What Exactly is Cat Dandruff and How do You Treat It?

People get dandruff, and so do pets. Dandruff in cats is fairly common and it is actually the symptom of another underlying condition, as opposed to being a condition itself. It is a symptom. Dandruff is white flakes of skin that develop in the fur and it is usually caused by a skin condition, such as, seborrhea or even internal issues, like diabetes. More than not, it is harmless for the cat unless you notice a number of other symptoms that seem to be happening at the time your cat is dealing with dandruff. In this case, it is always best to have your cat checked out by its doctor.

Common causes of cat dandruff

Many different issues can spark dandruff to form and it can range from nutritional deficiencies, allergies, a disease, even parasites.

  • Allergies can be airborne or food allergies and either can spark skin irritations that cause dry patchy skin and your cat might start to scratch more often.
  • Poor nutrition can lead to dry skin due to the depletion of pertinent vitamins and nutrients to keep the fur and skin supplied with the essential oils that keep their skin and fur supple.
  • Grooming products can deplete your cat’s fur of the elements that keep it healthy and shiny, and can promote dry skin. Use only high quality products that are made specifically for cats.
  • There are a number of different types of parasites and they affect your cat in different ways, but some of the outcomes with the skin and fur are similar, such as causing dry skin, skin irritations that cause scratching and flaking.
  • Internal illnesses can cause the depletion of vital nutrients that keep the skin intact and healthy. Diabetes, liver problems and others, are all something that should be checked if your cat develops dandruff and other symptoms that concern you.

How do you treat cat dandruff?

If you start to notice white flakes on your cats fur and he has never had an issue with it before, it’s always a good idea to have him checked by his veterinarian to make sure nothing else is going on. Your vet may recommend a variety of treatments to help get it under control and help him feel better. Some of the most common ways to treat cat dandruff include:

  • Medicated shampoos – If your vet determines the flakes are related to a specific skin conditions, such as seborrhea, he will prescribe a shampoo to treat the skin condition, which in turn, will cure the dandruff.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – This is a supplement and can be added to your cat’s food, which is the way any supplement should be given so as not to upset their digestive tract and should only be given under the advice of your cat’s doctor. The Omega 3 fatty acids help to get the right amounts of oils back in their system for healthier skin and fur.
  • Humidifiers – Yes, cats’ skin can get dried out in winter too. If your vet determines this is the cause of your cat’s skin flakes, a humidifier in the cold, dry months helps to put moisture back in the air and moisturize the skin.
  • Moisturizing shampoos – Your vet will recommend the right one, but some pet shampoos strip the natural oils from the skin and are harsh. Moisturizing shampoos are better for cats with dry skin issues. There are also anti-dandruff shampoos for cats that your vet can also recommend.
  • Moisturizers – People aren’t the only ones who can benefit from skin moisturizers, cats can too. Look for moisturizers with oatmeal for soothing effect, and using just a little in your hand, rub through your cat’s fur, down to the skin.
  • Encourage fluids – Your cat may not be drinking enough, which can dry the skin out. Pay attention to how much fluid your cat is taking in and encourage him to drink more often. Try switching water bowls to a fountain-type bowl, which aerates the water, or use a flavoring for the water, such as tuna juice.

The more proactive you are about your cat’s dandruff, the sooner you can help him get rid of the bothersome flakes and not only look healthier, but feel healthier too. This will make for a happier owner and kitty.


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