Why Does My Puppy Have Dandruff

Why Does My Puppy Have Dandruff?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dandruff is more common in puppies than in older dogs. Because puppies' sebaceous glands are still developing, they produce an oil that keeps their coats looking shiny and slick. Often, as your pup gets older, these glands become more developed, resulting in less dandruff.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Does My Puppy Have Dandruff?“.

My vet and I had quite a heated discussion about puppy dandruff about 11 years ago.

Why Does My Puppy Have Dandruff

It seems that puppy dandruff is not high on the list of things to get angry about.

A litter of seven Golden Retriever puppies had just been born so we took them to the vet for a check-up.

In addition if you have never had a litter of puppies you will not have experienced the joyous chaos of taking a litter to the veterinarian.

The whole experience was just crazy from making sure they are all safe and happy in the car to ensuring that they do not get lost during the appointment.

What caused my disagreement with the vet?

In fact the puppies were there for a checkup and to receive their first injection. 

It was fine- the puppies were all healthy and strong but the vet was concerned about a couple of them having too much dandruff. So he took samples sent them for testing and did not vaccinate them until the results came back. 

In response I told him that he was worrying unnecessarily and that he should go ahead with the vaccinations.

Usually I do not argue with vets but I did on this occasion since I had noticed dandruff a few days before and discussed it with the very experienced breeder we had used. 

It is common for golden retrievers to have dandruff when they are young and the breeder attributes it to the high protein content in their diet. 

I find it funny that all these years later I am writing about it now.

Do not worry- the article goes into much more detail than my conversation with the vet!

Is it common for puppies to have dandruff?

Puppy dandruff is not uncommon in fact many puppies suffer from dry skin and flaking which is more noticeable on puppies with dark fur since the whitish skin flakes are more visible on dark fur. There are a number of reasons why puppies develop dandruff. 

Dandelions are caused by dry skin and this is true for dogs of all ages not just puppies.

Puppies younger than 4 months are more prone to dry skin because their sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands on the skin) produce fewer oils than they need. 

When the sebaceous glands mature they become more capable of lubricating the skin but some puppies can still have dry skin due to insufficient lubrication.

Dead skin cells become flaky and white when they dry up. A dogs skin can become extremely dry as a result of extremely dry air or extremely warm temperatures which interfere with the dogs normal skin condition and result in dandruff. 

Itching hair loss and severe discomfort are not common symptoms of dandruff in puppies.

You should consult a vet if you notice your puppy has severe dandruff hair loss and itchiness because your dog may have a severe skin infection. 

Why does my puppy have dandruff?

A puppy may have dandruff for several reasons. The main reason is due to insufficient natural oils however other factors such as a heated environment can affect a dogs skin and cause severe flaking and dandruff.

However dandruff can also be caused by an underlying health problem or a skin infection especially if it causes significant hair loss and severe itching.

A puppy may have dandruff for a number of reasons;

Skin infections

Additionally dandruff can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.

Itchy skin dry and flaky skin greasy patches and irritation are all symptoms of parasitic infestations. Parasites like fleas lice and cheyletiella mites will inhabit dogs sucking their blood and laying their eggs in their fur.

Dandruff can be caused by these parasites.

The eggs laid by Cheyletiella mites in the fur of a dog resemble whitish flakes of skin; this is similar to dandruff and is known as “walking dandruff.”. 

Environmental factors 

A dogs fur sheds every once in a while but their environment is either very warm or cold this can adversely affect their skin.

Low humidity and dry air can affect a dogs skin condition causing extreme dryness and flaking which is exactly what causes dandruff.

A particularly warm environment can also affect a dogs skin in a similar way.

As a result dry air and very warm temperatures can cause a dogs skin to become flaky and itchy. 

Poor diet

Skin and coat health is greatly influenced by the diet of dogs.

A dogs skin will suffer if they do not get the right minerals vitamins healthy fats and enough water. Consequently their coat turns dull and has dandruff or white scales.

Dogs need high-quality proteins in their diet because they are directly responsible for healthy skin and fur. 

A dogs diet should also contain vitamin A since it regulates sebum production and promotes healthy skin growth.

