It’s common for your dog to shed hair sometimes, but what isn’t normal is for the shedding to result in some noticeable bald spots. Alopecia is a complete loss of hair in areas where they normally grow. Fortunately, hair loss in dogs is a condition that can be determined and treated. Sometimes the dog might be losing hair and scratching the areas at the same time. The itching should be investigated first. Some causes of hair loss might be congenital (the dog is born with the condition) or acquired. Congenital is the lack of normal development of hair follicles which isn’t necessarily hereditary, while acquired hair loss in dog results from disease contamination which interferes with hair growth. Now, what are the common causes of hair loss in dogs?
Just like people, dogs too are allergic to certain foods and environment which can cause hair loss. Allergies in dogs can be triggered by pollen, mold, fleas, dust mites and parasites. Also, some common foods that can cause allergy in a dog include beef, wheat, chicken, corn, soy, and dairy.
These allergies are a common cause of dog’s hair loss. There are symptoms you should be on the lookout for when it comes to allergies. If you notice your dog scratching and biting its itches, having some irritating red areas, and of course hair loss, then it could be a sign of an allergy. If the hair loss is caused by a flea, you’re advised that your dog takes flea preventives to prevent a full-blown flea infestation.
Cushing’s disease is medically referred to as hyperadrenocorticism which is caused by an overproduction of hormone cortisol. The condition can be treated through a surgical procedure or medications after evaluation and diagnosis. Apart from hair loss, there are other symptoms to expect. They include:
- Less energy
- Increased rate of eating, drinking, urinating and panting
- Development of a potbellied abdomen
Note that these symptoms are for six years old dogs or older. Additionally, the disease is more severe in dogs that overuse corticosteroid drugs.
Infection or Infestation
Parasite infection is another cause of hair loss in dogs. Examples of these parasites are fleas, ticks, and mites. Inflammation, itching, redness, and hair loss around the ears, eyes, abdomen, and chest are signs of infection. Bacteria and fungus infection such as ringworm can also be attributed to hair loss in dogs. Ringworm can cause circular or irregular hair loss. You should treat your dog using antifungal shampoos or drugs.
For dogs, some breeds have a greater chance of becoming bald than others. You will find certain types to be naturally hairless and have been bred for the attribute such as the Chinese crested, Mexican hairless and American hairless terrier. However, there are others that suffer from patchy or pattern baldness on the outer ear, thigh, back, or lower neck. These dogs include Doberman pinscher, dachshund, Chihuahua, Italian greyhounds, and whippet.
Pressure sores are also known as bedsores or decubital ulcers which occur when the dog’s elbows or pressure points (hips and hocks) come into contact with hard surfaces regularly. The area under pressure or experiencing the friction may cause the skin to callus, lose hair and it might crack and bleed. Pressure sores tend to be common in older dogs that are large and heavy.
Medications, insect bites and stings, plants, chemicals, and shampoos can make some dogs shed their hair. Rashes as a result of any reaction may appear within minutes of exposure. The symptoms range from listlessness to fever to lack of appetite to vomiting. In case you notice any of the above signs please talk to your vet immediately.
Other Hormonal Diseases
If the levels of estrogen are high or low, they can lead to hair loss in most dogs. Additionally, a tumor that is causing extra estrogen can make his or her skin to turn dark and lead to hair falling out. For home treatment, you can spray your dog. If the condition gets worse you might think about getting your dog’s blood tested to determine the cause.
If you aren’t sure what is causing your dog to lose the hair you should probably see a vet for advice. Otherwise, even small things like thorns, glasses, poor diet and any other foreign material can cause baldness in your dog. For seasonal hair loss, natural cures like honey can prevent it. Also, trying a hypoallergenic diet full of protein can help diffuse the situation. When bathing your dog, it’s recommended you use dog’s shampoos and if possible, you should rinse it with apple cider vinegar according to many holistic veterinarians.
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