Like us, cats can also get dandruff. And although it may be a little embarrassing for our furry friends, it can be easily treated at home by adjusting some aspects of your floof’s care regime. But what causes dandruff in cats and how do you help your fluffy friend get rid of cat dandruff? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Cat Dandruff?
Cat dandruff is just the same as our own form of dandruff. Cat dandruff is dry flaky skin that has a white or grey colour and almost looks like sand in your cat’s fur. Cat dandruff from time to time is normal for our feline companions and can be easily managed at home. However if your cat is experiencing ongoing periods of dandruff, and it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition.
What Causes Cat Dandruff?
Many factors can cause your cat to experience dandruff. Some benign and some more serious.
Here are some of the main ones:
Your average-sized 4kg kitty cat needs to drink around 200mL of water per day to stay hydrated. That’s roughly the size of a can of fizzy drink which doesn’t seem like much. However, cats are notoriously fussy about drinking water and are therefore prone to dehydration. If your cat is dehydrated, either from not drinking enough water or from a summer heat wave, their skin will become more and more dry, which increases their chances of developing cat dandruff.
Other symptoms that may indicate dehydration: are excessive panting, increased thirst, sweaty paws, fatigue, vomiting, and dry skin.
Lack of Grooming
Cats spend between 30-50% of their day grooming by licking their cuddly coats. In doing so they are constantly removing dead skin cells and naturally keeping dandruff at bay. If a cat is not grooming themselves enough, dead skin cells can build up into visible cat dandruff. Irregular grooming is a sign that something is wrong with your kitty-cat and can be down to health conditions such as obesity, arthritis and dental disease.
Skin conditions such as allergies, parasitic infections, fleas, ringworm, mites, and lice, can all contribute to a cat developing dandruff. If your cat has dandruff and also appears to be itchy or has inflamed red skin or rashes, consult with your vet to get to the bottom of their cat dandruff.
If your cat’s diet is lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, their skin may appear to be dry, itchy and flaky. Omega 3 fatty acids are a particularly impawtent nutrient for maintaining the health of your cat’s skin and coat. When choosing a cat food, look for those with added fish oil to provide your cat with optimal levels of Omega 3’s.
Food allergies can cause dry and itchy skin and in turn cat dandruff. Surprisingly, the most common allergens for cats are dairy, wheat, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, soy and gluten. Chances are your cat food will contain one of these, so treating cat dandruff may be as simple as switching out your cat’s food to one with different ingredients or a hypoallergenic cat food that’s free from common allergens.
Help My Cat Has Dandruff, What Should I Do?
As you can see, there are many potential underlying causes of cat dandruff. With this, your first port of call should be to take your floof to the vet to have them checked out. This way, if there is any concerning underlying health condition that may be causing your cat to have dandruff, this can be treated.
If you’ve had your cat checked over by your vet and they’ve determined that there’s nothing more serious going on, you can treat your cat’s dandruff at home in a few simple ways.
Here are our top tips for keeping cat dandruff at bay:
- Brushing: Regularly brush your cat’s fur to remove excess flaky skin.
- Hydration is Key: Make sure your cat is drinking enough water by monitoring their water bowl. If you don’t think your kitty is hitting their daily water goal, try feeding them nutritious wet cat food. Wet cat food has a higher moisture content than dry food and, therefore can be used to “top up” their daily water intake.
- Optimal Nutrition: Ensure your chosen cat food is providing your kitty with all of the essential vitamins and minerals that they need to thrive. This includes high levels of protein from animal meat as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids such as fish oil. We’ve written an entire cat food guide that will equip you with the skills to read a cat food label like a pro so that you can have peace of mind that what you’re feeding your floof is a top-tier choice.
- Try a Hypoallergenic Cat Food: Switching to a hypoallergenic cat food can reduce skin irritation from food allergies or sensitivities. Remember to read the cat food label though and not just trust a brand because they say their food is hypoallergenic. There is no standardisation of hypoallergenic pet food so you still need to ensure that the ingredients are high quality and incorporate all essential vitamins and minerals, rather than simply trusting the term “hypoallergenic”.
- Cat-Safe Supplements or Creams: Talk to your vet about supplements or creams that you can apply to areas of dry or irritated skin.
Can I Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo on My Cat?
If you or I get an embarrassing case of dandruff, using an anti-dandruff shampoo is usually an easy fix, so surely this can work for our feline friends? Wrong! You should never use any form of human shampoo on an animal as it can be toxic for them or at the least harmful to their coat and skin.
Most cats will never need to be washed at all as they tirelessly groom themselves by licking their fur every day. Washing your cat can strip their coat of essential oils which are impawtent for maintaining the health of their skin. Therefore it’s safest to leave the showering for yourself unless directly advised by your vet.
Have You Tried Scrumbles Hypoallergenic Cat Food?
If your cat is experiencing dandruff and you think it may be down to what’s in their dinner bowl, why not try our range of hypoallergenic cat food?
All of our hypoallergenic recipes are free from common allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy and red meat, and packed with all of the essential vitamins and minerals that cats need to keep their coat looking sleek and skin feeling soft.
You just have to read the label of our Chicken Dry Cat Food, to see that we’ve added 1.5% salmon oil to provide your cat with essential levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to ensure optimal skin health.
Plus with 75% real chicken and added gut-friendly probiotics, it packs a protein punch to satisfy hungry bellies whilst also being highly digestible for even the most sensitive of floofs.
You’ll never find any artificial additives or nasty added salts or sugars that are hard for cats to digest – this is all just fluff and should never form any part of a healthy cat’s diet!
So make the switch to Scrumbles today, and see your pet glow from the inside out!