, it is just a bunch of dry skin that keeps falling off in clumps.
You will find a number of scabs or bumps near the flaky skin. You will also observe that your dog must have started scratching himself more often than usual.
The dog’s fur may also be getting thinner in places. This is a sign of a severe case of dandruff which you need to treat immediately.
Some dogs that are more prone to dandruff are West Highland terriers, fox terriers, Scottish terriers, pugs, schnauzers, dalmations, retrievers, bulldogs, poodles, pit bull terriers, Cairn terriers and Irish setters.
Let us look at some cause of dandruff in dogs.
Dust, pollen, and similar allergens can get on your dog and cause irritation that can lead to dandruff.
If you go outdoors with your dog a lot, the accumulation of allergens on their coat is to be expected. Regular grooming and bathing can help prevent this build up.
This is also known as “walking dandruff” and are white mites that infest your dog’s coat, lay eggs, and cause dandruff. Here, you’ll not only notice flaky dandruff but will also notice the mites.
An improper diet void of vitamins and nutrients can lead to unhealthy skin and fur. Without healthy vitamins, your dog can suffer from imbalances leading to dry skin and dandruff.
Not giving your dog enough water can also lead to poor hydration making their skin and fur breakdown causing dandruff.
Fungal or bacterial infections including yeast infections can cause your dog’s skin to dry up and flake off. In this case, you’ll have to treat the underlying infection as well as dandruff.
If you don’t address the infection, dandruff will continue despite using proper shampoos and similar treatment options. Letting an infection go untreated can also negatively impact your dog’s overall health.
The weather can have a direct effect on your dog. Low levels of humidity in the air, especially constant low humidity, can cause your dog’s skin to become too dry causing dandruff.
When there is a lack of moisture in the air, dogs also tend to get itchy in general. This increase in scratching can cause the skin to flake off more easily.
Using a humidifier in your home can add moisture into your home and help alleviate dry skin in your pup.
While these are some of the common causes of dandruff in dogs, your dog might not have any of these underlying issues and might just be suffering from the naturally dry skin.
If you’re unsure about your dog’s condition, consult your vet to officially rule out any other issues.
Top 5 Anti-Dandruff Shampoos for Dogs
There are a number of high-quality shampoos in the market that is useful in treating dandruff, for dogs. Let us take a look at some of the most best shampoos.
|Brand||Volume||Ingredients||Uses & USPs||Reviews on Amazon||Our Rating||Price|
Pro Pet Works
For dogs with allergies & smell
4-Legger Dog Shampoo
For dogs with dry and itchy, sensitive, or allergy skin
Wahl Dog Shampoo
For dogs dry, itching, irritated skin
Earthbath All Natural
2,500+ Reviews on Amazon
For dogs with irritated skin
SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula
For dogs with scaling caused by Seborrhea, Mange , fungal & bacterial infections, dandruff
Top Dog Dandruff Shampoo Reviewed
Pro Pet Works Natural – Best Overall
Vet recommended Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo and Conditioner is specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and known allergies to foods, grass, and fleas.
This shampoo is meant to deodorize and clean your dog while also combating dandruff and dry skin. The combined conditioner is also meant to leave your dog’s coat looking and feeling healthy and smooth.
There are no harsh chemicals used in this formula and is said not to irritate your dog in any way. The shampoo is made specifically for your pet and can be used not only on dogs but on cats, rabbits, and even ferrets without an issue.
- No alcohol, sulfates, dyes, chemicals, or fragrances
- Made with organic ingredients including oatmeal, almond oil, and aloe vera
- Specifically for sensitive, dry, itchy skin
- Works as a deodorizer
- Soap-free formula
- Won’t irritate dogs’ eyes or nose
- De-tangles long coats for easy brushing post-wash
- Biodegradable product made with recycled materials
- Non-toxic, paraben-free
- Cruelty-free production
- Can be used with flea treatments
- No serious issues!
Wahl Oatmeal Shampoo
One of the highest rated natural dog shampoos on the market, the Wahl Oatmeal shampoo is guaranteed to be solely plant-based without any harsh ingredients.
It comes in a variety of formulas and scents so you can find something specific for you and your dog’s needs.
This shampoo contains oatmeal and aloe vera.
