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Dandruff

PetPom
The 
Pomeranian
Information
Center

Why Does My Pomeranian Have Dandruff? 

Overview

Dandruff is a flaking of the skin...Skin is always in a process of renewal. When new skin cells form, older cells die off and fall off of the body. A certain number of them make their way to the coat of the Pomeranian...And this results in dandruff.

This process is natural and happens all of the time, every day, in fact. However for most Poms, it is not noticeable. When an owner is concerned regarding Pomeranian dandruff, this is because there is a high level of flaked skin that can be seen on the coat. 

This is most noticeable with darker fur, of course, since the tiny specks will have a whitish color to them. Along with this, a Pom may have sore spots (areas that appear to be red and irritated) and there may be quite a bit of itching. 

This section will discuss how to identify dandruff and the steps that you can take to treat it and prevent it.
It should first be noted that this section is going to discuss common dandruff issues with the Pomeranian breed. It is important that if you suspect a more severe skin issue that you have your Pom examined by an experienced and reputable veterinarian.
For example, if itching is extreme...if there are sore spots (also known as hot spots) that look inflamed, etc. you will want to have testing done by a professional. 

This is because such severity may be the result of a skin infection (which may need to be treated with antibiotics), the result of an allergy (for which testing can be done, diet will need to be changed, etc.) or several other possible causes.

Causes of Dandruff

This issue is caused by dry skin. How does a Pom develop this? Don't worry that you did something wrong, this can happen to even the most pampered pets! There are 3 main causes:

1. An imbalance of natural body oils
2. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals
3. Sensitivity to temperature/ humidity levels

We will look at all 3 of these elements and then go over a list of things that you can do at home to cure and then prevent dandruff.  

Imbalance of Body Oils

Most cases of dandruff are caused by either a lack of body oils (the dandruff will be dry, and the skin and coat will appear dry) or an excess of natural body oils (the skin and coat will appear oily, with a sheen that is slick and this may have an odd odor). 

In either case, this often comes down to baths and bathing products. The frequency, temperature, shampoo used, rinsing method, and drying method all play a role.

1) The timing of baths is important. Too many times in the tub can cause skin to become very dry and this is can strip the coat of oils, causing skin irritations, including dandruff. 

Alternatively, not giving baths often enough can lead to a buildup of body oils on a dog, these will soon start to smell bad and flaking can appear as skin is sloughing off. 

Poms should have a bath every 3 weeks, even if they do not appear dirty. 

2) Rinsing. The right products will do a great job, but they are meant to be rinsed off well. If possible, use a nozzle. 

3) The drying method. If your Pom is having skin and coat issues, do not blow dry him; pat the coat and then allow him to air dry. 

4) Good products. Even without dandruff issues, you will always want to use a quality moisturizing shampoo that is great for Poms and then, separately a moisturizing conditioner. 

Treatment: The type of treatment shampoo that you use will depend on if your Pom has a dry dandruff, or an oily dandruff.  When dandruff is apparent, do not use human dandruff shampoo. It is much too harsh.
Recommended Dandruff Shampoos:

For dry, light dandruff, where you only see a few flakes, a shampoo like Earthbath Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo will work to bring the skin and coat back to health.
If dry dandruff is very severe, you may then want to opt for a gentle but medicated product such as TropiClean Oatmeal & Tea Tree Medicated Dog Shampoo
. This has natural salicylic and tea tree to eliminate flaking, dandruff, and scales. It also contains vitamin E, oatmeal, and tea tree oil.
For greasy, oily dandruff, you'll have to take a different approach. Typically, a antiparasitic & antiseborrheic medicated shampoo will be needed to clear things up. 

Look for one with coal tar, salicylic acid & micronized Sulfur, like SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Shampoo for Dogs which is very effective. 
Pomeranian drying off after bath
Vitamins and Mineral Deficiency

Omega 3, 6, 9 Fatty Acids is the most important element to keep both skin and coat healthy. Even if you are feeding your Pom a great food, he may still be lacking enough of this if he's having issues.

So, for chronic cases of dandruff and skin and coat issues, you may want to speak to your vet about offering a Omega 3 supplement.

A good choice is Finest For Pet's Omega 3, 6 and 9 Fish Oil, as this comes in a handy pump in order to add a bit to each meal, is human grade and has no additives or preservatives.
Temperature

The temperature and the humidity can play a role with Pomeranian dandruff. More specifically, anything below or above normal levels will have an effect on skin and fur. 

Dry, cold winter weather can contribute to dry skin as can too much sun exposure during hot summer months. 

If you live in a very dry climate, it can be helpful to spray down the coat a leave-in spritz every few days when you brush your Pom.

If you will be taking your Pomeranian for walks in dry, cold weather, please do protect him with a quality paw wax and clothing such as a sweater.

The double layered coat of fur will certainly help to keep your Pom warm, but it is not a magical shield! If you will be spending a good amount of time outdoor in very warm to hot weather, do try to take breaks in the shade. 

If you believe that your Pom will be exposed to bright sunlight for longer than 20 minutes, use a good leave-in spritz like and use this especially on any sore spots that have thinned hairs. 
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