Does Your Cat Have Dry Skin? 4 Tips On How To Banish Their Dandruff!

October 6, 2022
Amber LaRock - LVT & Vetted Vet Pro

Most people will experience a bout of dry skin from time to time. This can be due to a change in weather or not drinking enough water, and our cat family members can experience this struggle as well. We know that we can turn to a hydrating lotion when our dry skin hits, but what about our cats?

Our team at Vetted knows just how irritating dry skin and dandruff can be for your cat, so we want to offer you the tools needed to bring them as much relief as possible! Let’s discuss the most common reasons why your cat has dry skin, as well as the most effective ways to banish their dandruff once and for all!

What Is Dandruff In Cats?

Before we discuss the most common causes of dandruff and how to treat it in cats, we should first answer the question of what dandruff is in the first place. Dandruff is a blanket term that refers to any flaky skin that is visible within the cat’s fur, and this can range from a few skin flakes to severe dryness. 

Dandruff can be found anywhere on the cat’s body, but it is most common near the base of the tail and on their belly. Mild dandruff may not be bothersome, but significant dryness can cause significant itchiness in some cats. 

An occasional flake of dry skin on your cat’s fur may not be a huge concern, but significant or chronic dandruff is a symptom that should never be ignored. Dandruff can point to anything from mild skin irritation to an underlying skin condition, so we always suggest taking it seriously and implementing a skin care routine moving forward. 

If you notice any dandruff or skin irritation in your beloved cat, you can always download the Vetted app or email our team directly at where our Vetted Pros are happy to discuss your cat’s symptoms and offer skilled guidance!

Why Does My Cat Have Dandruff?

Now that you know what dandruff is and the typical places to spot it on your cat, let’s break down some of the most common underlying factors behind it! By understanding the reasons why your cat is experiencing dry skin, you can treat it more effectively moving forward!

Not Drinking Enough Water

If a cat is not drinking enough water, this can significantly impact their skin and coat health. This is especially true if your cat only eats dry kibble on top of not drinking enough water, as this could easily lead to dehydration over time. Most cats need to drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day, so anything less can cause their skin to appear dry or faky. 

Dry Air In Your Home

Have you ever experienced dry skin or a dry nose in the winter months? This is often due to the fact that there is less moisture in the air, as well as us keeping our thermostat on warmer temperatures. Our cats can also experience dry skin and dandruff in these situations. 

Inadequate Brushing Schedule

Frequent brushing has many benefits for our beloved cat companions. Not only is it a wonderful way to bond with your cat, but it is one of the easiest ways to support their skin and coat health. Brushing your cat at least 3 times per week helps to stimulate the natural oil production on their skin, and this in turn keeps their skin nice and hydrated. If you are not brushing your cat enough, this could increase their risk of dandruff. 

Not Grooming Themselves Enough

If it seems like your cat only has dandruff around the base of their tail, this could be evidence that they are having a hard time grooming these areas. Many cats that are obese or have joint pain will have a hard time getting into the proper position to groom these areas, and this can increase the risk of dry skin and dandruff in these areas. 

Lack Of Fatty Acids In Their Standard Diet

If your cat is dealing with a chronic case of dry skin and dandruff, this could mean they need more omega fatty acids in their diet. If they are eating a dry kibble that is not fortified with fish oils or other fatty acids, this could cause them to develop dry skin and a lackluster coat.

Skin Allergies

Just like you and I, our little ones can experience allergies that lead to skin irritation. Cats can be allergic to anything in the world around them, with their allergies ranging from plant material to fragrances in your home. Though cats can be allergic to virtually anything, the most common skin allergy they experience is a flea allergy dermatitis. No matter the underlying cause, a cat with skin allergies may develop dry skin, dandruff, itchy skin, and even sores on the skin. 

Underlying Medical Conditions

And last, there are a list of underlying medical conditions that can lead to dandruff and poor coat health overall. Chronic conditions can often lead to dehydration that causes dry skin, and some can even lead to excessive fur loss. Thankfully in these situations, there are often other symptoms associated with their underlying condition. We suggest scheduling an appointment with your vet if your cat experiences dry skin in addition to a change in appetite, weight loss, patches of fur loss, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, or any other strange behavior that is out of character. 

How To Treat Dry Skin In Cats

Now that you are aware of the potential causes of your cat’s skin dandruff and dry skin, we can discuss some of the most effective ways to combat these issues! Our team at Vetted knows just how important your cat’s skin and coat health is, so let’s list our favorite ways to treat dry skin in cats below. 

  • Make sure you are brushing them at least 3 times a week, as this helps to stimulate the natural oil production on their skin.
  • Make sure they are drinking enough water each day, and you can encourage this by offering them a cat water fountain, giving them wet food, or even adding water to their kibble. 
  • Keep a humidifier in the room your cat spends most of their time in during the dry winter months, as this will help to keep the air moist for both you and your cat. 
  • Offer your little one an omega fatty acid supplement that is made for cats. This can also help to improve their joint and immune health, so it can benefit them in multiple ways!
  • Make sure they are on a monthly flea and tick prevention for cats if they spend any time outdoors, or if they are around any animals that do. 
  • Try your best to keep your cat at a healthy weight, as this will help to maintain flexibility when it comes to grooming purposes. 
  • If your cat is experiencing dry and irritated skin and they will allow you to bathe them, you can always give them a bath with a soothing cat shampoo. Just look for shampoo options with ingredients like coconut, aloe, or honey. When in doubt, you can also message our Vetted Pros on the app for help with choosing the best cat shampoo. 

The Vetted team wants the very best for your little one, so we are here to guide you every step of the way. On the Vetted app, we remind you when to do all of these care tasks for your little one. In addition, we thrive to be there for you through the day to day of pet parenthood so that you can be the best pet parent you can be. you can always download the Vetted app or email our team directly at and we'll guide you through any questions you have! We are always here for you and your beloved pet.