Seborrhea In Dogs

Seborrhea is a disease in dogs with flaky skin and greasy fur. Seborrhea appears in a few aspects: oily, dry or a combination of the two, which is the most common type. Waxy, greasy flakes clumps in the face, knees, around the ankles and under the belly and armpits. This build-up of dead skin also creates an unpleasant scent and causes your dog to feel extremely itchy. The excessive scratching can cause bleeding, crusting and sore wounds. If it is not properly treated, these open sores-become the perfect home for bacteria to spread into a serious infection.


In certain cases, the precise cause of seborrhea (called idiopathic seborrhea) cannot be determined. Seborrhea is often connected to an underlying medical condition, such as:

    • Dietary abnormalities 
    • Environmental factors 
    • Obesity
  • Musculoskeletal disease or pain 
  • Hormonal imbalances 
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Fungal infections 


Seborrhea diagnosis requires a physical examination by a veterinarian that involves not only a detailed examination of the skin, but also of the rest of the body. Your doctor may also require a history of the primary caregiver of your dog. 

Skin examination requires reports of the type, severity and location of skin abnormalities. Hair loss, odor, greasiness, scaling, redness, bumps are all reported in the veterinary record.

Depending on what the veterinarian can find on the physical exam, rapid tests could also be prescribed for the dog. These tests may involve skin scraping and microscopic examination, bacterial or fungal cultures, flea combing, and/or skin biopsy.

If your veterinarian suspects an underlying illness, additional testing, such as blood and urine tests or allergy tests, may be recommended. 



If seborrhea is a secondary disease, treatment includes finding and treating the underlying cause. Bacterial and fungal infections can be treated with antibiotics or anti-fungal. Fatty acids, vitamin supplements and allergy medicines can be helpful. Making sure your dog is having the right nutrition is the secret to handling seborrhea. Otherwise, care focuses on the diagnosis and monitoring of symptoms.

When dogs consistently itch and inflict skin damage, their skin becomes the perfect habitat for secondary bacterial or yeast infections. Therefore, therapy also entails the therapy of secondary skin diseases. Medicated shampoos can help soothe the skin, minimize bacteria and yeast, help with scratching, and keep the skin clean. Moisturizing or spraying can help control the symptoms between baths.


If your dog has hereditary seborrhea, you can only handle it. A balanced diet with adequate fatty acids is a safe way to avoid the disease from being caused by underlying problems.