There are also additional ingredients with coconut and lime and lemon verbena being a popular option.
Additional ingredients for fragrance are lavender and chamomile, cornflower and aloe, lemongrass and sage, white pear, and eucalyptus and spearmint.
These ingredients no only get your dog clean but will also soothe dry, itchy skin and also put moisture back into their skin.
- Natural, gentle ingredients
- Oatmeal provides itch relief
- Concentrated formula goes a long way
- Good variety for scent options
- Not great for heavy-duty cleaning jobs
4-Legger Certified Organic – Best in Organic
Another great organic option, this is an all-natural dog shampoo formulated for sensitive dogs who need extra moisture for their coats.
It is certified organic based on government food standards so you can be sure that there are no artificial ingredients that could make your dog’s dandruff worse.
This shampoo contains jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil along with aloe vera and essential oils like rosemary and lemongrass.
These ingredients are not only great for relieving dry skin and dandruff but the essential oils in it have specific antibacterial and antifungal properties to clean your dog.
There are no parabens, alcohol, sulfates, artificial perfumes, dye, or similar chemical ingredients in the shampoo.
- USDA Organic
- Hypoallergenic, specifically for sensitive skin
- Won’t strip away natural oils
- Naturally repels fleas and ticks
- Completely vegan
- Cruelty-free production
- Recyclable packaging
- Takes work to lather it up during washing
Earthbath All Natural Shampoo
Earthbath is a leading manufacturer of natural and biodegradable pet care products. This shampoo is also 100% natural and completely bio-degradable.
It is available in 10 variations depending upon the key ingredient, like aloe vera, tea tree oil, orange peel and so on. It is a scented shampoo which is gentle yet effective against dandruff. It is soap-free and safe.
- Natural ingredients without chemicals
- Biodegradable packaging
- Cruelty-free production
- Helps dogs retain moisture
- No-tear formula
- Pleasant scent without harsh odors
- Lathers and spreads easily
- Packed with vitamins to nourish dogs’ coats
- Might not be useful for overly dirty dogs
- Too fragrant for some users
SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula – Most Reviewed!
SynergyLabs is one of the leading brands in the pet care market. It helps to relieve a number of diseases. The ingredients in the shampoo are salicylic acid, micronized sulphur and coal tar.
The diseases that are tackled by this shampoo are Mange, fungal infections, greasy skin, seborrhoea, bacterial infections and parasitic infections.
The formulation does not have paraben, soap or dye which may cause allergies. It has allantoin and colloidal oatmeal which hydrates the skin and lets it heal quicker.
- As much as three times the active cleansers compared to similarly rated brands
- Scented with natural ingredients like green apple
- Contains vitamin E, shea, aloe vera, and similar ingredients to help coats retain moisture
- Lathers easily making a little bit go a long way.
- Might be too harsh for ultrasensitive dogs
Vet’s Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo
A rather affordable option from a trusted brand, this dog shampoo is great for dogs with sensitive skin and allergies thanks to its hypoallergenic formula.
It’s gentle on your dog’s coat and is also tearless which will cause less irritation to your dog’s eyes during the bath.
The main ingredients are panthenol, Allantoin, aloe vera, and vitamin E. It can cleanse your dog properly while also adding moisture to its skin.
The vitamins and aloe vera in the formula will also soothe itchiness and flaking quickly.
- Revitalizes dry coats
- Reported reductions in shedding
- Smooths coats eliminating the need for a conditioner
- Can be used with topical flea and tick treatments
- Thinner formula is hard to work into a lather
- No scent leaves some users disappointed
Burt’s Bees for Dogs All-Natural Oatmeal Shampoo
Burt’s Bees is known for its natural line of products that are made to be functional as well as environmentally friendly.
Their dog shampoo is no different as its mild formula features all-natural ingredients without the use of fragrances, sulfates, dyes, or harsh chemicals.
This shampoo is recommended by vets and safe for dogs of all ages and also cats. It contains colloidal oatmeal, beeswax, and honey making it great for dry skin and dandruff relief.
It won’t just soothe your pet’s skin but will also condition their coat and clean dirt and debris.
