3 common causes of French Bulldog dandruff and how to fix it

french bulldog grooming

Have you ever run your hand over your Frenchies coat and noticed little white flakes? You are not alone. This is a common issue for this dog and you are also right if you think that this is dandruff. Frenchies can get dandruff just like us. Their skin flakes and is noticeable as white specks on their fur, or on your clothes. So, why does this happen to our pets and what can you do to deal with it?

You may have come here looking for a simple answer and a quick fix. But, the situation isn’t that simple. French Bulldog dandruff could be the result of a few different environmental factors, dietary issues, or illnesses. It isn’t until you determine the cause and examine your dog fully that you can get a better idea of why your dog has dandruff. Once you are more sure, you can then work on treating the problem. 

Why does my French Bulldog have dandruff?

It is important that all Frenchie owners understand the issue of Frenchie dandruff in full. It isn’t enough to see a few flakes of dead skin and to shrug it off as no big deal. It is important to treat the condition seriously, and this means understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options available. The more you know about these causes and solutions, the better able you are to deal with any problems as they arise. We can summarize the key points here, but this is just the start. 

  1. Dandruff may become more obvious when grooming and checking your dog’s coat and skin.
  2. Dandruff doesn’t just mean that your pet’s skin is a little drier than normal. Instead, it could be a sign of illness or infestation.
  3. There are also potential links between dandruff and other factors like their diet or the environment of the home.
  4. Quick and effective treatment allows for a better response and improved health.
  5. Dietary-related dandruff is treatable with a new diet.
  6. Infestation-related dandruff is treatable with effective medication.
  7. Baths and grooming sessions with helpful products can provide a lot of relief.
  8. All products should be veterinarian-approved and as natural as possible to minimise any risk to your dog’s health.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about here. You can’t just use some anti-dandruff shampoo now and then and expect the problem to go away. Take the time to do the investigation work and understand the problem and work from there. Turning to this guide is a good start. This is why we will start from the beginning. 

What is dog dandruff?

Dandruff is a term used to describe the tiny little flakes of skin that appear in our hair. We tend to notice them when we brush our hair and drag the particles from the scalp to the outer layer of hair. All this is is the dead flakes caused by a dry and flaky scalp. It might not be pleasant to deal with, but it isn’t dangerous. This all relates to our dogs too. However, instead of getting a flaky scalp on their head, they have to deal with flaky skin across their bodies. 

Signs of dandruff in Frenchies

The signs of dandruff in French Bulldogs are very similar to those of human dandruff. The first thing to look out for here is obvious flakes of skin on their fur. This is going to be more noticeable with dogs that have darker coats, much like how dandruff stands out more on black hair. You may also see them when brushing your pet, or if they leave flakes on upholstery or on your clothing. If you suspect your dog of having dry skin, their dog bed may be a good starting point. 

What are the common causes of dandruff in Frenchies?

A good way to determine the cause of the dandruff is to check their skin. Is the skin dry all over or are there certain patches that are flaky? Flakiness in one small area may relate to a reaction to something, like a bite or an allergic reaction to an irritant. Widespread dryness may have more to do with the condition of the skin or dietary issues. 

Dietary-related dandruff:

There is the risk that your Frenchie’s dandruff may be the result of dietary issues. A common issue here is a lack of oils in their diet, which leads to declines in skin and coat health. These oils often come from omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oils, or from flaxseed. Or, you might find that your pet has an allergy and is intolerant of a key ingredient in their food. 

Dry skin due to irritation or infestations:

Then there is the possibility that your Frenchie has mites or some other parasite that causes skin complaints. One possible culprit here is the cheyletiella mite. These aren’t uncommon in Frenchies and cause a condition known as “walking dandruff”. This is also a greater possibility when they share their home with a cat. The infestation leads to flaky peeling skin and requires medical help. Or, your pet may have seborrheic dermatitis or another condition. The point here is that you can’t always diagnose underlying problems yourself and may need professional guidance. 

Dry skin due to low humidity at home:

Another consideration here is that your Frenchies dandruff problem is a result of dry conditions in the home. A lack of humidity could cause the skin to dry out and, before long, it will flake away like dandruff. Dogs with widespread areas of dandruff are more likely to deal with this issue. 

Why is it so important to deal with Frenchie dandruff? 

Dandruff in dogs isn’t the same as a little dandruff on our scalps. This can affect the whole body and highlight issues with skin and coat health. Over time, you may also notice that this leads to a problem with the condition of their coat. Dogs may also feel itchy, scratch at their skin, and make the problem worse. The sooner you can deal with any discomfort or irritation related to dandruff, the better your pet will feel. 

