Labradors are known for an array of skin and coat issues, winter dandruff being one of them. Doesn’t matter the color of the fur, it’s a matter of how the dog is bred (genetics), what kind of nutrition the dog is eating, the climate & air quality, and products used on the dog.
Labs commonly have dandruff but for different reasons and so there’s different types of dandruff and ways to treat for it.
I like to keep our Labs comfortable in the same way my family is comfortable in their own skin by using quality products and methods to take care of them.
Winter Dandruff on a Dry Lab
Low humidity tends to dry out human skin and it does the same thing to dogs. Dry skin causes scaliness that can end up in flakes. There’s a few ways to help sooth your dog and it’s known as “Winterizing a dog’s coat.”
High Protein Feeding & Supplements
Firstly, it’s very important to feed a high-grade, high in protein, nutritious kibble to your Lab, especially during the winter. They need the good nutrition to stay healthy inside because just like with humans, health starts from the inside and shows on the outside.
We give our Labs a skin + coat supplement that’s all natural with a few superfoods ingredients, biotin, and other natural skin and fur supporting nutrients. These are tabs that our male takes daily and they truly provide him with added support for his skin and coat.
High grade food and natural supplements produce superior results. The combination helps them feel great to the touch and look beautiful!
The next thing to do is implement supplements like olive oil, fish or salmon oil, and coconut oil. Introduce these oils to your dog slowly, using a minimal amount the first few days and increasing it over the remaining days in that first week. How much you use is based on your Lab’s weight. We store all oils except coconut in the refrigerator unless they state not too. It helps in keeping them fresh and avoids rancid state from heat or light exposure. Our coconut oil is in the solid form and it is stored in a closed cabinet. *You can find a post about the oils we prefer and why we prefer them here.
*A side note: take it easy with oils and young puppies. Wait until at least 12 weeks before introducing any oils.
An excellent first choice to give your pup is organic and unrefined coconut oil. You can buy it in most grocery stores. We get GMO free, organic, unrefined in a tub. We introduce pups to coconut oil at 1 teaspoon the first three days. You want to give 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs to your dog as a daily routine after the first three days. So if your pup is 12 weeks and 30 lbs and he tolerated the 1 teaspoon per day x3 days without issues, then on day four increase him to what will now be his normal daily dose of 3 teaspoons daily. Increasing as the pup’s weight increases.
Coconut oil is good for the internal system and provides supplemental vitamins that benefit skin conditioning. I wrote about the benefits and differences between coconut and salmon oil (we love salmon oil for many reasons too!) under our healthful feeding tab.
Get a set of measuring spoons and cups specifically for your dogs. It’s easier to keep a specific set for them as to not cross-contaminate between dog stuff and people stuff.
External Symptoms Treatment
Dandruff is a visual symptom of what’s going on in and under the skin and fur. The dandruff causes itching and it can also smell. One of the organic product lines we like is earthbath. We use a few of their products as part of our at home grooming routine. A great instant relief for itchy dandruff comes in a conditioning spray by earthbath. They pride themselves on being makers of “totally natural pet care products” and we love them! The spray we prefer for dry dandruff situations and truly for in between baths too just because it rocks so much is their Puppy Deodorizing Spritz for Skin & Coat. The spray soothes the itch, conditions the skin plus the fur too. It smells like a muted oatmeal mixed with a subtle cherry scent. Spray it on and rub it in deeply.
When we use the earthbath spray, we like to make sure it penetrates the coat and gets to the skin so we take a little time to massage it all into the fur. It’s important to focus on areas you can see are dry or flaky. A soft bristle brush works best for dry dandruff. You don’t want to use an undercoat comb when you are dealing with dry dandruff because the skin is dry and can be easily irritated. An undercoat comb will just further stir up dandruff.
A soft bristle brush will help you get rid of any loose fur and help with distributing the conditioning spray too.
We also use coconut oil on the outside of the dogs! Massaging it into a dog’s skin and coat feels wonderful to them, helps condition the skin, loosens any fur that needs to come off, and smells great! Rub in with both hands and give a towel dry off if needed afterwards in case of too much oil. A soft bristle dry brush is a good finish for this too.
Do not feed dogs raw egg whites. They naturally cause a blockage within the dog’s system of Biotin. Biotin is extremely important to a dog’s coat. If you like to feed your dogs raw egg, then remove the whites and give them jus the raw yolk. It is a beneficial source of goodness for them too.
Bathing + Drying
When your pup is experiencing winter dandruff you want to ease up on the baths if you can. An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse is a better option. Don’t blow dry the dog, it further dries them out. Apple Cider Vinegar dries quickly and relieves any itching there may have been. An added plus is it also neutralizes any odor that may have hung around on your dog.
Do you have any “clean” and holistic products you like to use on your dogs? What kind of routine do you notice with your Labs during the season changes? Drop your own experiences in the comments below.