For a healthy dogs skin fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6 are also very important in addition to proteins and vitamin A. 

Health Conditions

It is possible for certain conditions to have skin-related symptoms such as skin flaking and dandruff.

Symptoms such as skin scaling and dandruff can be caused by hypothyroidism which is basically under-active thyroid glands. 

How do you get rid of puppy dandruff?

Skin scales and dandruff on a dog can be caused by diet weather infections and other health conditions.

Normally the very first step in treating dandruff is improving your dogs grooming and improving their diet with all the essential nutrients they need.

These steps will help you get your puppys dandruff under control if it has it. 

More baths with special shampoos

Dog shampoos are made specifically to moisturize a dogs skin and improve its fur condition.

Dogs with dandruff can benefit from a moisturizing shampoo that soothes irritation caused by dry skin and moisturizes the skin to prevent the appearance of dry skin flakes.

You should get your puppy a puppy shampoo and make sure you follow the instructions on how to use it.


By brushing your dogs skin you will be able to distribute the natural oils produced by his skin evenly. Using a brush on your dogs fur can stimulate blood flow to the skin which encourages the production of natural skin oils.

Taking the time to thoroughly brush your dogs fur on a daily basis will help reduce your dogs dandruff. Use a dog brush thats tailored to your dogs fur type.

Improve your dog’s diet

Ensure that you pay more attention to the contents of your dogs food if you want to prevent dandruff. Your dog needs a healthy amount of easily digestible high-quality proteins and vitamin A to stay healthy. 

You should also make sure that your dogs food includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

If you do not think your dogs food contains these fatty acids you can use pet supplements to ensure hes getting what he needs to stay healthy and maintain a dandruff-free coat.

Consult with your vet

Dandruff that is severe should not be managed at home since it may be a physical manifestation of a health issue.

Donot assume that you can handle your pups intense itching dandruff and hair loss if they are very uncomfortable.

Consult your veterinarian to determine if your pets condition may be caused by an allergy a parasite atopic dermatitis or another medical condition. 

How can I prevent puppy dandruff?

Dog dandruff prevention can be similar to treating the condition regular grooming and a better diet should be taken seriously. 

You can prevent puppy dandruff by following these tips:

  • Brush the fur of your puppy every day
  • Include nutrients that are essential to healthy skin and coat in your pets diet
  • Pet supplements like fish oil cod liver oil etc. can also ensure that your pet receives all essential nutrients.
  • Regular weekly baths with a moisturizing shampoo can also help.
  • You should always make sure that your puppy is in a comfortable environment. Your pups sleeping area should not be too hot or too cold
  • In addition you can consult your vet for advice on how to improve the skin and hair of your dog.

Home remedies for puppy dandruff

Your puppy may have dandruff if he does not have any infections or medical conditions. In this case you can easily address the problem by making some lifestyle changes for your puppy.

Your puppys dandruff can be treated with these 5 home remedies.

Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids: Both of these fatty acids are essential to maintaining healthy skin and fur on your puppy. You should include them in the puppys diet. 

Sunflower or safflower oil: A teaspoon of fresh sunflower oil or safflower oil per day will help your puppy maintain healthy skin and a beautiful coat.

Use moisturizing oils: If the puppys natural oils are not sufficient moisturizing oils can help prevent dry skin.

Oatmeal bath: Ground oatmeal can relieve dry skin flakes and skin allergies in dogs. Itchy skin and dry skin in dogs can be treated with an oatmeal mask or shampoo

Aloe Vera gel: aloe vera gel soothes the dry and flaking skin of a dog as well as prevents itching and dandruff. Dry skin flakes can be prevented and treated with aloe vera gel due to their moisturizing properties.


Dogs with seborrhea or dandruff can suffer from skin that is very dry or oily. Also it may be caused by a dog skin infection or a sign of an underlying medical condition. Even though puppy dandruff is not uncommon its not normal for a puppy to have dandruff. 

There is something wrong either with their diet allergies weather environment or skin condition. Dandruff can be controlled by improving a puppys diet and ensuring better grooming with special shampoos and moisturizing oils. A puppy who is suffering from severe dandruff intense itching and hair loss should be examined by a veterinarian.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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