This is probably a stupid question, but… What causes pet dander? Is it genetic, or is there a remedy for it, such as a good shampoo/conditioner/food, or a combination of all?
Bruno has a bunch of dander although his coat is super soft and shiny, and his skin looks good. I give him a sardine about once a week and coconut oil every other day, which should both help with skin/coat issues. I try to only bathe him with shampoo and conditioner once a month, but I shower him with just warm water after particularly dirty dog park days, so about once a week. He was furminated on Friday and given a full bath.
Dander is doggy Dandruff, dry flaky skin, he needs more omega 3 in his diet, also instead of just giving his 1 sardine a week, give him 1 sardine a day, Oatmeal shampoo for dogs is best for dandruff, ur local pet store would sell it, when u shower him once a week shampoo & conditioner with the oatmeal shampoo & conditioner that way ur moisturizing his skin. The shampoo + condictioner ur using is probably drying out his skin..also brush him once a day this promotes oil production. he needs a good diet with vitamins & minerals including fatty acids which will help moisturize the skin & stop the flaking…
Sue66b, thank you for the advice! I can definitely increase the sardine intake and the coconut oil too, I can maybe alternate 1 day sardine, 1 day coconut oil? And I use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap – Almond on him, it is supposed to be oil-based and not dry up his skin… And I use oatmeal conditioner after, but I can switch to doggie oatmeal shampoo to try it out. I was trying not to use shampoo every week when I wash the dog park dirt off so that I don’t dry his skin up too much… But I can if needed. I can also start brushing him daily, it will help with his shedding too.
I am also going to begin switching him to a fish-based food (Earthborn Coastal Catch) in a few days/week, so there will be even more Omegas and oils in his daily intake.
Thank you again, Sue, and any other advice will be also much appreciated! 🙂
Dander isn’t always from dry skin. Dogs with seborrhea have greasy skin and lots of dander. It can be from skin irritation too, so be really careful with the Furminator, they are known for causing skin irritation. Does his white skin look pink? Is the dander coming up in certain places or all over?
For his size, a whole sardine every other day may prove to be a bit much, and you may want to try and see if getting the omegas into him consistantly helps, so you might want to try giving a third of one every day for a while and see if that helps. I would also try giving the coconut oils in smaller amounts more often.
I would probably agree with smaller, more consistent amounts of Omegas. My lab used to get the same problem – greasy skin AND dandruff. I figured “oh she’s just a lab, the grease is normal.” So I increased her fish oil intake. It somewhat helped with the dandruff, but then she has really nasty skin. Now she’s on a good routine and almost never gets the dandruff or grease.
Patty and Shasta, thank you as well for the suggestions! On occasion I do wonder if his skin/coat is actually greasy because it is so shiny, but I felt over him and it feels dry enough. Then again, he was recently bathed after all… The dander is mostly in his head, scruff and upper back fur. When I bathe him I have better access to his skin (his coat is really thick when dry, so I can hardly see the skin on his back), and it is always light pink, but so is his skin all over, except for the darker speckles on his tummy.
Also, I think smaller, consistent intakes can prove to be better. I was trying not to overload him by giving more sardines/week, or coconut oil, but I can put like 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in 2 of his daily feedings, and split a sardine in 3 and feed a piece daily in his second feeding of the day.
As for the Furminator, I try to be careful not to scratch his skin too much, but I don’t know if I am or not… It REALLY helps with his crazy shedding so if there is another type of brush that will be better and not so harsh, yet still help with shedding, please let me know!
Those sound like areas where he is scratching himself, that means the dander is from skin damage. He has short hair, right? You know those flat rubber gripper things for opening jars? Rub him down with one of those. Or a curry comb, something rubber.
Patty, I do have one of them rubber brushing Kong things, I usually use it before the Furminator. I can make it the only tool I use for brushing too.
Also, I think that he has short hair, but roommate says his hair is long, just lays really flat. What is considered short/long hair in dogs? Bruno should be, at our best guess, a Jack Russell-Rat Terrier-Chihuahua mix.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Naturella.
I’d say his fur is short. Terriers/Chihuahuas in general have short hair. Personally, I’d consider “short” to be anything under maybe 1-2 inches, then “medium” might be 2-4″, and long is anything past that. It does sound more like a skin-damage issue rather than diet (because you take INCREDIBLE care of what goes in his bowl, I’d say!). Do you ever notice him scratch himself, or does he get “scratchy” petting by people? If I scratch my lab too much (and that’s her fave way to be pet, she’d let you do it all day! Between the scratching and the butt-thumping, she’s in doggie heaven LOL!), then sometimes she’ll get a little flaky.
