There could be many reasons why your dog might experience hair loss. Our Irvine vets are here to help you narrow down what might be causing your dog's hair loss.
What Causes Dog Hair Loss?
There can be many reasons why your dog might have patches of hair loss. Hair loss in dogs can include anything from regular, seasonal shedding, mange, fleas to 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 help eliminate and reduce unwanted hair. Dogs shed their fur as their hairs grow old or damaged, or when the temperature warms up. Huskies and Labradors, for example, have thick winter undercoats that they shed in the spring. If you reside in a temperate area, seasonal shedding is frequently decreased.
Dogs, like humans, can develop bacterial or fungal diseases on their skin. Pyoderma is a term used to describe a bacterial skin infection, especially when the skin is red and pus-filled. Candida infections, often known as yeast infections, arise when the yeast that is constantly present on a dog's skin becomes overgrown. Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a fungal condition that causes dry skin and damaged hairs in round spots.
Mange is a term used to describe itchy skin illnesses caused by mites. Mites are microscopic organisms that dwell on the skin's surface or in hair follicles. Some mites, such as the scabies mite, are very contagious to humans and other dogs. If you discover mites or fleas on your dog, your veterinarian can prescribe an antiparasitic treatment.
Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies, with the most common symptoms being itchy skin and hair loss. Environmental allergies to irritants such as pollen, mold, dust mites, flea allergies, and food allergies are the most frequent in dogs. But be aware that dietary allergies can only be detected after a minimum of eight weeks of food trials.
Other Medical Conditions
Stress, poor diet, pregnancy, nursing, or any underlying medical condition can all contribute to excessive shedding. A dog who is losing hair should see a veterinarian, although his illness is generally treatable with a simple change in diet or medicine. The dog hair loss therapy they recommend will be based on your pet's other health requirements.
Alopecia is a relatively prevalent ailment. It refers to either thinning hair or hair loss areas (bald spots). This is distinct from shedding, which is a normal part of your dog's hair development cycle and varies depending on the 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
Dog breeds predisposed to alopecia include Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested, Bulldogs, Dobermans, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies, Pomeranians, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, and West Highland White Terriers.
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 providing a calm atmosphere for your dog may help prevent hair loss. You should also look at the type of dog food they're eating, and if the symptoms are minimal, you should look into hypoallergenic dog food options. If you don't observe any improvement, it's a good idea to see your veterinarian to rule out any more serious conditions.