Seborrheic Dermatitis is the clinical, veterinary term for severe cat dandruff. It’s very common in cats. When cats excessively shed skin cells, and the cells become visible, that is what is considered dandruff. If your cat develops excessive dandruff, his coat might become dull, and feel rough to the touch.
He will also become itchy, and may sometimes scratch to the point where he creates open sores on himself. When owners don’t know much about dandruff, they tend to think that giving their cat a simple bath will fix the problem. Most of the time, this is not the case.
Firstly, if you’re going to give your cat a bath due to dandruff flakes, you will need to get a specially-formulated dandruff shampoo. However, there is something more effective you can do to ease your cat’s itching, and reduce his stress.
Most cats have an aversion to water. They don’t like baths at all. A bath will only stress him out more, and cause more problems than you’re solving.
Causes of Cat Dandruff
There are multiple causes for cat dandruff. It can also be a sign that something more concerning is going on. Many illnesses and disorders can cause excessive dandruff, such as:
- Bacterial infection
Additionally, the colder weather during the winter months can also cause dandruff. If your cat has dandruff, then he most likely has dry skin. Dry skin gets worst in certain climates where there is a lack of moisture in the air. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, consider that in the colder months, the heater comes on. Heaters also take all the moisture out of the air and can contribute to your cat’s dry skin. Some other, less likely causes include:
Diabetes Mellitus will also cause dandruff the more serious the diabetes gets. Diabetes is most common in older and overweight cats. Males are also more prone to this disease.
Parasites can also be a cause of dandruff. Intestinal tapeworms will most certainly cause dandruff to flare up. Allergic skin reactions due to fleas and other parasites will also cause dandruff to become more prominent in your cat.
Overweight cats will also be more prone due to the development of flaky skin. Since they are overweight, it is harder for them to properly groom themselves.
Treatments for Cat Dandruff
There are a lot of different home remedies that can be done to cure dandruff if there is no underlying illness causing it.
Using a humidifier is one common way to ease your cat’s dry, itchy skin. If your cat sleeps in a certain part of the house, or if he sleeps in a spare room, set up a humidifier near him. This will actually help to keep him from getting sick as well. The moisture that the humidifier adds will clear out your cat’s nose.
Omega-3 fatty acids will keep his skin moisturized, and fur healthy. There are several different kinds of foods and treats that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. If the cause of the dandruff is as benign as excessively dry skin, you may want to change his regular food to a new one with higher Omega-3 or fish oils. You could also try a daily supplement and increase the overall quality of there food, especially dry cat food.
Regular grooming will also be extremely helpful. Yes, your cat is extremely good at grooming himself, but, he does need a bit of help sometimes. Doing something as simple as brushing or combing his fur will get his blood circulating. This will reinfuse the hair and skin.
If you would like to resolve this problem quickly we recommend the SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic Shampoo. This has been a reliable option overall, you can find the shampoo here:
Prevention of Cat Dandruff
Keeping up with your cat’s regular veterinarian maintenance is going to keep you on top of any parasites that may lead to dandruff. Your veterinarian will also be able to spot more serious causes, like diabetes. Normal fecal exams will be able to spot any underlying causes. If they are spotted early on, you might be able to fix an underlying issue before it becomes a more serious problem.
You also want to be cautious about what kind of food you’re feeding your cat. Low-end cat food doesn’t have the nutritional value your cat needs to maintain a healthy coat. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy the most expensive food either. Just make sure the food has essential fatty acids, like Omega-3. Read the labels and know what to look for. Proteins and vitamins B and E nourish the skin and fur. Canned, and homemade foods will usually contain a higher amount of protein and less carbohydrates. Brands such as Blue Buffalo have higher quality ingredients that are ideal for your cat’s optimal health and coat.
The best way to prevent your cat from getting dandruff is by making sure he is properly grooming himself. Keep an eye on your cat and observe his grooming habits. Is he able to reach every part of his body when he’s grooming? If he can, is he removing all the dead fur and skin? If he is not doing these two things, you can use a slicker brush to remove the loose hair and dead skin. This will also move the essential nutrients and oils throughout your cat’s fur, making it smooth and shiny.
You shouldn’t give your cat regular baths because this will actually dry his skin out more. That is the opposite of what you’re trying to do. If your cat does need a bath because his curiosity got him into a sticky situation, try using a dry shampoo powder. A dry powder shampoo will be gentle on the skin while still absorbing the dirt and mess from your cat’s coat. The great thing about a dry powder shampoo is that you don’t have to use water like a traditional bath. That makes for a less stressed kitty, and a happy kitty parent. You just sprinkle on the dry powder, rub it all over your cat, and then rub them down with a damp cloth.
Some Additional Tips
If you want to know the best ways to take care of cat dandruff, you should consult your veterinarian. Cat dandruff might not be a serious disease, but it can be a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. Many diseases will first appear on the skin as a tell-tale sign that there is something else going on. To determine what the issue is, there may be a fecal exam conducted, blood work, urinalyses or even biopsies. Keep an eye on your cat, and if you see something concerning, please see your vet. If your cat could make an appointment for himself when he’s not feeling well, he would.