Dandruff in dogs causes diagnosis treatment

Examinations and diagnosis for dogs with dandruffNaturally, you can very well go to your family veterinarian if your dog has dandruff. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I would like to mention here that there are also specialists in veterinary medicine for skin diseases. Especially in very severe cases or when the family veterinarian is no longer able to help, they can be a great help. We have for you a List of veterinary specialists for dermatology in Germany compiled to help you find an expert.

As with every visit to the vet, the first step is an examination Preliminary discussion and a general clinical examination. Here, the vet will look to see if the dog is otherwise well and if he notices any other changes besides the dandruff (e.g.B. enlarged lymph nodes).

It may also be that your veterinarian – depending on the age, previous report and results of the general examination – a blood and/or urine test conducted. Thus, indications of many diseases, such as z.B. Hypothyroidism or Cushing's syndrome, should be obtained.

Skin examination

Of course, in the case of dandruff, the veterinarian must also take a closer look at your dog's skin. Depending on the suspected cause, various examinations may be considered in addition to just looking at it.

Parasite search

As described above, various parasites can be responsible for the dandruff. And if your dog has such small lodgers, they should be found of course – because they are not only unpleasant for your quadruped, but under circumstances also contagious for other animals and humans.

There are various examination methods that can be used here – depending on the suspected type of parasite. In the simplest case, your veterinarian simply presses a piece of Tape on the skin resp. the fur of your dog. So some skin cells and possibly parasites stick to it and can be examined under the microscope afterwards.

Sometimes (z.B. in case of suspicion of Sarcoptes- or Demodex mites) it may also be necessary to perform a so-called skin scraping carry out. This is where the vet carefully scrapes your dog's skin with a scalpel (don't worry, it's less bad than it sounds). The small parasites can often be detected in the skin samples obtained in this way.

Unfortunately, these examinations are sometimes (z.B. in the case of Sarcoptes mites) are only conclusive in positive cases – a negative result does not exclude an infestation. Often, therefore, even in the case of a negative finding, a trial treatment with an agent against mites is carried out as a precautionary measure.

Cytological examination

To find out if there is an infection with bacteria or yeast fungi, as already described above, a piece of Adhesive tape or a Slide (a small glass platelet) be pressed onto the skin.

In both cases, the veterinarian can then see under the microscope whether an infection is present and which pathogens are present. This is important to know – because of course the infection must be fought (and as targeted as possible).

skin fungus examination

Especially with relatively delimited, hairless areas with dandruff (and even more so if other animals or humans are affected), it should be examined whether a skin fungus is behind it.

The simplest and quickest methods are the examination of some plucked out hairs under the microscope (so called "hair examination"). Trichogram) and the examination with a special UV lamp (Wood's lamp). Unfortunately, both examinations are not 100% conclusive, they can only give first indications.

Dandruff in dogs causes diagnosis treatment

Therefore, if a skin fungus is suspected, a so called. Fungal culture be initiated. Here the fungi are grown on a special nutrient medium. This examination is very reliable, but unfortunately it takes some time (up to 4 weeks) until a result is available.

Further examinations

Depending on the suspicion of the veterinarian, however, can still be other examinations be necessary, z.B. a Determination of thyroid hormones, an ultrasound examination of the abdomen or the removal of a tie sample from the skin (biopsy).

Treatment of dandruff in dogs

In most cases dandruff in dogs is not a disease, but a symptom – d.h. they are caused by something. So the best way to get rid of the dandruff is to treat the root cause or. to remedy.

Possible measures that you z.B. in case of dandruff caused by dry air or shampooing at home, you will find below under "What you can do yourself".

If, on the other hand, an underlying disease (z.B. If your vet detects a parasite, hypothyroidism or bacterial infection, it must of course be treated with a shampoo treated appropriately are.

Supportive dandruff treatment for dogs

However, there are a few additional measures that often work very well to support dogs with dandruff.

Often special, medical shampoos used. These contain special active ingredients such as sulfur, salicylic acid or ethyl lactate and often work very well. Your veterinarian will recommend a shampoo that exactly matches your dog's skin condition, and will also explain to you exactly how and how often you should use it.

There are also caring sprays. Here is a disadvantage that they are often not easy to get on the skin with dense fur.

Another – and in the application very simple – possibility are special spot on preparations (z.B. Allerderm® Spot On from Virbac or Dermoscent® Essential 6 Spot On from Selectavet). These contain many nurturing ingredients (such as.B. ceramides) and z. B. also essential fatty acids. Experience has shown that they often work very well. also essential fatty acids and, according to experience, often work very well. They are simply applied to the dog's skin in several places, similar to a tick/flea remedy. spread from there over the entire surface of the body.

In some cases it can also help, essential fatty acids (z.B. in the form of fish oil or linseed oil) to be added to the feed.

Please be guided in the selection of an appropriate product (v.a. for shampoos) necessarily Advised by your veterinarian. Some products are suitable z.B. rather with greasy than with dry skin. An incorrect selection can then quickly have an opposite effect and exacerbate the problem even more!

You can do it yourself

If you suspect that dry heating air is behind your dog's dandruff (or at least exacerbates it), setting up a Humidifiers* be a simple solution.

If, on the other hand, your dog frequently shampooing, you can try to reduce the frequency, change to a mild, nourishing shampoo and/or use a care product afterwards.

If your dog suffers from flaky Couch calluses, a caring cream or ointment (z.B. the LILA LOVES IT Paw Care* or the Jean K. – vet® Paw Balm*) may be helpful.

And finally of course good, balanced (!) food important that contains all necessary vitamins, trace elements and essential fatty acids.


Miller, W., Griffin, C., Campbell, K.: Muller& Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology 7 th edition. Elsevier, 2013.

Noli, C., Scarampella, F.: Practical dermatology in dogs and cats. Schlutter publishing company, 2005.

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