There could be many reasons why your dog may experience hair loss. Here, our McAllen vets discuss some possible causes of hair loss in dogs, and how you can help stop it.
Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs
There can be many reasons why your dog might have patchy hair loss. These include regular, seasonal shedding, mange, fleas or other kinds of mites, and even hormonal changes. Of course, there is also alopecia to be careful of too.
Brushing your dog twice a week can aid in the removal and reduction of unwanted hair. Dogs shed their fur when their hairs become worn or damaged, or when the weather warms up. For example, huskies and labradors have thick winter undercoats that they shed in the spring. Seasonal shedding is frequently reduced if you live in a temperate climate.
Dogs, like humans, can develop bacterial or fungal skin diseases. Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is most noticeable when the skin is red and pus-filled. Candida infections, also known as yeast infections, occur when the yeast that is always present on a dog's skin overgrows. Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a fungal infection that causes dry skin and damaged hair in circular areas.
Mange is a term that refers to itchy skin conditions caused by mites. Mites are microscopic organisms that live on the surface of the skin or in hair follicles. Scabies mites, for example, are highly contagious to humans and other dogs. If you find mites or fleas on your dog, consult your veterinarian about an antiparasitic treatment.
Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies, with itchy skin and hair loss being the most common symptoms. The most common allergies in dogs are irritants such as pollen, mold, dust mites, flea allergies, and food allergies. However, dietary allergies can only be detected after at least eight weeks of food trials.
Other Medical Conditions
Excessive shedding can be caused by stress, poor diet, pregnancy, nursing, or any underlying medical condition. A dog who is losing hair should see a veterinarian, even if his illness is usually treatable with a simple diet or medication change. They will recommend dog hair loss therapy based on your pet's other health needs.
Alopecia is a relatively common condition. It refers to either thinning hair or areas of hair loss (bald spots). This is distinct from shedding, which is a natural part of your dog's hair development cycle and varies by breed.
Signs & Causes of Alopecia
Depending on the cause of alopecia, symptoms can include:
- Mild to severe scratching
- Skin that is red, inflamed, thickened, oozing, bleeding, malodorous, or pigmented
- Skin with papules
Likewise, there are numerous causes of alopecia, which include:
- Ectoparasites and bug bites
- Skin infections and allergies
- Genetic predispositions
- Autoimmune disorders Endocrine diseases
- Environmental causes
- Nutritional causes
Breeds Susceptible to Alopecia
Dog breeds that are more likely to experience alopecia include the Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested, Bulldogs, Dobermans, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies, Pomeranians, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, and West Highland White Terriers.
How to Stop Dog Hair Loss
Checking for fleas in the house, ruling out mange, and keeping your dog calm may help prevent hair loss. You should also consider the type of dog food they are eating, and if the symptoms are mild, you should investigate hypoallergenic dog food options. If you don't notice any improvement, consult your veterinarian to rule out any more serious conditions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.