Dog Hair Loss Around Eyes

There are many conditions that cause dog hair loss around the eyes. In most cases, hair loss around the eye may spread to other parts of the body. Reasons for primary hair loss may include parasites, fungi and allergies. 

Blood tests and skin scrapings are the most commonly used diagnostic tools. 

Ringworm and Dog Hair Loss

Ringworm is a fungal infection that is spread through contact. 

Characteristics of ringworm:

  • may be present in a localized area
  • lesion appears circular
  • hair loss limited to affected area
  • skin may appear red, swollen, scaly
  • some dogs may experience itching 

Ringworm is seen more often in younger dogs, or dogs in stressful situations. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. 


This condition is often called “red mange.” It is caused by the demodex canis mite. These mites are present on the skin of all dogs in low numbers. Mites are one of the organisms that normally inhabit skin. The condition develops when mites begin to grow in large numbers. It is not known why some dogs develop the condition, while others do not. 

Symptoms of demodicosis include:

  • appears in patches
  • usually begins around the mouth and eyes
  • hair loss progress to the head and body
  • may develop into large lesions or sores
  • dog may or may not scratch at wounds 

If demodicosis is not treated, it will spread over the body. Treatment usually consists of the use of a dip. Normally, more than one treatment is needed to diminish the mite population. 


There are 3 common types of dermatitis seen in dogs. Other types of dermatitis are less common. If the disease progresses, all forms may share similar characteristics.

Characteristics of mid to late progression:

  • hair loss
  • open sores
  • dog licks on hairless spots or wounds
  • scratching at wounds 

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Some dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas. Flea saliva contains a type of histamine that is transferred to the dog at the moment of the flea bite. An outbreak of this type of dermatitis does not usually begin around the eyes, but it is possible. 

Symptoms of flea allergy:

  • commonly affected areas are thighs, tail, lower abdominal region, lower back and ears
  • constant licking of the affected areas may cause discoloration to surrounding hair
  • wounds may become infected 

Flea control is the first step in the treatment of this condition. Treatment may also include the use of topical ointments and creams and oral medications. 

Atopic Dermatitis

Some dogs develop allergies to airborne allergens and allergens that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. This usually begins in young dogs and it is more susceptible in certain breeds. Many cases of atopic dermatitis are seasonal and symptoms are similar to those in humans suffering from seasonal allergies. Other cases may involve allergic reactions to dust and mold. 

Early onset symptoms include:

  • itching
  • watery eyes
  • rubbing of the face
  • rhinitis (runny nose)
  • sneezing and/or wheezing 

Untreated atopic dermatitis can progress into a more serious form of dermatitis that results in hair loss and open lesions. Treatment includes removing or limiting exposure to allergen, antihistamines and topical creams and ointments. 

It is important to consult your veterinarian, if you suspect your dog is suffering from a skin condition. Rare bacterial infections, hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome along with many other conditions can cause hair loss.