Flaky dandruff is not that rare of a thing to find in your cat’s fur. This of course is a symptom of overly dry and irritated skin of the cat. Even though it is usually not serious, whatever happened that lead the cat to develop dandruff can cause discomfort. If it is a severe case, a cat may even scratch or lick their skin raw, so it is really important to treat their dandruff as soon as you catch it appearing.
Here are some tips to help you diagnose and treat this skin condition.
How to tell if your cat has dandruff ?
Dandruff, with its characteristically small white flakes of skin, is pretty easy to spot on your cat’s fur and can be seen on furniture and bedding as well. Additionally, you may notice that your cat is scratching itself more than usual.
What causes cat dandruff ?
Many factors weigh into why a cat may develop dandruff, and here are some examples:
- Your cat may be deficit in fatty acids. Similar to us humans, cats also need a well balanced diet to keep on being healthy, and omega fatty acids, such as fish oil, are just the thing for maintaining a perfectly healthy skin. If your cat has dandruff, it would be wise to incorporate more fatty acids into their diet, just in case.
- They may be dehydrated. Cats, and many other animals, need a lot of water, around one ounce per pound of body weight a day to be exact. One of the reasons that a cat can develop dry and flaky skin is if they are not getting sufficiently hydrated. However, a dry environment, say an overheated home in winter, may also be a reason for dandruff to appear on your cat’s skin.
- There may be an issue with the grooming. If the biggest clumps of dandruff are on the area near the base of the tail and lower back, your cat may no be able to reach those areas to groom itself properly. This is a pretty common issue in obese cats.
- Various potential health issues. If you spot dandruff on your cat it may be a telling sign that your cat is developing a pressing health issue, such as parasites (like fleas, lice and mites), feline diabetes and even allergies. You should check with your vet so that you can rule out any potential health threats before treating your cat’s dandruff situation.
How to actually get rid of cat dandruff ?
If you have already ruled out any underlying health conditions to be the cause of your cat’s dandruff, then dealing with it is easy. You can treat the dandruff right at home with a little change in your cat’s daily routine!
- Change their diet. One way to help get rid of dandruff is to change your cat’s diet to be better for its skin health. You may want to add a supplement such as fish oil to add some more omega 3 fatty acids. Make sure to choose a supplement that is made specifically for cats and also check with your vet to determine the right amount.
- Try to groom your cat with a comb or a brush. Just gently brush your cat around two to three times a week to remove all the loose hair and brush any mat out. This will also reduce the number of hairballs your cat throws up. Also, make sure to brush in the direction of the hair growth rather than against it, this will not only keep the skin healthy but also remove the dandruff. This is also a great time to bond with your cat!
- Opt out for a pet shampoo. Specific shampoos made for cats are made to keep their hair and their skin healthy and glowing. So, if you bathe your cat with pet shampoo, you can help relieve some itching, remove dandruff and even prevent it from coming back. Keep in mind to never use human shampoo for a cat as it will most likely make the dandruff worse.
- It is important to keep your cat at a healthy weight, since their overall health affects their skin health. Those cats that maintain a healthy weight are able to groom themselves better.
- Hydration is key! Keeping your feline friend hydrated is essential for their skin health. If your cat has a preference for running water, then you can buy a fountain to encourage them to drink more. You can also introduce wet food to your cat’s diet as an easier way to increase hydration and improve the condition of their skin.
- Invest in a humidifier if you don’t have one already. By keeping the air moist in your home, you in turn help your cat’s skin to not dry out and reduce the likelihood of it developing dandruff. Best to run a humidifier in the rooms that your cat frequents the most.
Remember, dandruff in cats is pretty common and easy to manage and treat, so don’t worry too much. However, if the problem persists, make sure to make a trip to the vet.