Black Dandruff on Dogs

miniature schnauzer image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Dandruff occurs when the skin cells flake off, usually due to dry skin. However, if the dandruff on your dog appears to be black in color, it may be a symptom of something else.

Causes

Dog dandruff is generally not black. If your dog has what seems to be black dandruff, it may actually be the result of fleas or canine lice.

Fleas

Flea feces can appear to be black dandruff. It is often described as being waxy or similar in appearance to dirt. In some cases, if the feces gets wet, it will smear and produce a red-like color.

Lice

The dandruff might be the nits, or eggs, of canine lice. These nits are cemented to the hair shaft and will not shake loose like dandruff would.

Symptoms

On a dog, fleas and lice can cause a variety of symptoms: skin lesions, itching--which may be mild to severe--and hair loss.

Diagnosis

If you see what appears to be black dandruff on your dog, you should have a qualified veterinarian provide a diagnosis.

Misconception

If your dog's black dandruff proves to be lice, there is no reason to panic. Canine lice is not the same species as those found on humans and cannot be transmitted to humans.

Photo Credits

  • miniature schnauzer image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com