Just as humans can suffer from dandruff, cats can have the same condition. Note if the animal has white flakes in its coat; this could indicate that he has dandruff. Many think it's just an “aesthetic” problem, ignoring it; however, it is important to pay attention to the presence of dandruff in cats, as it is a possible indication that there is something wrong with the pet's health, and it can lead to the appearance of allergic responses in individuals sensitive to their hair. It is important to minimize the amount of dandruff as much as possible to benefit everyone involved.
Method 1 of 3: Assessing the Cat for Dandruff
Step 1. Identify dandruff
In fact, it is represented by clumps of skin cells that have broken off from the cat's body and can look like scales or flakes. However, not all of these scales arise due to dandruff, so it is important to take the animal to the veterinarian.
Step 2. Take the cat to the vet
It is important for the provider to verify that the animal is not suffering from a condition that is impacting its overall body health, such as diabetes, arthritis, seborrhea, or overactive thyroid glands. If he has one of these conditions, the veterinarian will recommend a treatment.
Step 3. Rule out infections that can present as normal dandruff
Cheyletiella yasguri scabies is one of the main causes of the infection; the insect feeds on dead skin cells, causing more scales to develop. The mite itself has an appearance similar to scales (also called “walking dandruff”).
- The veterinarian will quickly identify if the problem is caused by Cheyletiella yasguri by taking hair samples and examining them under magnification under the microscope.
- If the mite is identified, you will need to treat the cat with a product containing fipronil. The remedy is usually given once every two days, with a minimum of three treatments to exterminate the insect and resolve the case of dandruff.
Method 2 of 3: Eliminating Dandruff by Taking Care of Your Cat's Appearance and Health
Step 1. Combat physical conditions that are making dandruff worse
Obesity, arthritis and toothache are some of the “culprits” for dandruff; Keeping the skin and fur in good condition requires that the feline constantly sanitize itself, using natural oils in the coat. If he has mobility problems (such as those associated with arthritis) or is overweight, he will not be able to reach certain parts of his body, increasing the chance of scaling in such places.
- When that's the problem, you'll need to take care of the animal's fur until it can do it on its own;
- If the animal is not doing this because it cannot lick some parts of its own body, the ideal is to adopt a diet for it. When thin, the cat will be able to clean itself better;
- Sometimes, pain in the mouth can make it unsanitary (and also not eat, in certain cases). If this happens, it's critical to take him to the vet to have the tartar removed, loose teeth extracted, and antibiotics administered to prevent gum infections.
Step 2. Don't let the cat come into contact with hot, dry weather
Even though it appears to be a minor concern, cats can have their skin damaged by temperature; this is even more true for short-haired or uncoated breeds. Dry, hot weather can dry out the skin and even burn the skin, so it's important to keep it indoors when it's too hot.
Dryer months of winter can also dry out the skin, with less risk of sunburn
Step 3. Carefully brush the cat's coat
Brushing your pet's fur from time to time can help remove dead skin scales, reducing dandruff. Use a cat brush and move in the direction of the fur without applying too much pressure (brush, don't scrub). Doing this regularly will decrease the presence of dandruff as the skin's blood circulation will be improved, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the skin and conditioning it.
- However, it is normal for dandruff to get worse in the first three or four weeks, as the layers of dead cells will soften and cling to the hair;
- Always brush it carefully and stop when you notice signs of irritated skin or pain.
Step 4. Don't bathe too often
When it comes to bathing, cats are not like people, as they have a good ability to keep themselves clean, so they don't always need to be bathed. So give your pet only four or five baths a year, unless you notice that its coat is visibly dirty, oily, or knotted.
- Excessive bathing can cause the cat to run out of essential oils on the skin, leaving it dry and flaky. Generally, baths are more beneficial to the owner than to the pet, especially those allergic to cat hair, as they will be removed temporarily;
- When choosing to bathe it, use moisturizing shampoos, such as those with oatmeal, avoiding those made for human use, which are very strong and will remove the natural oils from the animal's skin.
Step 5. Use a neutral ointment
Yes, there are topical lotions and ointments aimed at cats with dry skin; go to a pet shop to see if there are any. Otherwise, the feline's veterinarian may make a recommendation; later, search the internet to see if you can find them.
Method 3 of 3: Eliminating Dandruff Through Cat Diet Changes
Step 1. Change the food used by the cat
Dry or flaky skin can be a consequence of a deficiency in the diet, which lacks vital nutrients to keep the skin in good condition. Often, diets low in fatty acids are harmful to the animal's skin, causing it to have many scales and layers of dead skin. Cats need a lot of linoleic and arachidonic acid through their food, as they are not produced by the body itself. Good quality diets are rich in these two fatty acids; those that are inadequate or with food stored incorrectly (at high temperatures, for example), may not contain the necessary amount of acids.
So that this does not happen, it is a good idea to give foods of good quality and that have meat as the main ingredient. Don't forget to store the pet food correctly, keeping it away from extreme temperatures, which can degrade the fatty acids that are important for the pet
Step 2. Supplement the pet's diet with omega fatty acids
To better condition his skin, it's a good idea to buy an omega fatty acid supplement (PUFA or polyunsaturated fatty acids). They should be taken with food to improve absorption into the bloodstream; Fish and marine oils are great sources of omega 3 and 6 for the cat.
The recommended daily dose is 75 mg/kg, that is, a cat weighing 4 or 5 kg should consume 300 to 450 mg per day
Step 3. Check if the animal has enough water
Dehydration can also dry out the skin, leading to scaling; the vast majority of cats do not need much water, but it is important for their health that access to water is constant. Always keep his bowl full of clean water, regardless of whether you see him drinking or not.
- Change the cat's water constantly so that it always has fresh, clean water.
- It's a good idea to wash the bowl from time to time to kill the bacteria in it.