Why Does My German Shepherd Have Dandruff?

Why Does My German Shepherd Have Dandruff?

Like we human beings, German shepherds can have dandruff on their bodies. And if you have experienced this condition, you can tell it’s not that comfortable to have on your body. So now imagine your German shepherd experiencing the same.

Often dandruff occurs when your dog’s sebaceous glands start overproducing oils. The produced oil causes excess itchiness and irritation, thus leading to excess production of dead skin cells. Dogs with excess itchiness can experience other secondary infections if they are not managed or treated.

When treating your GSD this condition, you will need to unearth the root cause. For example, is it climate change, a change in diet, or is your dog experiencing hormonal changes.

What Is Dandruff?

Dandruff, also known as seborrhoeic dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by excess oil production that leads to skin irritation. Dogs with dandruff scratch a lot and often seem uncomfortable.

Walking Dandruff

If sometimes, when exploring your dog’s skin, you see some white particles moving, those are mites. These mites tend to feed on your dog’s skin keratin. Scientifically such a condition is known as cheyletiella mange caused by tiny parasites called cheyletiella yasguri.

Signs That Your Dog Has Dandruff

  • Hair loss. often, the affected parts will have minimal hair
  • Itchiness
  • Greasily hair coat
  • Scaling
  • Crusting on the skin
  • Redness
  • Odor on the itchy oats
  • The dog looks more uncomfortable

If your dog has these symptoms, then you need to visit a veterinarian clinic

What Causes Dandruff?

The diet of your dog

One symptom of food intolerance you can see on your German shepherd is excess itching. Often the kibble that you may give your German shepherd may have some ingredients that may go hard on your dog’s tummy leading to intolerance.

For example, such can occur if you give your dog a diet with lots of proteins or when artificial flavors or preservatives are plenty in your dog’s commercial food.

The Transition From Puppyhood To Adulthood

Lots of hormonal changes occur when your puppy German shepherd is translating from puppyhood to adulthood. The hormonal changes that occur, muscular development, and shedding of the puppy coat can bring up dandruff. Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do to help your dog with such a situation- what you need is patience.

Hormonal Issues

German shepherds with hormonal problems will experience dandruff than other dogs. For example, German shepherds with pituitary dwarfism will experience dandruff a lot as their immunity is still weak.

Another hormonal issue is Cushing’s syndrome that is characterized by excessive production of cortisol


Exposure to some irritants can cause your German shepherd to have dandruff. Such irritants include paint and pollen

If your GSD suffers from dandruff because of allergies, then you should remove the causative irritant.


 Fleas and ticks are blood-sucking parasites that will not be comfortable for your dog on its coat. Your dog will tend to scratch a lot as they irritate. The more your dog scratches to remove these parasites, the more there’s excess production of dead skin cells.

Regular Baths

Even though you like how Your german shepherd looks good after bathing, too much of It is never recommended. The reason being, the more you bathe your dog, the more you erode its natural oils. The natural oils prevent your dog’s coat from becoming dry and uncomfortable.

Yeast Overgrowth

If your dog’s immunity is weak, he risks developing yeast. These opportunistic yeast infections will overgrow and stimulate excess production of oil on the dog’s coat. This oil accumulates a lot on the dog’s coat leading to excess irritation.

How To Treat Dandruff On German Shepherd

Diagnose What’s The Root Cause

Before jumping on to the solutions that many of your friends will have, it is crucial first to research why this problem arises. Is it food, medication, underlying condition, or parasites? From there, you can structure ways of alleviating the discomfort from your German shepherd.

The Diet Part

If you realize that the type of diet you have been giving your dog is the root cause of your German shepherd’s seborrhoeic dermatitis, you need to restructure it. In some scenarios, you may be forced to start your dog on a limited ingredient diet.

While at that, if not sure which diet has been causing your dog to itch a lot, you can first expose your dog to one type of diet and see whether your dog will react. Do this one by one till you find which diet is the culprit.

Diet Change

A complete overhaul of your dog’s routine diet could be the solution to this condition.

