Help! My Cat Has Dandruff

Here's how to handle those flakes in his fur 🙀

cat dandruff

Have you ever noticed any small, white flakes in your cat’s skin, fur or bedding? This actually might be dandruff (cats can get dandruff, just like humans!), and he might need your help getting his skin healthy again!

While a small amount of dandruff on the skin or fur is definitely normal, if it becomes too much, you’ll want to be in touch with your veterinarian for the best way to treat cat dandruff. Though, most of the time, dandruff in cats isn’t actually serious, along with flaky skin, it can cause itchiness and dryness, which can be uncomfortable for your cat.

For more insight on why your cat may get dandruff and what you can do to help ease his discomfort, we spoke to Ashley Callihan, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet.

Why cat dandruff occurs

Dandruff can happen for various reasons, according to Callihan:

  • Lack of grooming
  • Dry coat
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Dander buildup
  • External parasites
  • Skin infections
  • Some types of cancer, such as cutaneous lymphoma

Another condition, nicknamed walking dandruff, is caused by a skin mite called cheyletiella. This can be avoided by using reliable flea and tick prevention medication.

Treatment options for cat dandruff

The good news is that, in most cases, cat dandruff can be easily treated, but varies depending on the cause.

“For example, if the dandruff is the result of a skin infection, antifungal or antibiotics may be required to get the infection and the dandruff cleared up,” Callihan told The Dodo. “The same goes for external parasites. Once the parasites are treated and completely gone, the dandruff should resolve.”

Though cats don’t particularly enjoy being bathed, a shampoo with aloe and oatmeal can help bring life and moisture back into the coat and get rid of the dry skin and dandruff.

“Adding omega-3 supplements into meals can also help bring moisture back into the coat,” Callihan said. “Regular brushing is also important, as it will distribute your cat’s natural oils throughout the rest of the coat, as well as some over-the-counter shampoos and supplements.”

Callihan’s recommendations include:

Will cat dandruff come back after treatment?

Depending on the cause of the dandruff, it can be cured completely. If the cause is external parasites or a skin infection, the dandruff should resolve itself after treatment.

“However, if the cause is allergies or stress, then the dandruff is likely to return when the allergies or stress come back,” Callihan said.

Lack of grooming can result from a few different issues, including being overweight. If your cat’s able to get to a healthy weight and begin grooming again, the dandruff can resolve completely.

When your cat starts having dandruff, consult your veterinarian so they can help you figure out the cause and available treatment options. He’ll be back to normal in no time!

Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.

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