One of the most common questions asked by clients in veterinary clinics is about excessive hair loss and dandruff in the cat's coat. The skin is the external physical barrier that protects the body from pollutants, chemicals, and microbial agents. Maintaining your cat's skin condition promotes a supple skin, moderate hair loss and a glossy coat. Several factors can cause dandruff and a dry, dull coat.
First of all, it is important to understand that shedding is a normal occurrence for a cat. Shedding occurs mainly with the change of season. On the other hand, our indoor cats do not experience much of these temperature changes, which means that they shed all year long, with a more significant shedding in the spring and fall. Regular maintenance must be done with a comb or a brush to remove dead hairs. The frequency will greatly vary, ranging from daily to weekly, depending on the needs of each cat.
The indoor cat's sedentary lifestyle leads to a number of issues including obesity. An overweight cat may have difficulty reaching his lower back and hindquarters when grooming, which will cause dandruff and greasy hair in these areas. In this case, a weight loss protocol is indicated to achieve a healthy weight that will allow the cat to groom properly.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids, also known as Omega-3, can greatly help the quality of the cat's coat through their anti-inflammatory properties and their benefits on skin hydration. Cats do not naturally produce these fatty acids and must get them from their diet. A low-quality diet will not provide a good source of fatty acids or in sufficient quantities to maintain a good skin barrier. The dry home environment caused by winter heating can also cause dry skin and dandruff. Incorporating fatty acid supplements into the diet can result in notable changes in skin hydration, coat quality and excessive shedding.
Shampoo and Foam
Phytosphingosine and ceramides are natural constituents of the skin. Deficiencies can lead to skin problems. Specialized shampoos containing these ingredients are available to help manage dry skin and control dandruff. Also available are foam and leave-on sprays for an easier, more targeted and stress-free application for your cat!
Lastly, let's not forget that skin issues can also be caused by parasites, skin fungi, food or environmental allergies, infections, tumors, etc. When in doubt, feel free to consult your veterinarian to obtain a precise diagnosis and receive recommendations adapted to your pet's condition and skin type.
For more information, see one of our animal health technicians or your veterinarian!