- Safe for frequent use
- Alleviated itchiness almost immediately
- Made in the USA
- Made with mostly recycled materials
- Adds moisture to dogs’ skin
- Green tea nourishes skin
- Safe to use with flea and tick treatments
- Doesn’t lather as well as others
- Doesn’t deodorize dogs well
Signs and Symptoms of Dandruff in Dogs
Before you can think about treating your dog’s dandruff you have to make sure that you’re actually dealing with dandruff and not something else like fleas or a fungal infection.
Luckily, this is fairly easy to do as dandruff is pretty straightforward.
When a dog has dandruff, you’ll notice that they’ll have either dry flaking skin or oily flaking skin. This oily or dry nature of the dandruff is individually based but can sometimes depend on the breed of dog.
Dry dandruff seems to hit these breeds more so than others:
- German Shepherds
- Irish Setters
Oily dandruff seems to affect these breeds:
- Basset Hounds
- Cocker Spaniels
- English Springer Spaniels
- Labrador Retrievers
- West Highland White Terriers
You’ll also notice that your dog will be scratching more than normal while also experiencing hair loss. This hair loss can be as little as noticeable shedding to losing large patches of fur.
Upon further inspection of your dog, you may also notice bumps or pimples on the skin or even scabs and raw patches from bitching or scratching.
How to Distinguish Dandruff from Flea Eggs
Flea eggs and dandruff can look similar at first glance since both are white, small, and translucent. However, with closer inspection, they’re quite easy to distinguish one from the other.
Dandruff is dead skin cells that flake off in clumps. They’re thin, irregularly shaped, and light. They can lie on the skin but will also be found in your dog’s fur as they accumulate.
Flea eggs, on the other hand, are always oval-shaped and small (about half a millimeter) with rounded ends. The eggs aren’t sticky and tend to fall off a dog rather easily as they move around.
They don’t accumulate in the fur like dandruff. The best way to determine whether what you’re noticing is flea eggs, look for evidence of a flea infestation on your dog. Look for adult fleas or flea dirt (flea feces that look like black specks on your dog’s skin).
Flea dirt can be determined by rubbing the specks on a wet paper towel. If the specks turn to blood, they are definitely flea dirt and evidence of fleas.
These physical characteristics are the best ways to determine whether your dog is dealing with fleas or dandruff.
That being said, it’s possible that your dog is battling both conditions so proper observation is key in determining what your dog has and what you should do to treat it.
Easy Treatment Options for Dandruff in Dogs
If your dog’s dandruff is caused simply by dry skin and not an underlying infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics, you have different treatment options available for your pet.
While bathing is the obvious treatment option for treating dandruff, you can do other things along with a proper dandruff shampoo routine.
Bathing regularly is important but so is proper grooming between washes. Brush your dog regularly to remove debris that can get caked onto their skin and in their fur.
Regular brushing can also help trigger oil production in your dog’s skin. This will naturally moisturize your dog’s coat and help keep dandruff at bay.
By doing this you’ll also be more aware of the condition of your dog’s coat so you’ll notice any changes.
Changing Your Dog’s Diet
Sometimes what your dog eats can have a direct effect on their coat. You might be able to help limit the amount of dandruff on your dog by changing their diet so they get the proper amount of nutrients to give them healthy skin and fur.
Giving your dog healthy dog food rich in vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce the occurrence of dandruff.
Similarly, pet supplements like vitamin A, vitamin E, fish oil, or zinc can help give your dog the nutrients they’ve been missing from their diet.
You should also make sure your dog is drinking enough water throughout the day, especially in hot weather. Proper hydration will help keep your dog healthy and happy.
Use a Humidifier in Your Home
Sometimes humidity levels can cause dandruff in dogs (as well as humans). Putting a humidifier on can add moisture into your home and help with your dog’s dandruff.
If you live in a particularly dry climate, this might be the difference between excess dandruff and moderate dry skin for your dog.
How can Shampoos help in Dog Dandruff?
Some shampoos are specially designed to cure dogs of shampoo. These shampoos usually have sulphur or salicylic acid to cure dandruff.
You should keep a note that your dandruff shampoo will also be too harsh for dogs, so you should not use them. Some shampoos also protect your dog from contracting dandruff.
These shampoos generally keep the fur moisturized and clean. Some shampoos attack the root cause of dandruff which may be mites or allergens.
Apart from changing the shampoo, you should also concentrate on your pet’s health and diet so that dandruff does not return.
Buying Guide for Dog Dandruff Shampoo
Using special dog shampoo made for dandruff is one of the best ways to treat your dog’s dandruff.
If you’ve never shopped for dog dandruff shampoo or are looking to get something better than what you’ve been using, there are certain things you should look for and certain things you should avoid.
This buying guide aims to help you do this.
Types of Shampoo
There are different kinds of dog shampoos on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to dog dandruff shampoo, there are three different kinds available :
Certified Organic Shampoos: this contains only natural ingredients grown without additives like insecticides or fertilizes. They have a low risk for allergic reactions and are great for sensitive dogs. In order to be one, it has to be certified by a governing body based on their standards. They can come with a more expensive price tag but it might be worth it if your dog has had reactions to cheaper brands.
Chemical-based Shampoos: Usually cheaper than others and widely available in stores and the internet, these are shampoos made of artificial ingredients.
While they may help get your dog clean and may even smell great thanks to the added artificial fragrances, they can do damage to your pet especially if they’re sensitive.
When dealing with dandruff, these might not be the best option since they can dry out your dog’s skin instead of relieving the problem.
Natural Dog Shampoos: These are shampoos that are deemed natural but because there is no legal obligation to reach a standard (like there is for certified organic shampoos) there is a possibility that these shampoos contain artificial ingredients.
This is a case by case basis so it’s always best to read the ingredient labels of these when making a decision. If you see anything questionable that concerns you, it might be best to choose something else.
What to Look For
When looking for a dog shampoo to treat dandruff, you should look for a shampoo that not only cleans your dog but one that will help add moisture to their skin and condition their coat.
When choosing a shampoo, look for these ingredients that are known to be best for this issue:
- Aloe vera
- Antiseptic ingredients
- Vitamin E
What to Avoid
While looking at ingredient labels, there are certain things that you should avoid, too.
These are ingredients that are typically linked to allergic reactions or to making dandruff worse by drying out the skin. Avoid these ingredients when shopping for dog shampoo:
- Artificial colors/dyes
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
What is Organic Dandruff Shampoo for Dogs and Should You Use it?
Organic dandruff shampoo for dogs is simply a dandruff shampoo formulated for dogs made with organic ingredients instead of chemical ingredients.
These are usually just as effective as normal shampoos but aren’t as harsh making them great for dogs with sensitive skin or known allergies.
Using organic shampoo or normal commercial dog shampoo is a personal preference.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s coat and the effects chemical products might have on it, you might be more comfortable choosing an organic shampoo that is less likely to cause irritation.
When dealing with dandruff, natural shampoos tend to have a lot of beneficial ingredients that will nourish your dog’s coat and help relieve itchiness almost immediately.
Ingredients like oatmeal, essential oils, and natural extracts can be used to create effective shampoos that you can use as much as you need to without worrying about adverse effects.
How Often Can You Use Dog Dandruff Shampoo?
The frequency of regular bathing is usually up to you as the owner and should be done on an as-needed basis (if the dog is dirty or starting to smell).
A normal dog without any skin or fur issues should be bathed about once a month unless they get muddy often.
As a rule, most experts recommend no more than one bath a week with a very mild shampoo as frequent bathing can result in dry skin and dandruff.
However, when dealing with dandruff or other skin conditions, this rule can be broken.
Most dandruff shampoos will have their own recommendations on frequency of use suggesting weekly use to combat the condition properly. Similarly, if following a vet’s orders, they might provide you with a schedule of their own for the best treatment.
You might also find that once the initial dandruff is treated, you’ll have to keep up with a set bathing and grooming routine to prevent the reoccurrence of it.
This might mean switching to a preventative shampoo and bathing your dog weekly with that or simply bathing them normally at set intervals.
In the end, see what works for you and your dog and stick to a routine that treats dandruff the best.
Do I Need To Use Conditioner on My Dog?
While dandruff shampoos are meant to keep your dog clean and to get rid of dandruff, conditioners are meant to seal your dog’s coat to help it retain moisture, elasticity, and make it softer to the touch.
A lot of owners skip this step, but it is a good idea to use a conditioner formulated for dry skin in order to help treat your dog’s dandruff.
