A fact of cat ownership is knowing that your feline friend leaves fur everywhere, especially as the weather changes. Some breeds shed frequently due to the type of fur that they have, while others barely shed at all. Sometimes, though, shedding excessively and the appearance of dandruff can mean your cat isn’t receiving the nutrients that they need from their food.
We put together these reviews to show you which foods are the best to keep your feline’s skin dandruff-free and their shedding minimal.
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|Best Overall||Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription||
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|Budget Buy||Purina Beyond Pate Cat Food||
|Forza10 Nutraceutic Dermo Cat Food||
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pate Kitten Food||
|Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food||
The 15 Best Cat Foods for Shedding and Dandruff
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Overall
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|Special diet:||Grain-free, no wheat, no corn, no soy, high-protein|
High-protein diets, like Smalls Cat Food Subscription, are a good way to reduce your cat’s shedding and dandruff. Formulated with all-natural ingredients and real meat, the recipes are designed to support a balanced diet while the protein content helps to boost your cat’s health.
Both their immune system and their coat health can benefit from the recipes. By boosting the strength of your cat’s fur, your cat is less likely to shed and suffer from hairballs. The nutrients and vitamins in each recipe also help to support their digestive system which, in turn, makes their litter trays less smelly and unpleasant to clean.
Like other subscription food services, Smalls delivers the meals to your door and helps you tailor the recipes to meet your feline’s preferences. It also offers a short trial period with sampler packs to help your pet transition to the new food and test whether they like it. If your cat doesn’t enjoy the food, there is a money-back guarantee. We feel Smalls is the overall best cat food for shedding and dandruff.
Smalls is a subscription-based supplier and the cat food is only available through the website. These recipes are unavailable in physical stores.
2. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Canned Cat Food — Budget Buy
|Special diet:||Gluten-free, non-GMO, grain-free, high protein, sensitive digestion|
Purina Beyond Grain-Free Pate 3 Flavors Variety Pack Canned Cat Food is our choice for a good budget cat food for shedding and dandruff. Sold in cases of six or 12, this variety pack comes in three flavors: chicken and sweet potato, Alaskan cod and spinach, and wild salmon.
Using real salmon, cod, and chicken, Purina Beyond combines natural prebiotic fibers with high moisture content and a grain-free recipe. Lacking artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, along with corn, wheat, soy, and meat by-products, it supports cats with sensitive stomachs and those who suffer from dandruff and excessive shedding.
While the moisture content is at 78%, the protein content is low in all three flavors.
3. Forza10 Nutraceutic Dermo Dry Cat Food
|Special diet:||Gluten-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, limited ingredients, non-GMO|
Formulated by veterinarians, Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Line Dermo Dry Cat Food avoids common allergens by keeping its ingredients limited and completely natural. High in protein and omega fatty acids, this dry food is easy for sensitive stomachs to digest and keeps your cat’s fur shiny. The recipe is gluten-free and non-GMO and contains no corn, soy, or wheat products for a healthy, balanced diet.
Dry food is notorious for being low on moisture content, and this option is only available in small, 4-pound bags. While it’s an effective choice for cats suffering from dandruff and other skin issues related to allergies, it’s also quite expensive.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Variety Grain-Free Cat Food
|Special diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, high protein|
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pate Kitten Variety Pack Grain-Free Cat Food is high in both protein and moisture content to support your kitten’s development and health. Packed with real chicken and salmon, the recipe avoids common allergens and doesn’t use grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial additives.
Along with the included vitamins and minerals, the formula contains DHA — found in a mother cat’s milk — to help your kitten’s eye, brain, and cognitive development.
Sold in a pack of six 3-ounce cans, this kitten food is only available in small packs and might not be suitable for cats over a year old.
5. Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free Skin & Coat
|Food form:||Food topper, freeze-dried|
|Special diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, pea-free, raw|
Specifically designed to keep your feline’s coat shiny and skin in top form, Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Skin & Coat Health Recipe Cat Food Topper is filled with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Made with real chicken and freeze-dried, the formula is completely grain-free. High in protein, these treats don’t contain corn, wheat, soy, potato, or artificial flavors and preservatives.
It’s a food topper, so it’s not recommended as a meal on its own. While the freeze-dried nature of this food means the recipe is suitable for cats on restricted diets, raw food can carry more bacteria that can be potentially harmful to your feline.
6. American Journey Salmon Grain-Free Cat Food
|Special diet:||Grain-free, no wheat, no corn, no soy, high-protein|
Grain-free and high in protein, American Journey Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food contains antioxidants, taurine, and omega fatty acids. As the best overall cat food for shedding and dandruff, the recipe cares for every part of your cat to create a balanced diet. The American Journey Salmon Recipe supports your feline’s heart, eyes, and immune system to ensure that they’re healthy all over.
Made with real salmon, there are no artificial additives, meat by-products, or common allergens like wheat, corn, or soy. Since this is dry food, however, the moisture content is a little low, and you’ll need to make sure your cat drinks enough water to compensate.
7. Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Cat Food
|Special diet:||Grain-free, high protein|
Fish is a well-known source of omega oils, and Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food uses real trout and salmon for a protein-rich recipe and a source of omega-3 and -6. Paired with prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants, the formula focuses on your kitty’s immune system and works to keep their outside healthy from the inside.
Omitting artificial additives, corn, wheat, soy, and grain, Canyon River is gentle on sensitive stomachs and doesn’t bother cats with allergies. While your cat will appreciate the boost to its health, this kibble is expensive and doesn’t contain much moisture.
8. Crave Salmon Protein & Ocean Fish Grain-Free Cat Food
|Special diet:||High protein, grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy|
Crave With Protein From Salmon & Ocean Fish Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food mimics the diets of your feline’s wildcat ancestors. With real salmon as the basis, the recipe is high in protein to support your kitty’s immune system.
Without allergens like grain, corn, soy, and wheat, the kibble is easy to digest and won’t make your cat shed too much fur through excessive grooming or scratching. There isn’t much moisture content, though, so make sure to keep your cat’s water bowl topped up to promote healthy hydration.
While this dry food is available in three sizes, the larger bags are expensive.
9. Purina Pro Plan Hairball Management Salmon Cat Food
|Special diet:||High protein, high fiber|
For indoor cats, Purina Pro Plan Adult Indoor Hairball Management Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food balances the nutrients that your feline doesn’t get outdoors with a healthy diet. Formulated to prevent hairballs, the recipe is packed with protein and omega-6 fatty acids to care for your cat’s skin and coat while reducing shedding.
Sold in 3.5-pound or 7-pound bags, this dry food doesn’t contain much moisture but is filled with real salmon to boost your feline’s protein intake. Natural fiber and probiotics support your cat’s digestive system.
If your cat suffers from allergies, this food isn’t hypoallergenic and contains corn, wheat, and soy products.
10. American Journey Sensitive Stomach Chicken
|Special diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy, high protein, high fiber|
Part of preventing excessive shedding and dandruff is through a healthy, balanced diet. American Journey Sensitive Stomach Total Health Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food works to support your cat’s entire immune system.
Pairing protein from real chicken with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, this food helps your cat’s skin and coat, while the added fiber, antioxidants, taurine, and minerals keep your feline in top form.
While this recipe doesn’t include corn, wheat, or soy, there is grain in the recipe. Cats with grain allergies may still suffer from hair loss.
Remember to keep your cat’s water bowl topped up if their diet consists of dry food, as the low moisture levels require cats to find another hydration source.
11. Wellness Complete Health Salmon Cat Food
|Special diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy, high protein, non-GMO|
Wellness Complete Health Salmon Adult Dry Cat Food is an option to help your cat’s overall health keep their shedding and dandruff at bay. Besides keeping their coat and fur in pristine condition, this dry cat food works to care for your feline’s dental hygiene, digestive, and immune systems. The blend of fats, high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals supplies your cat with all the energy that they need.
Free from corn, wheat, and soy products, the recipe has high protein content and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to keep your best friend’s skin and fur healthy. However, this dry food is unsuitable for cats with grain allergies.
As always with dry food, keep a bowl full of clean water nearby for your cat to stay hydrated.
12. Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Variety Pack Pate Wet Cat Food
|Special diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy|
Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Variety Pack Pate Wet Cat Food has three flavors available: chicken, salmon, and whitefish. Using real meat, the recipe ensures that the ingredients are rich in protein and contain a high moisture content for a healthy digestive system and hydration.
This variety pack doesn’t use meat by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in any of the cans. While lacking the most common cat allergens, the formula does contain grain and doesn’t include omega fatty acids.
Despite the protein-rich meats making up the formula, there isn’t that much protein in the overall recipe. The moisture content will help your feline’s dandruff, but you may find that the grain content and lack of omega oils won’t help their shedding.
13. Sheba Perfect Portions Chicken & Salmon Entrée Cat Food
|Special diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, pea-free, gluten-free|
Made with real chicken and salmon, Sheba Perfect Portions Multipack Chicken and Salmon Entrée Cat Food Trays double as complete, pre-portioned meals or food toppers for your feline’s kibble. Each serving is kept in an easy-open packet.
There’s not much protein in the recipe, despite the real chicken and salmon ingredients, but the high moisture content keeps your cat hydrated and their skin free from dandruff. The formula is free of grain, corn, wheat, gluten, and soy.
Despite the hypoallergenic content, there aren’t any omega oils to keep your cat’s coat shiny, and you may have to partner this option with another, omega-rich food to keep your kitty’s diet properly balanced.
14. Wellness CORE Tiny Tasters Variety Grain-Free Cat Food
|Special diet:||High protein, grain-free, gluten-free, pea-free|
Premade into portion-sized, easy-open pouches, Wellness CORE Tiny Tasters Variety Pack Grain-Free Cat Food Pouches have real tuna and salmon. Filled with high-quality protein and 78% moisture, these meals support your cat’s muscles, fur, and hydration. Two flavors — tuna pâté and tuna with salmon — make this multipack interesting for picky eaters too.
