Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

5 Secrets to Minimizing Dog Dander

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on February 4, 2014

Dog dander can put a damper on any home. Contrary to popular belief, dog dander causes allergic reactions, not fur. Excessive dander is not only annoying, but it can also be a sign that your dog is not as healthy as they could be. Minimizing dog dander is a great place to start, especially if you have allergies. It’s also a great way to keep your house clean and your dog healthy. Master Groomer Serena Marshall, the owner of Shantel Mobile Spaw, has five simple tips to help you dodge the dander.

Dander refers to the tiny, sometimes microscopic, pieces of loose hair and skin on your dog’s body. This dandruff can cause reactions for humans, and it can be uncomfortable for dogs. You might notice dry skin on your dog, along with excessive itching and scratching. Using these tips to reduce dog dander can benefit both you and your pup.

how to reduce pet dander

1.  Diet

Some dogs have food allergies or sensitivities that can cause them to itch. If the dog is itchy, dander occurs. If you notice constant scratching, chewing, or licking of paws, take them to the vet to see if their diet is to blame. Dry, flaky skin, or red bumps could also be a cause for concern. You may be surprised how different your dog’s coat is after changing their food. Environmental allergies can have the same effect.

An unhealthy diet could also cause excessive dog dander. Overweight dogs and dogs without a well-balanced diet are more prone to skin problems. It might come as a surprise, but most common dog food brands are not as healthy as they claim to be. Dry dog food is the most common type of food for your dog, but it often has unhealthy filler ingredients. It also has more carbohydrates than protein. So, it’s important to check the ingredient list before choosing a food. Limited ingredient formulas are often the best for dogs with allergies.

Related: 11 Best Dog Foods for Allergies

2. Brushing

Brushing your dog daily is the best way to loosen and reduce dander. Keep a consistent schedule to prevent dander from building up. Marshall’s tip is to brush your dog outside to avoid spreading dander all over your house. If your dog allows it, you can purchase a pet vacuum to suck the loose fur and dander off.
Certain dog breeds need more brushing than others, depending on their coat type. Some dogs have hair, which continuously grows, while others have fur, which sheds. Dogs with long hair need to be brushed to avoid getting mats and tangles in their coat. Dogs with thick fur need to be brushed to get rid of loose fur. Yet, dogs with short hair or fur can get away with less brushing.

dog dander shampoo

3. Bathing

Giving your dog a bath regularly does more than make them smell good. It helps get rid of dog dander. Marshall says bathing weekly is fine, as long as you are using a high-quality moisturizing shampoo. Luckily, there are plenty of shampoos made specifically for dry skin and dander. It should also consist of hypoallergenic, natural ingredients. These types of ingredients will be less likely to cause allergic reactions. Oatmeal is one of the best ingredients to look out for. These products will make sure your dog’s skin and coat don’t dry out.

Some people will bathe their heavy-shedding dogs every couple of days to reduce hair and dander. Sometimes, bathing more than once a week can harm your dog’s skin though. Dogs need a certain amount of oils in their skin to maintain a healthy coat. Bathing too often can remove some of the healthy oils, causing their skin to dry out more.

4. Supplements

Certain supplements can help minimize dander like food can. The lack of enough fatty acids in a diet causes dry skin, which causes dander. Adding supplements rich in omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids, such as fish or coconut oil, to your dog’s diet can help make the skin healthier so it will flake less.

Give these supplements to your dog as recommended. It might take a while for significant changes to show, so be consistent. Setting an alarm can be a great way to remember to give your dog the supplement. Giving it to them at the same time every day will also help them look forward to it.

dog dander grooming

5. Keep It Short

If you have a lot of allergies, or not a lot of time to groom, clipping your dog’s coat can help. Whether you can shave your dog usually depends on if they have hair or fur. Dogs with hair can get trimmed or shaved to reduce dander. On the other hand, dogs with fur shouldn’t be shaved, especially if they have a double coat. Dogs with double coats of fur have a protective outer layer and a thick undercoat. This protects them from hot and cold climates. Shaving double coats can permanently harm your dog’s fur.

Keeping hair short on long-haired dogs keeps dander from hanging around. For dogs with fur, continue brushing them regularly instead of shaving them. If you have a dog with short hair or fur, Marshall notes that you can get a damp cloth and wipe them down between baths. This can help keep dander in check.

If you start following these simple tips, you should start noticing less dog dander in no time. When in doubt, talk to your vet for advice. Yet, Marshall notes that it can take up to 30 days to notice a change from new diets or supplements. Not only will people with allergies and clean freaks thank you, but your dog will too. After all, no one wants to be itchy all the time.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog