If your pet is licking or scratching excessively, it's time to take a close look at the problem. Sometimes dry skin or dandruff is more than it appears to be. If your pet has acquired walking dandruff, it has contracted a condition that is contagious--to other pets and to humans--but is thankfully easily treated.
Make a diagnosis. If you see a lot of dandruff in your dog or cat's fur, use a magnifying glass to take a closer look. Is it moving? Dandruff does not move, but walking dandruff does. It's a parasite that moves from place to place in the fur while disguised as dandruff, looking to make a meal of the lymphatic fluid in the skin.
Purchase a lime-sulphur dip, available from mail-order and online manufacturers. Although the dip smells like rotten eggs, it does not contain toxic chemicals that can harm your pet, and it eliminates the parasite.
Prepare the dip as per the directions and prepare the area where you will be dipping the pet. Typically, you mix 118ml. of dip to a gallon of water. Wear gloves and remove your jewellery before mixing and application, as the dip can change the colour of some metals. Be mindful of the surface the animal will be standing on; the runoff can stain porous materials like cement. It may also stain light-coloured fur.
To apply, slowly pour the dip solution over the fur and skin. Make sure to reach all affected areas. Many dogs and cats have oily coats that the liquid will tend to roll off. Tether the pet's leash to something close by to prevent the animal from running away. Use two hands: one to slowly pour the dip and the other to rub it into the fur so it reaches the skin. If the pet is small enough to stand in a container, the runoff can be captured and recirculated back onto the fur until it's saturated.
Keep the pet occupied while the dip dries. It needs to remain on his body until completely dry; it cannot be blown dry and cannot be rinsed. Plan for the animal to spend time outdoors or in a well-ventilated area while drying. Do not allow the pet to ingest the dip. You can put a protective cone collar on the dog to prevent him from licking while drying. Re-application may be required in five to seven days. Ask a vet if this is necessary.
Treat your home by washing all bedding in the house (including yours) in hot water with lime-sulphur dip. Follow the instructions on the bottle to find the proper mixture for bedding or fabrics. Treat anything that may be infected, including pet brushes, combs and fabric toys. If a toy or brush can't be treated, throw it away. Vacuum your carpet often and discard the bag.