Grain, gluten, and pea-free, this food will help cats with allergies from suffering from excessive shedding or itchy and dry skin. There aren’t any omega oils for an extra boost for your feline’s skin and coat, though.
Although the packets are single-serve pouches, some cats, depending on their activity levels, may find the ready-made portions to be too big or too small. The pouches are also non-resealable and leftovers won’t stay fresh.
15. Purina ONE High Protein Ocean Whitefish Wet Cat Food
|Special diet:||Grain-free, high protein|
Hairball prevention foods, like Purina ONE Indoor Advantage High Protein Ocean Whitefish & Rice Wet Cat Food, are formulated to help negate hairballs by caring for your cat’s skin and coat. Stuffed with moisture for healthy hydration for both your cat’s digestion and skin, this food is free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives.
Avoiding allergens is also ideal for tending to your cat’s excessive shedding, and the grain-free content of this food will keep your feline healthy. Aimed at indoor cats and made with real fish, this option is filled with the vitamins and minerals that they might miss out on at home.
Available in a case of 24 3-ounce cans and formulated specifically to prevent hairballs, this food is expensive.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Cat Food for Shedding & Dandruff
Before we give you our tips to find the best cat food for shedding, let’s discuss how and why it happens.
What causes shedding?
All cats shed their fur. Maine coons and other longhaired breeds are notorious for leaving fur everywhere, but it’s not just the breed of your cat that plays a part in how much they shed. Warmer weather is the biggest cause and why you find more fur during spring than you do in fall or winter. A cat’s winter coat is thick enough to keep them warm, something that they don’t need in summer.
They should never lose enough fur to leave bald patches, so it’s those spots of bare skin that make us cat owners worry. Here are a few reasons why your cat might be shedding excessively.
High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
How to control excessive shedding?
Controlling excessive shedding doesn’t mean only relying on certain foods to prevent hair loss in cats, although making sure your cat’s diet suits them is part of the battle. There are numerous other ways to help keep your cat’s shedding at a manageable level.
Grain is one of the biggest allergies among cats, and you’ll often see foods labeled as “grain-free.” There are many things that your cat could be allergic to beyond grain, though, and it’s hard to tell what will set them off, scratching constantly at their itchy skin.
Besides grain, try to avoid foods that use corn, wheat, and soy products. When it comes to your beloved feline, natural foods are best. There are limited-ingredient diets available too, which make it easier for cat owners with sensitive felines to avoid anything that will set them off. If you’re not sure what your cat is allergic to and nothing else seems to work, finding foods with only one or two ingredients is a good place to start.
- Want to know how various cat foods stack up against one another? Read the Best Cat Foods (Updated)
Longhaired cats in particular need a good brush occasionally. While they groom themselves, it never hurts to give them a helping hand. Keeping a brush handy and spending an evening running it through your cat’s fur is both a bonding exercise and a way to remove dead skin cells and loose hair.
Use a brush designed for your cat’s fur length. Soft bristles work best for short and medium-length fur, while wire bristles are the best for long and dense coats.
Consuming omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
Omega oils, 3 and 6 being the best, are well known for keeping felines’ fur glossy and their skin in good health. Fish is a natural source of omega-3, and the best foods always use real ingredients in their recipes. Choosing foods with omega fatty acids is all well and good, but your four-legged friend will still lose their fur if they’re allergic to the grain content within the recipe. Remember to keep an eye on the other ingredients too.
You might think that you only want protein in your cat’s diet to keep their muscles strong, but it works on their fur too. Cats’ fur is made of protein. To keep it strong and healthy, high-protein diets are necessary.
Cats are carnivores so animal protein is preferred. Keep an eye out for foods that use real, protein-rich ingredients. Chicken and salmon are the best options.
What causes dandruff?
Like humans, cats can suffer from dandruff. It’s caused by dry skin and can be due to dehydration or allergies. The latter in particular can make your cat’s skin itch, and their incessant scratching eventually leads to excessive shedding.
How to prevent dandruff
Preventing dandruff follows the same tricks as controlling shedding. Keeping your feline’s coat in top shape is the best option that you have. Regular grooming sessions and a healthy, balanced diet filled with omega oils and protein, without allergens, are good methods of reducing dandruff.
Beyond that, try looking out for foods with high moisture content. If your cat lives on kibble, make sure you keep their water dish topped up. If that isn’t enough, switch to wet food instead. You can mix it with dry food, and the moisture content is higher, keeping your cat hydrated.
These reviews are our top picks for the best cat foods for shedding and dandruff. Smalls Fresh Raw Cat Food is our overall best due to its high protein content and limited allergen ingredients. For a budget option, our best value choice — Purina Beyond Grain-Free Pate 3 Flavors Variety Pack Canned Cat Food — uses probiotics, natural fiber, and moisture to keep your cat’s immune system and fur healthy.
Knowing the best cat foods for hair loss doesn’t have to be difficult, and these reviews should help you find a solution to your cat’s hair loss problem.
- Next on your reading list: Why Does My Cat Shed His Claws? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: Skrypnykov Dmytro, Shutterstock