Pet dandruff looks like a really bad case of people dandruff you can easily see it with most animals, says Nancy Scanlan, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in Sherman Oaks, California.
While occasionally dandruff can indicate a serious health problem, like, parasites or skin infections, more often it occurs when skin cells naturally proliferate -- form, die and flake off -- at an accelerated rate.
To forego the flakes, here's what experts suggest:
For Dogs And Cats
Take the plunge: Since dandruff is a sign of flaky skin, giving your pet regular baths will help wash the flakes away before they accumulate, says Scott Weldy, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in El Toro, California. Bathing your pet once a month in winter and twice a month in summer may clear up the problem for good, he says.
To bathe your pet, use warm, not hot, water. Use a mild shampoo like baby shampoo and massage it well into your pet's skin. Then rinse thoroughly and dry him well, says Dr. Scanlan.
For cats, the big struggle isn't getting rid of the dandruff, it's getting them into the bath in the first place. For tips, see "How to Give Your Cat a Bath".
Go for more power
If baby shampoo doesn't seem to help, try using a pet dandruff shampoo that contains sulfur or salicylic acid. Leave the lather in place for about five minutes to give the active ingredients time to work, advises Dr. Weldy.
Don't use medicated shampoos made for humans, because they can be harmful for pets, adds Wayne Rosenkrantz, D.V.M., a veterinary dermatologist in private practice in Garden Grove, California. It's also a good idea, when buying shampoo for your cat, to check the label carefully. Products that are safe for dogs may be harmful for cats.
Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California
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