The Best Dog Dandruff Shampoos To Treat Itchy, Dry Skin

Say goodbye to flakes ❄️

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Have you ever noticed white flakes in your dog’s fur when you pet him?

That’s probably dandruff. Dogs can get dandruff, just like people can, and there are even dandruff shampoos made just for dogs.

The Dodo spoke to Helen Schaefer, a national certified master groomer and a certified canine esthetician with Heart + Paw, to find out what a dog dandruff shampoo is and how to find the best one for your pup.

Groomer-recommended dandruff shampoos:

Best dog dandruff shampoo for seborrhea and skin infections:

Best dog dandruff shampoo for clogged pores:

Best-smelling dog dandruff shampoo:

Why do dogs get dandruff?


Sometimes dogs get dandruff because of common health issues, like dry skin or allergies.

“There are simple, everyday things that can trigger dandruff, such as turning on the heat in winter,” Schaefer told The Dodo.

According to Schaefer, having a poor or incomplete diet can also cause skin issues, like dandruff, in dogs.

Dandruff can even be a sign of serious underlying health issues, such as pemphigus (an autoimmune skin disease), hypothyroidism, seborrhea (a skin disease), bacterial and fungal infections, or Cheyletiella mites (aka walking dandruff).

If your dog has one of these conditions, he’ll need additional treatment and potentially a prescription shampoo. So if your dog’s showing any other symptoms in addition to dandruff, talk to your vet to see if there’s something else going on.

What does dog dandruff look like?


Dog dandruff looks similar to human dandruff. You’ll see little white flakes in your dog’s fur, but if your dog has light hair, it could be harder to spot. In that case, you might see flakes in your dog’s bedding or other areas where he likes to hang out.

How to get rid of dog dandruff


Finding the right dandruff shampoo for your pup’s a good first step toward getting rid of his dandruff.

According to Schaefer, “Using a high-quality shampoo and conditioner can help greatly in restoring the skin’s mantle [the skin barrier] balance.”

In addition to shampoo, making sure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs is super important for keeping his coat healthy.

“Good nutrition is key to healthy skin and coat,” Schaefer said. “Offering your dog a supplement or chew that has both omega-3 and omega-6 can help reduce any inflammation and ensure that your pet has an adequate amount of these essential nutrients.”

You can get these Zesty Paws Omega Bites from Amazon for $26.97

How to find the best dandruff shampoo for dogs


According to Schaefer, some ingredients to look for in dandruff shampoos for dogs include alpha hydroxy acid and salicylic acid. “These will help gently exfoliate the old dead flakes off and reduce any greasiness and will most likely be in any vet-prescribed shampoo,” Schaefer said.

Dandruff shampoos should also include humectants, which are substances, such as oatmeal and aloe, that attract and retain moisture in the skin.

And a tip from Schaefer about shampoos that contain oatmeal is to look for colloidal oatmeal in the ingredients. “This means that the oatmeal is small enough to be suspended throughout the shampoo,” Schaefer said, which makes it more moisturizing.

“Another great ingredient to look for is zinc pyrithione,” Schaefer said. “This is a common ingredient in human dandruff shampoos, but the percentage in human versus pet shampoos is different, so I do not recommend reaching for the Head & Shoulders!”

Zinc pyrithione has antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties and is used to treat dandruff.

Best dog dandruff shampoo

Groomer-recommended dog dandruff shampoo: Green Groom DandRUFF Dog Shampoo

This dandruff shampoo is biodegradable, made with all-natural ingredients and is soap- and cruelty-free, so you can feel good about using it on your pup. It’s pH balanced for dogs and made with zinc pyrithione. It’ll leave your dog smelling like baby powder, too. 

Groomer-recommended dog dandruff shampoo: Davis Pramoxine Anti-Itch Dog and Cat Shampoo

This dandruff shampoo contains 1 percent pramoxine hydrochloride, which can stop itching fast if your pup’s scratching himself excessively. It also has colloidal oatmeal to moisturize your dog’s skin and prevent dryness caused by many skin issues and diseases, such as seborrhea. 

Groomer-recommended dog dandruff shampoo: Davis Oatmeal and Aloe Dog and Cat Shampoo

This hypoallergenic dog dandruff shampoo is perfect for dogs with allergies. Aloe soothes skin irritation while the oatmeal moisturizes. It doesn’t include any soap, so it won’t remove topical flea and tick treatments. It also has a yummy apple fragrance, so your pup will smell super fresh after you bathe him with this shampoo. 

Best dog dandruff shampoo for seborrhea and skin infections: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo

This medicated dog shampoo contains coal tar, salicylic acid and micronized sulfur to treat dandruff caused by seborrhea and parasitic, bacterial and fungal infections. It’s pH balanced for dogs and paraben-, dye- and soap-free, plus it includes colloidal oatmeal to moisturize your dog’s skin. It’s even safe to use with topical flea and tick treatments, so you won’t have to worry about reapplying them.

Best dog dandruff shampoo for clogged pores: Pet MD - Benzoyl Peroxide Medicated Shampoo

This dog shampoo relieves dry and itchy skin with benzoyl peroxide, micronized sulfur and salicylic acid. It unplugs clogged hair follicles and pores and kills bacteria on contact to prevent future irritation. Plus, it has a citrus scent that will make your pup smell great.

Best smelling dog dandruff shampoo: Hartz Groomer's Best Professionals Anti-Dandruff Jasmine & Citrus Scent Dog Shampoo

You’ll love the jasmine and citrus scent of this dandruff shampoo (and your dog might, too). It has no parabens or alcohol and uses salicylic acid to treat dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis.