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Dog Dandruff and Hair Loss

by Cindi
(Michigan, USA)

When August came around this year, my dog developed excessive dandruff and hair loss. His skin looks good no rash, no bugs.


We have washed him three times with the recommended organic oatmeal/aloe dog shampoo but the dandruff seems to just come right back. He does not itch himself but when I scratch him he seems to really like it and now does that tickle thing with the leg. He was never ticklish before.

He is a Rottweiller/Shepard mix that is 12 years old and has been very healthy his entire life (we are fortunate). This summer has been hot here in Michigan so during the weekends I would let the dog play in the water and spray him.

I have been giving him fish oil pills to try to add oil to his skin and coat and that had not helped. On the weekend grandma gives him cooked eggs on Sat and Sun.

I tried to take a picture but could not get a good one of his skin. Of course it is very white and looks good, just the flaking. He eats Nutro Natural Choice dog food and their biscuits. The first ingredients in this food is ground rice and chicken meal, rice bran wheat flour. When I was comparing this food with other more expensive brands with a lot of claim, the ingredients seem to be the same i.e. Tocopherolos.

Any suggestions?

Comments for Dog Dandruff and Hair Loss

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Sep 06, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Dandruff and Hair Loss
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindi,
What you are describing is a dog that has been on a lifetime of dry food. Now he has excessively dry skin, with dandruff, hair loss and mild itching (due to the dryness).

You wrote,
"He eats Nutro Natural Choice dog food and their biscuits. The first ingredients in this food is ground rice and chicken meal, rice bran wheat flour. When I was comparing this food with other more expensive brands with a lot of claim, the ingredients seem to be the same i.e. Tocopherolos".

Fresh chicken and 'chicken meal' are very different in moisture content. And the grain adds no moisture. To improve your dog's skin, and his OVERALL health, you will need to change (best to do a gradual transition) to a good canned dog food or, better yet, a completely raw dog food diet.

Perhaps, a gradual switch to Nutro canned food may be easier, and then a gradual transition to a raw diet.

Also, instead of 'dry' biscuits, offer him some baby carrots or pieces of apple or cantaloupe. The Tocopherols ingredient is another name for Vitamin E. You can give him tartar control treats or dental chews to help his teeth.

If you do not see any improvement in his hair coat after a change to a diet with more moisture content, then add Omega 3 Fish oils, about 1,000-2,000 mg to his food two times daily.

In the meantime, giving him a coconut oil massage, let the coconut oil stay on him for 2-3 hours to soak in, then use Dawn Dish Soap to shampoo him if he is still greasy, followed by the Oatmeal shampoo. If he is NOT greasy, and all the coconut oil soaked into his skin, just give him the oatmeal shampoo. This can be done one time per week for 3-4 weeks, while you are adjusting his diet, then as needed.

If STILL no improvement, then I suggest a complete blood panel, heartworm test and fecal to rule out low thyroid, Cushing's Disease, parasites or any other health issue (especially since he is 12 years old).

Some other supplements that may be helpful would be some that provide immune support, but it would depend on the results of his blood panel on what to recommend. A holistic veterinarian could also guide you in suggestions with a physical exam.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Sep 06, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Dandruff and Hair Loss PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindi,
Here is the rest of my response.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section


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