If left untreated, these small areas of dry skin could develop into bald patches or scabs, this then means that their coat isn’t as effective as it should be and there is the risk of further infection. Also, if there is dry skin related to infestations or parasite bites, you need to handle that infestation as soon as possible for the ongoing health of your dog. This will also stop the parasite from spreading around the home or to other animals. 

What can you do about doggy dandruff? 

Now that you know how important it is to deal with these issues of dandruff in dogs, you need to consider the best ways to deal with the problem. French bulldog dandruff is treatable, even if it becomes a common occurrence due to their environment. Once you determine the root cause of the problem, you can follow appropriate steps to improve your dog’s skin and offer relief. Where possible, it helps to make sure that these actions are as natural as possible and to work with veterinarian recommendations. 

Change your Frenchie’s diet

If your pet’s dandruff is the result of dietary issues you can make appropriate changes to try and improve the issue. Dogs that are lacking in fatty oils could benefit from specialist dog food that focuses on a higher Omega-3 Opens in a new tab.content. Or, you could switch to a salmon flavor or add some supplements into their normal food. Dogs with allergies need to avoid their trigger. It can take a while to determine what that trigger is, whether it is a poultry or grain issue for example, but trial and error will pay off in the end. Switching to an LID dog food with limited ingredients may help too. Experiment with new food and see what works and what they like the taste of. 

Change your Frenchie’s grooming and bathing routine

It is vital that all Frenchie owners follow the right grooming regime to get the best out of their pet’s skin and fur. This means regular brushing to massage the skin and stimulate the flow of natural oils and blood. This improvement in circulation could be enough to help restore the condition of their skin. These massages are also great fun for Frenchies that love to be touched and close to their owners. 

It is also important that you take the time to find the right products for bathing your dog as necessary. You don’t want to bathe your pet too much, as this can put stress on their fur and potentially dry out the skin further. But, you also don’t want to leave things too long and let a build-up of dirt and oil contribute to any underlying health issues. The right medicated dog shampoo can make a big difference. Oatmeal versions are also very soothing and dogs should appreciate the scent over a more floral or fragrant option. 

Get the right treatment for pests and parasites:

If the problem is down to parasites and infestations, you need to make sure that you get the best possible treatment option from your vet. A professional check-up will allow your vet to not only diagnose the precise cause of the condition, but to also check for other issues and infections. From there, you can get the best treatment for Frenchie dandruff and start them on a steady course towards calmer, softer skin. 

Get a humidifier near their bed:

Finally, if you find that the cause is simply down to the humidity levels in your home, you can correct this quite easily with a humidifier. These devices should alter the atmosphere in the home enough to provide relief and stop the condition from coming back. Some Frenchie owners find it best to put this near the dog’s bed so it provides effective climate control as they sleep. This solution, along with some grooming changes and topical treatments, could make a big difference for your pet. 

Whatever you do, always use the safest products possible and seek medical advice as needed. 

Always use natural, dog-friendly approaches where possible. Natural products are those that rely on safe botanical extracts and other natural ingredients for a soothing risk-free formula. Other products may contain harsher chemicals that are irritating to your pet’s skin. There is also the risk that artificial fragrances add to the problem. Instead, you can use soothing essential oils for skin health and a better scent. 

In other words, don’t get out your own medicated anti-dandruff shampoo and use that on your dog. The formula isn’t dog-friendly and could make things a lot worse. There are plenty of dog shampoos and other related products on the market that work. You don’t have to spend a fortune either to get something that is effective. 

Seek veterinarian advice if you have any concerns about your pet’s well-being. You might feel a bit silly or overprotective going to your vet to talk about Frenchie dandruff issues. But, you can’t be too careful, especially if your vet ends up diagnosing a more serious skin condition that requires pharmaceutical help. Even if there is no immediate cause for concern, your vet can help to ease your mind and offer recommendations on treatments. They can talk to you about safe grooming products, LID dog food, or other options that might help. 

To summarise

In short, it is important that you examine your dog’s coat and skin when you see signs of dandruff. This can give you a better idea of the cause. If you are still none the wiser, talk to your veterinarian about possible causes and treatments. The right method – whether that means a change in diet, shampoo, or medical treatment – should provide relief soon enough. Just be patient when searching for the answer and always do what is best for your pet. 

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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