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What is Dandruff ?
Dandruff is loose dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. These dead cells flake off the surface layer of the skin and get caught in an animal’s fur.
What causes Dandruff ?
Dandruff may be caused by sensitivity to a fungus that is present on the scalp or a fungal infection. Overactive oil glands in the skin may also cause dandruff to occur. Conversely, if there are clogged oil glands the skin can get overly dry and produce dry flakes.
Cold weather and dry environments may also result in dandruff for your pet – as can stress or a weakened immune system. An animal’s coat is the first sign of health and vitality and dandruff can quickly cause an animal’s coat to appear unsightly and unhealthy.
Dandruff may also result from food allergies or intolerances, while itchy skin may lead to scratching and hair loss – producing a patchy coat. Excessive washing of your pet may also result in flaky, dry skin. This happens when the production of natural oils (present on your animal’s skin) is disrupted - to counteract the dry skin caused by frequent washes oil glands produce too much oil.
Diagnosis and treatment will depend on the cause of the dandruff. Most animals will experience dry skin at some point in their lives, and with the right care, most skin problems are easily corrected. Depending on the cause, treatment may involve topical creams (however these may also have the potential for side effects). Your vet may also suggest supplementing omega-3 oils into the diet.
Help for Dandruff
Pet owners often look to natural herbal and homeopathic remedies to help keep their pet’s skin healthy and nourished, supporting natural oil production. Herbs such as Equisetum arvense (an effective tissue tonic due to its high silica content) and Taraxacum officinalis have also been researched for their ability to soothe the skin and keep the skin hydrated.
Fucus vesiculosis is a sea vegetable often used in supplements to support the production of thyroid hormones, necessary for maintaining skin and coat health via thyroid functioning.