Seborrhea in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Seborrhea, also known as Seborrheic Dermatitis, is a common skin disorder in dogs that causes the skin to flake and become oily or greasy. With seborrhea, the sebaceous glands of the skin produce an excessive amount of sebum. The excess sebum is what gives off that doggy smell everyone complains about.


There are two common forms of seborrhea; a dry (sicca) form and oily (oleosa) form, but most have a combination of dry and oily seborrhea. Areas that are rich in sebaceous glands like the back, face, and flanks are most affected. In these areas you will notice scales, flakiness, itchiness, and red skin. There will also be an odor associated with seborrhea which worsens with secondary bacterial and/or yeast infection. Sebum, bacteria and yeast make living with a dog difficult because of the smell!


Seborrhea is often a secondary condition. Primary conditions or diseases include allergies, endocrine disorders, dietary deficiencies, malabsorption disorders, parasites, and autoimmune disorders. Seborrhea can also be an inherited disorder. If this is the case, it usually afflicts animals before they reach two years of age. Breeds most commonly afflicted with inherited seborrhea include West Highland White Terriers, American Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Shar-Peis.


  • Use VET BASICS® ParaSeb Shampoo twice a week for two weeks then weekly until under control. ParaSeb shampoo will hydrate the skin while healing the itch. It combines three ingredients to help solve this issue:
    1. Coal Tar is soothing – anti-parasitic, anti-allergy and gets the allergen off skin.
    2. Salicylic Acid – Anti-yeast and soothing to skin irritation.
    3. Sulfa – gets the infection.
  • Use VET BASICS® ChlorConazole topical spray daily in the worst areas. It kills yeast and bacteria. We can’t shampoo daily, but we can spray needed areas every day while treating.
  • Antibiotics for any secondary infections are helpful. Most treat the bacteria with Cephalexin and allow the topical to control the yeast.
  • To promote a healthy skin and coat from the inside out, follow with Doc Roy’s® Derma Coat Plus. Derma Coat will add the microessentials and antioxidants to help grow and maintain healthy skin. You’re going to have a challenge getting the next healthy coat in, and Derma Coat Plus will give you an edge on success here. A healthy coat and soft skin will resist this issue better in the future.


Skin fold dermatitis of the face is common in Bulldogs and other pushed-in nose breeds with excess skin folds. Treating around the eyes is tricky but these two products will help.
  • Use Doc Roy’s® Rescue Derm for any areas that look like they need a little extra healing or rejuvenation. It is all natural safe around the eyes!
  • VET BASICS® ChlorConazole Wipes are easy to use close to the eyes and facial folds. Just wipe the folds daily with the medicated wipe and toss in the trash.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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