Does My Dog Have Dandruff or Mange

Does My Dog Have Dandruff, or is it Mange? What Causes It and How to Treat It

Whether your pet dog is a puppy or an older dog, dandruff is a relatively common occurrence. Dandruff can be caused by skin allergies, nutritional issues, or improper grooming. But occasionally dandruff can be a sign of a parasite called mange. There are three different types of mange:

  • Demodectic Mange (more common)
  • Sarcoptic Mange (more common)
  • Cheyletiella Mange (common in puppies in shelters or kennels)

Demodectic mange, also known as red mange or demodex, is caused by an overgrowth of Demodex canis mites. This mite is normally present in small numbers on all dogs and rarely affects them adversely. Sometimes however, there can be an overabundance of these mites causing skin irritation which can lead to hair loss, bald spots, scabbing, sores and redness. Demodectic mange is not contagious, however, if you suspect your dog has Demodectic mange, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sarcoptic Mange, also known as scabies, is highly contagious and can be spread from dog to dog and can pass from dogs to humans, although it doesn’t thrive on non-dog hosts. Sarcoptic is caused by a different type of mite. A female mite will burrow into your dog’s skin and lay eggs. After about 3 weeks, the eggs hatch and feed on your dog’s skin. Sarcoptic mange causes severe skin irritation and scratching, chewing of the affected area, hair loss usually around the legs and belly area, redness, rashes or scabs and sometimes thick, dark skin patches on your dog. The good news is Sarcoptic Mange is treatable with a topical lotion or alternatively using oral medications that kill mites. You dog may also need antibiotics, cortisone and/or a medicated shampoo to treat secondary infections and itching.

Please consult a medical professional before attempting any treatment.

Cheyletiella Mange, is a less common type of mange, also known as walking dandruff. This type of mange is caused by the Cheyletiella mite. The mites move around under the thin layer of scales of a dog’s skin, which gives an appearance of something “walking” and moving. Cheyletiella mange is more common in puppies or younger dogs in a kennel or shelter where they live in close quarters and come in direct contact with other infected dogs. Cheyletiella mange is highly contagious and a mite lives in the top layer of skin for 5 to 6 weeks 1.

If you suspect your dog has Cheyletiella mange look for the following symptoms:

  • Scaly skin, primarily located on the back
  • The first layer of skin may appear to move or “walk”
  • Itching, mild to severe
  • Most commonly seen in puppies living in a shelter or kennel

The most common treatment for Cheyletiella mange is medicated baths given once a week to remove the scales and mites. A lime-sulfur rinses are used in puppies while pyrethrins or organophosphates may be used in adult dogs. Selenium sulphide shampoo can also be used as can topical ointments to relieve irritated skin. If you suspect your pet has Cheyletiella mange, take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dandruff in Dogs

Dandruff in dogs is the accumulation of dead skin cells on your dog’s fur. These are the white flakes you see on your dog’s coat when they scratch or shake. These white flakes are dead skin cells called dandruff. This happens when the sebaceous glands in the dog’s skin produce excess oil which in turn causes irritation, resulting in excessive shedding of skin cells.

There are several causes of dandruff in dogs including:

  • Allergies,
  • Vitamin deficiency,
  • Hormone imbalance,
  • Immune-related issues,
  • Diet

If you see dandruff on your dog, it could be a sign of a problem. Fortunately, most causes aren’t serious and improve rapidly with simple treatments.

In some instances, dogs can have conditions called primary or secondary seborrhea. Primary seborrhea is genetic and uncommon in dogs. Secondary seborrhea is very common in dogs and is typically caused by an underlying skin condition. Endocrine diseases, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, may also be underlying causes of dandruff. Skin infections (dermatitis) often result in dandruff. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. Yeast infections are among the most common causes of dandruff. Some internal parasites can lead to inflammation of the skin. This inflammation can further lead to the skin drying out and causing dandruff. External parasites such as ticks, mites, and fleas can lead to excessive scratching. This can lead to flaking of the skin and, eventually, dandruff.

Dandruff Treatment

The treatment of dandruff in dogs depends on the underlying cause. For instance, if the dandruff is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, medicated shampoos can help. In some cases, improving your dog’s diet or giving omega fatty acid and vitamin supplements can help with dandruff. Bathing with specialized shampoos can help with bacterial or fungal infections.

If you see your dog’s skin peeling or flaking, chances are that it is dandruff. Flakes are caused by low moisture levels in the skin and can cause excessive Itching. If you see your dog scratching more than usual, it is best to take them to a vet for an evaluation and dandruff treatment.

While dandruff in dogs may seem like a minor issue at first glance, it could be an indication of an underlying health problem that requires attention from a veterinarian. Pet owners should keep an eye out for symptoms such as excessive itching, redness of the skin, white flakes and take their furry friends to a vet for treatment if they notice any signs of dandruff.

Greatest Puppy Training Tips of All Time

Greatest Puppy Training Tips of All Time

There are so many tips and tricks for training your puppy it’s easy to get lost. Here are some of the ones that worked the best for us: Warm water bottle To help your puppy feel comfortable in their...

read more
Top Reason NOT To Get a Dog

Top Reason NOT To Get a Dog

A new dog may not be right for you Everyone thinks that getting a new dog or puppy is nothing but fun, however owning a dog is a big committment of both time and resources. Dogs need a lot of...

read more