If it’s not too much, I honestly wouldn’t be super concerned about it unless it gets out of hand and appears overly damaging. Keeping up with anti-dandruff shampoos/conditioners are definitely good as well.
Shasta, thank you as well! You know, I think his hair is less than 2 inches for sure, so I guess he is short-haired. Also, he wouldn’t usually scratch himself, I think I have seen him do it no more than 3 times/week… I don’t know if that’s a lot though. I do know that in the past, he has had a serious flea infestation, with falling-off-fur and skin sores. All of that is cleared up now, but could the pet dander be a remnant of that, along with the occasional scratching?
Also, sorry to be too technical, but what is too much pet dander? Right after brushing you could easily see it on his black spots, but after the bath, I REALLY have to look for it… I wasn’t really concerned, but my “dog whisperer” of a roommate said something about it, so I had to make sure I am still on top of doing what’s best for my baby.
Also, when you say anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, you mean dog ones, correct?
Long haired chihuahuas have shorter hair than some shorthaired large breeds, so you can’t just go by length. A shorthaired toy breed should have hair under 1 inch, so he might be medium haired. Both JRTs and Rat Terriers can be wirehaired which is longer than shorthaired. You will have to be the best judge for our purposes. Even a medium coated breed would benefit from the rubber kong brush, they just grab long hair too much, of course that may be what you need at this point.
If he is very sensitive to flea bites, to the point where he has given himself sores in the past, that could be the cause of the dander. He could have very sensitive skin and have a mild allergic reaction to flea bites. Unfortunately with bite allergies, one bite can trigger a reaction that doesn’t completely go away for a week or more.
As for what is too much dander, at any given time, I can see a couple flakes on my completely normal dog, but it would be odd for me to see enough to be sure where it was coming from, or to see more than just a few flakes at one time on his whole body. BUT, some dogs do naturally have more dander than that, so if you aren’t seeing a bunch of flakes every time you rub his fur the wrong way, then your “expert” may just be overreacting.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by theBCnut.
Ah yes, I forgot Patty’s fact there: it’s also gonna depend hugely on breed and size. Definitely sounds like Bruno has medium-short hair.
Patty and Shasta,
I can’t believe how much I learn, every day…
So, I think Bruno is medium-haired. His coat is thick, and lays pretty flat. Could it be wiry if it lays flat? Or does it have to be kind of unruly-wavy-like?
I don’t know about the flea-bite allergy – when he had the fleas and sores, another couple was taking care of him at the time. But it is possible. Like I said, he sometimes scratches, but not too much.
And ok, so I just grabbed the dog (gently, lol), and stroke his fur the opposite way of growth. All over. I see NOTHING. His skin looks white, and in his black patches I see NO dander at ALL.
When my roommate said he has too much dander was right after Bru was raked with the Furminator, so I would assume that that scratched his skin and got the dead cells up and out. Well, today he is as clean, soft, and smooth as can be. So I will just continue my regimen of coconut oil and sardines, maybe just make it so that I give smaller doses more often. And use the Kong Brush once a week or so, just to keep the shedding down. But with that, I will pretty much not take to heart just about anything this dude (my roommate) tells me about my dog. (I was going to say “ignore” instead of “not take to heart”, but you never know, and in that one time out of a million, he may say something true/right… So I will keep an ear out and a polite nod in stock, but not much more unless I see reasons for it.)
Anyway, thank you all for the patience, tons of knowledge, and help! You all are awesome! 🙂
It sounds like everything is perfectly fine with him then… The furminator possibly was a little damaging, but dogs (all animals) constantly shed skin, so some dander here and there (as long as it isn’t paired with the scratching, and Bru’s doesn’t seem to be) is totally normal.
Give Bru a big hug for me! =D
Yeah, I think he should be fine. And I won’t panic even if he had a little bit – unless he was also scratching like crazy.
I will use the Kong Brush for the most part, and only furminate him if the shedding is really bad (like it was when I did it last week).
Anyway, thank you all again! 🙂
Gemma is my sheltie. Her coat is beautiful, shiny yet when I brush her, the grooming table has lots of white on it after. No idea and I gave up worrying about it.
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