A slideshow of hair loss in dogs and causes can be seen here
Hair loss in dogs can be caused by many different things. These can range from, poor nutrition to stress and anxiety. You should always be on the lookout for changes in your dogs behaviour. Dogs usually hide any pain or discomfort until it becomes too uncomfortable to bear.
The main causes of hair loss in dogs are:
- Flea Bites
- Cushing’s Disease
- Ring Worm
- Rashes And Hives
- Poor Nutrition
The term alopecia used to describe either complete hair loss, patchy fur or thinning fur.
Most conditions that cause alopecia also cause other symptoms, these other symptoms can help point to a diagnosis. Keep an eye out for:
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Drinking more
- Red skin
- Bumps or scabs on the skin
- Itchy skin
- Over grooming (licking and chewing more than usual)
- Patches of dark skin
- Low energy (lethargy).
See your vet if you’re not sure what’s causing your dog’s bald spots or if those bald spots are also accompanied by:
- Bad odor
- Irritated or infected skin
- Changes in behavior
- Any skin lesions in other pets or people in the household
Hair Loss In Dogs
Thinning fur or complete hair loss in your normally fluffy friend can be a very worrying sign that your dog may well be ill.
Hair loss due to to flea bites (allergic reaction) can easily be rectified with the right treatment. Flea treatments are many and varied, but if you have never encountered fleas on your dog before a vets visit may be the prudent thing to do.
Mange is also another common problem that causes hair loss in dogs
Sarcoptic mange is tricky to diagnose. Although in theory mites should be visible on a skin scraping examined under the microscope, in practice this can be difficult. Other tests, such as blood tests, are even less reliable. Many cases are treated on the basis of symptoms and there is a case for treating every dog with an itch that fails to respond to other treatments. Treatment can also rule out scabies, an allergy or other skin complaints.
What is the treatment for sarcoptic mange in dogs?
Sarcoptic mange is relatively easy to treat with medication. It is important to treat regularly as directed by your vet, completing the full course, and to discuss whether other pets in the household need treatment too. Steroids, in cream or tablet form, may also be used to reduce the inflammation on the skin. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat secondary infections caused by the open sores. Your vet will be able to advise you on what treatment is best for your dog. With treatment, dogs will normally be clear of the disease within a month.
Can humans catch mange from dogs?
Yes, but sarcoptic mange mites can only complete their life cycles on dogs and some other animals. This means that while human infections can still cause lots of irritation, they will be short-lived. If your dog is suspected to have sarcoptic mange, you should keep them off of furniture that you share, wash their bedding and avoid very close contact, particularly with children.
Can other dogs catch mange from mine?
Yes, and you should avoid close contact with other dogs outside the home until the infection has cleared. All other dogs in the home should be treated for sarcoptic mange if one dog has it, even if they don’t show symptoms.
This type of mange is caused by infestations of the Demodex mite in your dog’s skin and hair follicles, which is usually not serious. The truth is that humans and animals alike tend to have these mites clinging to their hair without noticing. Mange from these mites result either when the infestation becomes so great that they overwhelm your dog’s immune system, or your dog’s immune system is too weak to fend them off, which causes the skin at the follicle root to become inflamed, resulting in itching and hair loss. Demodectic mange is not contagious, is easily treatable in most cases, and typically only affects dogs that are sick or geriatric.
Cushing’s disease (also known as Cushing’s syndrome) is a condition in which the adrenal glands overproduce certain hormones. The medical term for this disease is hyperadrenocorticism. Literally translated, “hyper” means over active, “adreno” means adrenal gland, and “corticism” refers to the outer part of the adrenal gland.The adrenal glands are located near the kidneys and produce several vital substances that regulate a variety of body functions and are necessary to sustain life. The most widely known of these substances is cortisol, commonly known as “cortisone.” Decreased or excessive production of these substances, especially cortisol, may be life-threatening.
- Hypothyroidism is a lack of thyroid hormones due to underactive thyroid glands.
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, low energy, and fur loss (alopecia).
- Hypothyroidism is treated using daily medication to replace the missing thyroid hormones.
- With treatment, the outlook for a dog with hypothyroidism is excellent.
- Contact your vet for an appointment if your dog is showing signs of hypothyroidism.
Signs Of Stress In A Dog
There are a number of signs that may show that your dog is stressed, which include: and can lead to hair loss in dogs (stress alopecia)
- Excessive panting
- Tail between legs
- Lip licking
- Ears pinned back
- Paw raises
Ways To Avoid Hair Loss In Dogs Due To Anxiety
As a pet owner, you don’t want to encourage your dog to feel stressed!
You want your pets to feel happy, healthy, and safe in their homes. You’ll instead want to encourage those feelings of safety to discourage the stress/anxiety response of licking and shedding.
Some great ways to help your dog feel happy include:
Creating a safe zone
Creating an area in your home where your pet can escape high-stress events can really help mitigate the over-shedding stress response.
If your dog is crate-trained, this is a great use for your crate; if they’re not, you may consider crate-training them.
You can set up a corner with their favourite blanket and toy, check on them often, and give them a lot of love and affection during high-stress events. They’ll come to associate that space with safety.
Play and exercise with your dog. Dogs love playing and physical activity. Much like people, a good jog or game of fetch can be a great reducer of stress in your pet, increasing positive hormones while letting them burn off some of that anxiety.
Providing a balanced diet – This may seem like an odd one, but making sure your dog’s diet is balanced, healthy, and proper for their age can help prevent health issues that may cause stress and anxiety.
The treatment your dog will need will depend on the reason behind their hair loss, which could potentially be down to a number of dog skin conditions. Make sure you talk to your vet to get the right diagnosis.
All dogs should be given regular flea control treatments, but your vet might recommend other treatments if they think another cause is to blame, such as an anti-fungal treatment for ringworm. Some causes of hair loss, such as allergic skin disease and other dog skin conditions, can be challenging to treat, but a veterinary dermatologist will be able to give you all the advice you need. Other causes, like hormonal conditions such as an underactive thyroid or adrenal gland problems, may require longer-term treatment.
Collar chafing can be caused by several different factors or a combination of them. The following are the main reasons behind collar chafing and how to prevent or resolve them:
- Tightness – when a collar is too tight, it can irritate your dog’s neck or cause pain. This is usually an issue for puppies who quickly outgrow their collars
- Pinching – collars that pinch at the closure, specifically those with buckles or catches, can grab your dog’s hair or skin.
- Rough or stiff material – collars that are made from rough or stiff material – like untreated leather or stiff synthetics – can irritate your dog’s neck.
- Dirty collar – sometimes mud and dirt make their way under a collar, which can cause chafing. This is one reason it’s recommended that you wash your dog’s collar regularly.
- Wrong type of collar – all dogs are different, which means some collars will work better than others. To reduce irritation, choose a collar wide enough to distribute pressure evenly.
I actually inadvertently caused Saber to loose hair on his neck by using this collar.
While out one day Saber and I got caught out in an absolute downpour, getting completely soaked. When I removed his collar at home it resulted in his top coat coming away with his collar.
I was devastated and threw the collar in the bin.
As can be seen in this article many things can cause hair loss in dogs. If you are worried about unusual hair loss in your dog the best thing to do as always is to speak to your vet as soon as possible The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the sooner your pet can be successfully treated and hopefully will be healthy and furry once more.
Have you had problems with hair loss dogs? comment below and let us know how you coped and what was used to stop it.