There could be many reasons why your dog might experience hair loss. These reasons range from allergies and seasonal shedding to more severe reasons like alopecia. Today, our Liberty Lake vets what causes dog hair loss.
What Causes Dog Hair Loss?
There could be a variety of causes for your dog's hair loss patches. These include shedding on a regular, seasonal basis, mange, fleas or other types of mites, and even hormonal changes. Of course, there is also alopecia to be concerned about.
Brushing your dog twice a week can help eliminate and reduce unwanted hair. Dogs shed their fur when their hairs become old or damaged, or when the weather warms up. Huskies and Labradors, for example, have thick winter undercoats that they shed in the spring. Seasonal shedding is often reduced if you live in a temperate climate.
Dogs, like humans, can contract bacterial or fungal skin diseases. Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is characterized by red, pus-filled skin. Candida infections, also known as yeast infections, occur when the yeast that is always present on a dog's skin grows out of control. Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a fungal infection that causes dry skin and damaged hairs in circular patches.
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 the most common symptoms being itchy skin and hair loss. Pollen, mold, dust mites, flea allergies, and food allergies are the most common in dogs. However, dietary allergies can only be detected after a minimum of eight weeks of food trials.
Other Medical Conditions
Excessive shedding can be caused by stress, a poor diet, pregnancy, nursing, or any underlying medical condition. A dog who is losing hair should see a veterinarian, even if his condition is generally treatable with a simple diet or medication change. They will recommend dog hair loss therapy based on your pet's other health requirements.
Alopecia is a relatively common condition. It can refer 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.
Symptoms and 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
Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested, Bulldogs, Dobermans, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies, Pomeranians, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, and West Highland White Terriers are among the dog breeds predisposed to alopecia.
Further, any breed with poor husbandry, especially puppies, is at risk for mange.
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.