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Seborrhea in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Beneath all that fur, dogs can get skin diseases and problems too.  This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss one common issue that will often arise which is called Seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea in dogs.

And hopefully…

In the article we’ll be able to answer a few questions you may have about this condition as well as provide you with some insight on what it might be like to have a dog that is struggling with this condition.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What is seborrhea in dogs?

If your dog has flaky dry skin or greasy skin then your dog could have seborrhea. The dry form of seborrhea is called seborrhea sicca whereas the oily one is called seborrhea oleosa. It’s also possible that your dog has both sicca and oleosa or combination skin. That makes it a little more complex to treat because it’s not a matter of just getting the skin moisturized or aired out; you have to be a little more strategic.

Symptoms & Clinical Signs

Simply having dry/ flaky skin or oily skin isn’t the only symptom of seborrhea. A dog with seborrhea might also have an odor. You may also see scales or flakes (dandruff), and your dog could be feeling really itchy. Sometimes, the dog suffers from hair loss or redness.

Dogs Breeds at Risk

Some breeds have more sensitive skin than others, which makes them more at risk for seborrhea. These breeds include (but are not limited to):

Underlying Cause of Seborrhea in Dogs

Seborrhea could be caused by an underlying cause. That’s why it is known as a secondary condition. This means, once you treat the underlying disease then seborrhea will eventually go away. Some of the primary conditions that lead to seborrhea include:

  • Food allergy or other allergies
  • Inherited disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Parasites
  • Skin infections

Also, you must know that seborrhea can be made worse if the skin gets a bacterial infection, yeast infections (which happens more rapidly with the presence of fatty acids) or fungal infections.

Diagnosis of seborrhea in dogs

If you don’t think your dog has a primary condition, then you can treat seborrhea directly by using special medicated shampoos that helps the skin to heal. You may have to find the right shampoo for your dog’s skin type before you see results.

This is where…

Seeking the advice of your veterinarian can really come into play because he or she should be able to recommend a shampoo that could do the trick. Your veterinarian may also recommend other treatment options like:

  • Benzoyl peroxide,
  • Salicylic acid,
  • Or sulfur compounds, especially for the areas which are not covered by fur such as the ear canals.

So, please be sure to speak to a veterinarian before making a decision on what treatment options to try on your pet.

After all…

Your vet may even need to do some diagnostic tests prior to deciding that your dog has seborrhea. This could include skin scrapings. This isn’t usually necessary, but each case is different. If your vet thinks it’s required, then he or she will do recommend it.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have seborrhea (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Prevention of Seborrhea in Dogs

Some studies suggest that ensuring your dog has all the necessary essential fatty acids in balance could prevent further outbreaks of seborrhea. It could be a good idea to look at what’s in your dog’s food and adjust it accordingly.

How much will it cost to treat my dog’s seborrhea?

It’s hard to say just how much treating your dog’s skin disease will cost. As we mentioned, there could be a primary condition at play that also needs treated, and likewise, the seborrhea could have resulted in another type of infection.

All of this…

Will impact the final cost. But be sure: it’s probably going to cost you $200+ to take care of it. That’s not much if you compare it to other problems like cardiac disease or dystrophy, but it’s still more than you probably want to pay.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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