How to Use Olive Oil for Cat Dandruff Treatment: The Ultimate Guide

Using olive oil as a natural pet remedy has become increasingly popular. It is a holistic approach to dealing with various stomach and skin issues, such as feline dandruff. Thus, many cat owners want to know how to use olive oil for cat dandruff treatment.

To use olive oil for cat dandruff treatment, gently massage the affected areas with a small amount of warm extra virgin olive oil. After half an hour, rinse off the oil with warm water and dry the cat with a towel. Repeat this process daily until the issue is resolved. 

In this guide, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about olive oil and feline dandruff treatment. I’ll explain how olive oil treats dandruff, the right type for your pet, how to use olive oil for cat dandruff treatment, and much more. Keep reading!

Olive Oil For Cat Dandruff Treatment: Is It Effective?

Olive oil is very effective for cat dandruff treatment thanks to its vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-bacterial properties

You can apply olive oil topically on the affected area or add a small amount to your cat’s food several times a week to combat the issue from the inside out. 

Here’s how olive oil works to prevent and treat feline dandruff.

It Has Moisturizing Effects

Olive oil is a well-known natural moisturizer often used to combat dry skin conditions, including dandruff, in humans and animals. It helps soften the cat’s skin and fur and balances the skin’s natural oils. 

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It Acts as an Antioxidant

Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. As such, antioxidants improve the skin by enhancing hydration and softening, reducing inflammations, and stimulating collagen and elastin production, among other benefits.

It Has Antibacterial Properties

Olive oil contains properties that help fight bacteria and fungal infections, some of which can cause dry skin and dandruff. Virgin olive oils, in particular, contain significant amounts of phenolic compounds that inhibit the growth and activity of pathogenic bacteria in the body. 

It Contains Vitamins

Olive oil is rich in vitamins, including A, D, K, and E, which benefit the skin. Vitamin E, for instance, has been used throughout history as a remedy for skin conditions like dandruff. 

How to Use Olive Oil for Cat Dandruff Treatment (Step-by-Step)

How to use olive oil for cat dandruff treatment

Before we discuss the step-by-step procedure of using olive oil to treat cat dandruff, it’s crucial to acquaint yourself with the different versions of this oil in the market. 

Note that some types are unsafe for your cat’s skin. Let’s take a look.

Types of Olive Oil

Five types of olive oil exist in the market. These are:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): This is the best quality and most potent type of olive oil. It is extracted directly from olives by cold-pressing method to avoid alteration of their natural contents by high temperatures. EVOO has the most health benefits and can be consumed directly. You should, therefore, always use it for your cat.
  • Virgin Olive Oil: This is an unrefined form of oil extracted by cold-pressing. It has a slightly higher acidity content than EVOO and is temperature resistant, hence suitable for low-heat cooking.
  • Refined Olive Oil: As the name suggests, this is a refined form of olive oil recommended only for cooking. It still has the same calories as the other types but is low-quality.
  • Pure Olive Oil: This form of olive oil is not pure, even though the name suggests it. It is a mixture of EVOO or virgin olive oil with refined olive oil. Blending is usually carried out to improve the quality of refined oil. Pure olive oil is used only for cooking, massages, and therapies.
  • Olive Pomace Oil: This is the lowest quality form of olive oil. It is extracted from the leftovers after the olive fruit is pressed, then blended with virgin oil to enhance the quality. It is not recommended for human or pet consumption.

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How to Use Olive Oil for Cat Dandruff Treatment

Cat dandruff treatment with olive oil is relatively simple. Here is the procedure for using olive oil for cat dandruff treatment:

  • Step 1: Warm one or half a cup of extra virgin oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The amount of oil will depend on your cat’s size and hair type. Cats with long hair will require more oil. Also, ensure the oil is not too hot, as it can burn your pet. It should be comfortable 
  • enough to dip your finger.
  • Step 2: Put your pet where they can’t soil the furniture or soft surfaces with the oil. You can place them in a bathtub or perform the treatment outside.
  • Step 3: Apply the oil to the affected areas and gently massage with your fingers. Leave it for 20 – 30 minutes for the oil to seep into the skin. 
  • Step 4: Rinse off the oil with warm water. Avoid cat shampoo because it will remove the oil nutrients and completely undo the treatment benefits.
  • Step 5: Dry your kitty with a clean towel. 
  • Step 6: Repeat the process daily or every three days for the best results.

As mentioned, you’ll need to use extra virgin oil as it’s the most potent and has the most extensive selection of benefits for your cat. The oil not only soothes dandruff but also eliminates parasites from your pet’s skin. 

Moreover, you can add a few drops to your cat’s food every other day. The antioxidants will help fight chronic cat diseases such as cancer, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. 

It’s, however, worth noting that olive oil is only a hack, not a solution. It’s not a standalone treatment for diseases. Therefore, seeking medical advice for any chronic skin condition in your cat before using olive oil is essential. 

5 Causes of Dandruff in Cats

Olive oil for cat dandruff treatment

Felines can develop dandruff for various reasons that range from simple to very serious. They include the following:

1. Lack of Grooming

Regular grooming is essential to keep a cat’s coat clean. Your cat can develop dandruff if they don’t groom themselves properly. Dandruff occurs when the matted hair blocks moisture and oxygen from reaching the skin, making it dry and flaky. 

Dandruff due to improper grooming is particularly seen in overweight cats. In such a scenario, you’ll most likely notice it in areas the obese cat cannot reach, such as the lower back. 

Pain, stiffness, and mobility problems such as arthritis can also hinder the cat’s ability to groom properly, causing dandruff.

