Hair Loss in Dogs

Hair loss in dogs can be due to the change of seasons, or it can signal more serious health issues. Dogs shed hair on a regular basis, but you need to know when hair loss is normal and when you should be alarmed.

Causes of Hair Loss in Canines

Hair loss may be due to a multiple causes, ranging from allergies to bacterial or fungal infections.

Food allergies can cause hair loss. Inhalant allergies can cause itchy skin, which will result in persistent scratching, chewing and biting of the affected areas. The scratching will cause hairless spots. Bacteria or fungi that infect the dog’s skin can also be responsible for hair loss.

Anxiety can make a dog lose hair and chew on his fur. Stress can be triggered by a number of factors including changes, loss and separation from previous owner or illness.

Cancer, Cushing’s disease or thyroid diseases can cause alarming coat thinning. Certain medications and chemotherapy will make your dog lose hair.

Alopecia is a rare genetic disease which can lead to sudden hair loss or temporary baldness, followed by the growth of hair.

Diagnosing Hair Loss

Hair loss in dogs should be diagnosed, so that proper treatment is administered. Dogs lose hair typically in the spring or beginning of summer. However, indoor dogs lose hair all year long. If your dog is under medication, ask your vet about possible side effects that may include hair loss. Consult the vet if you notice bald patches, bleeding skin or a change in the fur’s color.

Treatment Options for Hair Loss

The treatment for hair loss in dogs depends on the underlying cause.

Food allergies will be treated with a hypoallergenic diet. This diet is recommended for healthy skin and coat. Include fatty acids, antioxidants and selenium supplements to boost your pet’s immunity and keep the skin and hair healthy.

Topical ointments containing steroids can also relieve itchiness and rashes that cause hair loss.

A special formula shampoo is often recommended. Scaly skin needs a gentle shampoo. The health of the skin influences the health of the coat. A skin that is excessively dry or oily can cause hair loss.

Stressed dogs will get mild anti-anxiety medication (such as valium or diazepam) to stop the excessive licking and scratching of fur. Pheromone diffusers can also relieve stress.

If the cat has a fungal or bacterial infection, these will be treated with antibiotics and special ointments to repair the skin damage. The hair should grow back as soon as the dog is healthy.

Preventing Hair Loss

Hair loss in dogs can be prevented in some cases.

  • Stress can be prevented by offering a lot of attention to your dog, especially when he undergoes changes.
  • Fungal and bacterial infections can be prevented with a proper hygiene.
  • Allergies cannot be prevented, but if you detect the allergen in a timely manner, you can prevent excessive hair loss.
  • Regular grooming is important for a healthy coat in dogs.