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Ask Wellness June 2013

Q: My cat has noticeable dandruff. Is this normal and is there anything I can do about it?

A: It is normal for your cat’s skin to slightly slough away resulting in what is commonly referred to as dandruff. Especially in cold winters, low humidity can dry the skin of an animal causing excessive flaking.

Diet can play a role in preventing dandruff. Be sure the foods you are feeding are complete and balanced, like Wellness Natural Pet Food, and contain optimum levels of the essential fats to encourage a healthy skin and coat.

Brushing your cat will help remove the flakes. Most cats are very particular about proper grooming and so when you see dandruff, it may be more than just the normal flaking of the cells of the skin. If your cat has excessive dandruff, it is important to have the problem checked by your veterinarian to determine the cause so an effective treatment can be developed.

Q: I have a Shar Pei mix rescue dog about 5 years old. She has very dry skin and a severe shedding problem.

A: Feeding a diet with optimum levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that are in the proper ratio with the Omega 6 fats may help to resolve the problem as they are essential for a healthy skin and coat.

The Shar Pei breed is known to have an increased incidence of skin problems. Many also suffer from food allergies or intolerances. If that is the problem with your pet, feeding a grain-free diet may help. Be sure to transition to the new diet slowly over at least a week’s time. When one suspects a food allergy or intolerance, one must give the new food at least two months (provided there is no negative reaction to the new diet initially), as it can take that long to rid the body of the offending allergens.

Keep in mind that there are other causes that can produce an itchy dry skin: external parasites, bacterial and fungal infections and several other common problems can cause the same symptoms and it is always advisable to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the cause, as well as the best procedure for resolving the problem.

Additionally, this could also be normal seasonal shedding. Regular brushing and mild shampoo baths will speed up the process and could help to resolve the itching.

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