Omega Supplements

Omega supplements are good for your dog’s immunity and cardiovascular system. Besides that, omega supplements are essential in maintaining your dog’s skin health. They help keep your German shepherd moisturized, free from flaking.

Bathe Your Dog With A Medicated Shampoo

Specially formulated shampoos can help calm the discomfort that comes with the excess itchiness. If not sure which formula to use, consult your veterinary on that.   

Apply Coconut Oil

You can use coconut oil topical cream to relieve the itchiness that most German shepherd with dandruff experience.

When applied topically, coconut oil soothes and moisturizes dry skin.

Use Medicated Creams

Antifungal creams can eliminate dandruff caused by yeast infection. After diagnosis, the veterinary can recommend a cream with ketoconazole or miconazole to help eliminate the fungal infection. Often the veterinary will recommend you apply the German shepherd this cream for 2-3 weeks.

Vitamin E oil supplements

Vitamin E oil is one great supplement that is good for your dog’s skin health. Either in cream or capsule form. Vitamin E helps in maintaining and helping your dog’s skin look shiny and healthy.

Preventing Dandruff On German Shepherds

The Diet

The diet you give your German shepherd will affect the health of its skin. Mostly a diet with fatty acids is recommended for German shepherds prone to seborrhea dermatitis.  Such a fatty acid diet promotes the growth of healthy skin. When purchasing your next German shepherd food, check for food tailored for dogs susceptible to skin conditions like seborrhea. If unsure, you can consult your veterinary on the best diet to prevent seborrhea.

Brush Your Dog Regularly

Dogs have natural oils on their coat. It’s this oil that helps keep their skin moisturized, thus at less risk of developing dandruff.

You can help promote the spreading of such natural oils by brushing your dog’s coat daily.

Avoid Bathing Your Dog With Human Shampoo.

If you use human shampoo for bathing your dog, you put it at a high risk of developing dandruff. This is because human shampoo often strips of the German shepherd’s natural oil and still destabilizes this coat’s pH.

Best Home Remedies For German Shepherds With Dandruff

Home remedies can be a lifesaver for your German shepherd who has dandruff.

Apply Coconut Oil

Have some coconut oil with you in liquid form. Then put it in a refrigerator till its turns into a solid. When it’s hard, leave it for one hour, then apply it on your dog on where it has scratched its skin a lot. Coconut oil helps relieve the stinging feeling after scratching.

Apple Cider Vinegar Mixture

A mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, and olive oil is one of the best home remedies of dandruff on your German shepherd’s coat.

Get 60 % of water, add 40 % apple cider vinegar, then sprinkle this solution with 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. After mixing up, put this solution in a spraying bottle. This solution will be a homemade remedy by which you will spray the affected areas.

This mixture will help calm and reduce the rate at which your dog’s skin sheds.


Yogurt is one remedy that is not instant but has long-lasting effects for your dogs. For dogs susceptible to yeast overgrowth, you can introduce them to sugarless yogurt, which will help grow good bacteria. These good bacteria help eliminate yeast and strengthen your dog’s gut health.

Oatmeal Bathe Or Paste Will Help

Another home remedy option is using an oatmeal paste to soothe the irritated part on your dog’s skin. First, grind some oatmeal, then add some warm water till you get a consistent paste.

When ready, apply this paste to your dog’s coat if your dog is comfortable with bathing sessions. Then, you can add some of this oatmeal paste to the bathing water and let your dog stay in this water for 5-10 minutes.

Often oatmeal paste contains two chemicals, phenols, and avenathramides which are great against skin inflammation.

You will also often find that most dogs medicated shampoo contains this old age ingredient.

Apply Tree Oil On The Coat

Tree oil is an essential oil that you can find in a vet shop or drug store. It’s an excellent home remedy for dandruff. Apply it only in the affected parts once a day. This ingredient is helpful as it has great anti-inflammatory properties.

Final Words

Dogs with dandruff will need utmost care, as this condition can be uncomfortable for them. When you can’t understand what’s causing the excess production of dead skin cells, contact the veterinary for an in-depth review.

Is your German shepherd suffering from dandruff? And if so, how have you been managing it? Share your view in the comment box.

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