Why Does My Cocker Spaniel Have Dandruff?

Fox scratching his head
I know this isn’t a cocker spaniel but he’s got the itchies too…

Okay. Full disclosure – I have dandruff. I have allergies and dry skin which compound to cause me a massive amount of itchy annoyance and blizzard like flaky flakes.

Why does my cocker spaniel have dandruff?

Dandruff is a symptom of an underlying skin or coat issue related to seasonal allergies, weather, infections, rashes, and could also be attributed to other health and/or environmental factors.

While dandruff is common in cocker spaniels and dogs in general, remain mindful and proactive when it comes to treatment and relieving any accompanying itch or irritation that may come as a result of your pups dry skin.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

What is Dandruff, Exactly?

Good question.

Dandruff is dry skin cells that have exfoliated from the surface to create flaky build up just beneath your pups fur.

Cocker spaniels are notorious for their flowing locks, thus causing initial dandruff detection to be a bit inconspicuous at first.

Things to look for:

  • Excessive itching
  • White flakes on top of your pups fur
  • Irritated or inflamed skin
  • Unusual smell indicative of a bacterial infection
  • Dry weather

The Primary Causes of Dog Dandruff

While the comprehensive list of all things that could potentially cause your cocker spaniel to suffer from dandruff could go on for days, I’ll give you the “Readers Digest” version of possible causes.

Shall we begin?

Skin Irritations

Skin irritations are one of the most common causes of dog dandruff and can come in the form of adverse reactions to food, weather, and environment.

Keeping an eye on the overall health of your cocker spaniels skin is imperative to rapidly mitigating any unwarranted issues as they happen to arise.


You know as well as I do that cocker spaniels come with built in stressors.

Just add batteries, am I right?!

Because of our hyper awareness to changes in our current and safe environment, we become victim to stressors almost instantly.

Most of the time this causes issues with our skin. Just like humans. You guys get zits when you get stressed – we get itchy skin, resulting in dandruff.

Health Issues

Seasonal, skin, or food allergies are among the most common health issues found in cocker spaniels. We have sensitive skin in comparison to most other breeds – leaving us susceptible to all sorts of skin problems throughout our life.

I have pretty ridiculous allergies.

Last year about this time I had one of the worst reactions to date. I had to use CBD oil to help calm the situation. CBD oil has actually played an important role in the health of my skin and my mind.

If you’re at all interested in the post I wrote up for the CBD oil I use most often then click this link for more!

Environmental Factors

Do you live in a dry climate?

Las Vegas perhaps?


We cockers don’t necessarily love the frigid cold and dry climate. The snow gets stuck in our leg hair. Not a good look for us.

I hate the snow.

While the humidity is horrible for my flowy hair, it’s great for the moisture in my skin.

However, if your cocker spaniel lives in a 4 seasons climate, the yearly adjustments can wreak havoc on their skin health and they find themselves in a constant fight to acclimate.

When the weather changes to cold and dry during the winter months, my dandruff production cranks up to another level.

The environment plays a vital role in the health of our skin. Pay attention to this, humans. We need lotion too!

Is Dandruff a Health Concern?

There’s two different ways your dog’s dandruff can play out.

  1. It’s a dry skin issue and will be relatively easy to fix.
  2. It’s an underlying health issue caused by allergies, stress, bacteria, bugs, pests, or other infections brought about by altering environmental factors.

Be sure to check the health risk concerns off of your list first. I’ll admit, I hate the vet but sometimes the inevitable is imminent.

Was that a double unavoidable?

Regardless, contact your pup’s vet first and foremost. Let them know when you first noticed the dandruff, if you’ve changed your dogs diet recently, if you’ve moved in the last three months, or any other changes that may have caused fluctuations in your cocker spaniels histamine production.

Dog Dandruff Remedies

Dog dandruff remedies are a dime a dozen. It’s important to trust the source and start with easily accessible and natural products.

Some of my favorite products that my mom uses when I get a massive case of the dandruff itchies are as follows:

  • Oatmeal shampoo baths
  • Coconut oil
  • Allergy chews
  • Skin balm (from Natural Dog Company)
  • A good brushing on a regular basis

There’s more.

Trust me.

But this is a good place for you to start. I want to point out that this is primarily for non-health related issues.

Take a trip down this list once you’ve visited your dog’s vet and they were able to check off any other health issues or major concerns.


Trust me when I say that my dog dandruff is no fun. If left unattended to, it can lead to inflamed skin irritations, sores, and infections.

Dog dandruff is also embarrassing. Do you know how awkward it is to be loved on by a stranger while they flick the flakes off your back?

Ensure the overall skin health of your cocker spaniel with regular vet check-ins, regularly scheduled spa days, skin moisturizers, and frequent brushes.

The dandruff issue could very well be a skin OR coat problem. Check your cockers diet, keep their stress levels down, exercise them regularly, and maintain the integrity of their skin and coat.

All of this should lessen or completely remove your cocker spaniel’s dandruff problem.

I’m no vet but I am a cocker spaniel with dandruff. I know things. I’ve been places and have had 5 years of dog life experience under my belt.

I also know that it’s imperative to continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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