2. Skin Allergies

Sometimes, a cat can have dandruff because they’re allergic to things in their environment. These can be dust mites, molds, pollen, certain foods, flea bites, etc. 

Besides dandruff, symptoms of allergy include the following:

  • Skin inflammation
  • Itchiness
  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Overgrooming, such as licking, chewing, or biting the skin

Skin allergies are usually incurable, but the symptoms can be managed by medical treatments, prescription diets, skin supplements, immunotherapy, and limiting the cat’s exposure to triggers.

3. External and Internal Parasites

External parasites such as lice, mites, fleas, and ticks can be responsible for dry, itchy, inflamed skin in felines. 

A specific type of parasite called demodex mites causes demodectic mange in cats. This inflammatory skin disease is associated with a suppressed immune system due to underlying diseases. 

Demodectic mange causes itching, skin inflammations, headshaking, sores, excessive ear debris, and dandruff.

Another common type of parasitic mites in cats is the Cheyletiella mite, responsible for a highly contagious type of dandruff known as “walking dandruff,” which can also infect humans.

Internal parasites such as ringworms, giardia, and coccidia can also cause dandruff and skin itchiness.

4. Malnutrition and Dehydration

In your cat’s diet, the absence of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can lead to skin issues, including dandruff. This usually occurs when you feed them a homemade diet over an extended period. 

A nutritional deficiency can also result when you give your cat an inappropriately supplemented commercial diet, poor-quality commercial dry food, or one that contains nutrient excesses. 

Similarly, cats need to consume enough water daily to stay hydrated. Like in humans, dehydration in cats causes dry skin and dandruff, among other issues. 

Cats that feed on wet food most likely get much of their water intake from the diet. However, you’ll need to provide your cat with drinking water if you feed them mainly dry food. 

Cat experts recommend about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces (100 – 130 ml) of water daily for every 5 pounds of body weight. For instance, your cat will need to consume about 7 to 9 ounces of water daily if they weigh 10 pounds. 

It’s also worth noting that, even if your cat gets enough water in the diet, they can still suffer from dehydration if they have certain medical conditions or lives in a dry area with very low humidity. 

5. Underlying Health Conditions

A cat can have dry, flaky skin because of an underlying health problem. 

Hormonal conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism are common in older cats and cause dry skin. Your cat can also suffer from kidney disease, pancreatitis, or pemphigus, the most commonly reported autoimmune skin condition. 

Some skin cancers, such as cutaneous lymphoma, can also cause scaly skin in your cat. 

Since some of these causes of dandruff require medical intervention, it’s crucial to get your cat checked by a vet, particularly if you observe any of the following signs alongside dandruff. 

  • Itchiness
  • Skin lesions
  • Presence of external parasites
  • Changes in frequency of grooming
  • Decreased appetite or water consumption
  • Lethargy 
  • Vomiting
  • Fur loss, or alopecia, etc.

Can You Put Olive Oil on Your Cat’s Fur?

You can put olive oil on your cat’s fur as it helps prevent matted hair.  Olive oil moisturizes dried-out fur and detangles the knots as conditioner does in human hair. 

Experts recommend olive oil rather than baby oil (commonly used by pet owners) because it’s natural and safer for cats as they groom themselves.

For prevention, preferably use olive oil each time you brush your cat. Put a few drops in your brush and gently brush your cat’s coat as usual. The oil will make the hair strands glide past one another smoothly.

Also, consider putting a few drops on your kitty’s paws and the area beneath the ears. Doing this will make your cat groom itself with it, too. 

To remove matted fur, you’ll want to apply olive oil under the mat and as close to the skin as possible. You can achieve this using a needleless syringe. Gently rub the oil and leave it to soak in for a few days. 

The oil will detangle the hair, and the mat should fall off naturally within three days. If it doesn’t come out afterward, re-apply the oil and repeat the process. You may need to comb through the mat to relieve the knots gently. 

Is It Ok If My Cat Licks Olive Oil?

It is okay for your cat to lick olive oil because it’s not poisonous unless they’re allergic. But since felines are carnivores and require a protein-rich diet with low carbohydrates, your cat should only consume olive oil in small amounts because it’s 100% fat and very high in calories.

Giving your cat too much olive oil is unsafe and can potentially result in the following:

  • Digestive Issues: Cats lack enough digestive enzymes to break down large amounts of fat. Too much olive oil can result in stomach cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • Weight Gain: As mentioned, olive oil is calorie-rich. A teaspoonful contains approximately 40 calories, roughly 22% of an indoor cat’s daily caloric requirement. Regular intake will create a calorie overload in their daily diet, leading to obesity. 
  • Pancreatitis: Too much olive oil can also lead to inflammation of the pancreas, a life-threatening condition if left untreated. Cats with pancreatitis lose appetite, vomit, become lethargic, have diarrhea, and experience abdominal pain, among other symptoms. 

Similarly, you’ll want to avoid giving your cat olive oil if they show an allergic reaction. This can include:

  • Bloating 
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Hair loss or patchy skin
  • Inappetence

Therefore, checking in with your vet before introducing olive oil into your kitty’s diet is best.

Final Words

Like humans, cats can get dandruff. Fortunately, you can use olive oil for cat dandruff treatment as it is an excellent remedy. It is safe for consumption and is laden with a myriad of benefits for your cat’s overall skin and fur health.

Use the correct olive oil and occasionally add small amounts to your cat’s food. Also, get your cat checked by a vet for any underlying health condition before using olive oil for cat dandruff treatment.

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