A conditioner will close your dog’s hair cuticles which will help their coat stay hydrated while also preventing oils from escaping the follicles and residue like allergens and dirt from entering them.
This seal keeps their coat healthier than shampooing alone. Similarly, the ingredients can treat your dog’s skin and prevent it from flaking while also dematting tangled, long fur which can hold dirt, debris, and allergens.
Overall, it’s better to use a conditioner after shampooing your dog. In the case of a dog with dandruff, it’s best to find a conditioner that is made for dry skin and fur.
These options usually have rich formulas full of vitamins and natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe that will nourish your dog’s skin and fur to help it retain moisture while also fighting back against irritation.
You can also find 2-in-1 options that combine shampoo and conditioner in one formula to make bath time quicker.
Can You Use Human Anti-dandruff Shampoo on Dogs?
While most vets recommend using shampoos specifically formulated for dogs, you can safely use human dandruff shampoos on your dog to get rid of or prevent the condition if you don’t have anything else on hand or have had no luck with dog shampoos.
These shampoos contain helpful ingredients like antifungals and antibacterial agents that cannot only treat dandruff but also any underlying fungal or bacterial infections that might be causing dandruff.
Use these shampoos in the same fashion as you would a dog shampoo for the best results.
Precautions to be taken with dandruff shampoo for your dog
We always recommend that you take the advice of your pet whenever you are headed to buy something special for your dog.
In case you want to purchase something without consultation, you should take care of a number of points. For example, your dog may be allergic to a number of chemicals or dye.
To ensure that you do not get products which have those chemicals. Going with shampoos that have natural ingredients is the best method.
- Do not use human shampoos on your dog
- Wash the shampoos off really well to ensure that the chemicals do not remain on the fur
- Try to get a consultation from a vet before proceeding
- Shampoos that have methylisothiazolinone may react with your skin while you bathe your god. Be aware of these chemicals.
- Some spray shampoos have alcohol which is not healthy for dogs.
- Some shampoos may have the opposite effect on your dog like increasing dandruff instead of reducing it
- Find the underlying reason for dandruff and do not just concentrate on curing the symptom.
Stress stands as one of the many reasons that lead to dandruff in dogs. Puppies with less than 4 months of age are prone to developing dandruff out of stress, as their glands have not yet properly developed. Besides stress, other dandruff aggravating factors include parasites, dehydration, over bathing and more.
Dog dandruff is easy to recognize once you examine your pet’s coat. Their dandruff is the size of pepper flecks and is white in color; hence, look for the flakes in your dog’s bed, carpets, bedsheets or sofas. If you shuffle the coat vigorously, you shall notice flakes flying off if your dog is suffering from dandruff issues.
A few baths with a human dandruff shampoo may not hurt your dog; however, making a habit out of this leads to severe consequences. Human dandruff shampoos may be used sparingly and left on your dog’s coat while bathing for a shorter period since the acidity in the shampoo fights dandruff quicker. Nonetheless, the overuse of human products will harm your dog.
As a general rule of thumb, any breed of dog can develop dandruff issues in its lifetime. However, there are two breeds specifically known to suffer from Ichthyosis, an inherited skin condition, which is a primary cause for dandruff in them.
Secondary dog dandruff is caused by conditions that are not associated with the common causes of dandruff in dogs. In this case, you should take your dog to the vet and identify its possible causes like loss of appetite, bleeding skin, open sores, depression or any other such symptoms. There could also be certain medical conditions associated with secondary dog dandruff that require a thorough investigation by your dog’s vet.
Dog dandruff is generally treated as a mild skin problem without entailing any underlying health conditions. However, in some cases, dog dandruff maybe caused by some serious underlying complications, which demand immediate medical care.
Overall, any one of these seven best dog dandruff shampoos can help treat your dog’s dandruff and also keep them clean.
While choosing the best product for your beloved pet can be confusing, hopefully, these reviews offered you some insight into what’s available and will help you make an informed purchase decision.
Remember to read ingredient labels and consider your dog’s individual allergies or sensitivities and always consult your vet for help if you run into issues.
Here are the most popular dandruff shampoos once again for you, check them out on Amazon-
Last update on 2020-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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