Hair Loss in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Hair Loss in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Have you been noticing patches on your dog’s skin? Yes, it can be very frustrating to see your dog lose its aesthetics. More so, the terrifying thing is you are left wondering what is behind the hair loss: no one wants their dog to die. Consulting the on how best to take care of your dog’s hair tools does not seem to be of much help in this situation.

It is for this reason that getting in-depth knowledge on what causes hair loss in dogs and how to go about it could help you a long way.

Causes of hair loss in dogs

The following are the most common reasons as to why dogs lose hair.

  1. Allergies

According to PETMD, allergies are the most frequent reasons behind hair loss in dogs. There are many allergens in the environment, which include parasitic triggers such as mites or fleas, molds, pollen, and dust mites, to mention a few. Dogs also have food allergies!

Note that the most common symptoms of allergies are uncontrollable itching. When dogs itch they will scratch and bite on themselves profusely, which will, of course, result to hair loss.

  1. Infections

Your dog could be losing hair because it is infected or infested. An infestation by parasites such as mites which may be in the form of mange or scabies, ticks and fleas will cause hair loss around the chest area, abdomen, eyes, and ears. It usually is characterized by itching, redness, and inflammation. Also, infected crusts, inflammation, and circular hair loss could be a sign of hair loss attributed to ringworms.

  1. Cushing’s Disease

Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, according to studies Cushing’s disease is a rising concern among dogs. It signifies an issue with the adrenal glands of the dog. While the adrenal glands produce a hormone that is meant to regulate normal body functions, excessive production of the hormone cortisol becomes problematic.

When the dog’s body tissues are continually exposed to the hormone, the skin starts darkening, a pot-belly develops and eventually leads to hair loss. However, hair loss attributed to cortisol is most prevalent among the senior and middle-aged dogs. Excessive use of corticosteroid drugs will also cause hair loss in dogs of any given age.

  1. Pressure Sores
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What are pressure sores? Also known as decubital ulcers or bed sores, pressure sores occur when the dog is often in contact with hard surfaces. The most affected areas are usually the elbows, hocks, hips and any other bony pressure points.

This pressure sometimes causes the skin in the mentioned areas to thicken, crack, bleed and lose hair. Heavy and giant breeds are most affected by this. Oh and older dogs.

  1. Genetics

Also, just like humans, dogs suffer hair due to their genetic build up. Some dogs are more vulnerable to baldness than others. The breeds that are most affected by these genes are the Mexican Hairless, Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhound, Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier and the Whippet to mention a few.

If you are rearing these breeds, there should be not much cause for alarm as their DNA could be working against their hair. It is, however, worth checking what other causes of hair loss could be there.

If you notice abnormal hair loss in your dog, it is worth carrying out a diagnostic check-up for you to be able to identify the cause for you to administer the correct treatment. Do not ignore, hair loss could be due to a minor reason, or there could be a more serious thing going on.

Treatment available for hair loss in dogs

  1. Antibiotics and antifungals

Antibiotics could be one of the options that your vet will suggest. You will be advised to administer antibiotics if your dog is losing hair due to bacterial infections. On the other hands, you can ward off ringworms and other fungal infections by using antifungals. Both medications are taken either topically or orally.

  1. Steroids

Is your dog suffering from certain skin conditions? Your vet will probably prescribe steroids. Not that they will differ depending on the condition your dog is suffering from.

  1. Hypoallergenic diets
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If you notice that your dog is mostly allergic to particular types of foods, you should consider revising his diet. Well, it may take you some time to identify the exact kind of food your dog is allergic to, but with the help of a veterinarian, you will find a way around it. You might be given an over the counter prescription hypoallergenic diet and at the same time be advised on how you are supposed to implement the diet change.

  1. Behavioral medication

Your dog may not be necessarily infested by a parasite or be allergic to any elements of the environment. But you may notice that it is continually chewing and biting under particular circumstances. Most dogs lick or chew their paws and other parts of their bodies when nervous or anxious.

In such cases, all you will be required to do is medicate them for anxiousness. Also, it is important to note that some of the anxious behaviors may occur due to inadequate exercise or separation. You can take the appropriate measures to mitigate this.

  1. Monthly pre-emptives

The good news is that you can prevent hair loss by giving your dog, monthly preventatives to keep the fleas away. Preventatives protect the dogs from allergies brought about by fleas.

  1. Hormone therapy

Is your dog losing hair due to endocrine and hormonal disorders? You can reverse the situation by having it given thyroid medication and therapy.

  1. Surgery

Last but not least, the other available treatment for hair loss in dogs is surgery. It is if the hair loss is attributed to tumors or cancer. Local anesthesia can also be used to remove splinter or thorn in your dog, which ointments and specific antibiotics are used to cure.

If you cannot take your dog to the vet for one reason or the other, there are home remedies that you could try out. These include natural cures like raw honey for allergies that are inhaled, switching the beddings for pressure sores and use of oatmeal shampoo for itching to mention a few.

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