8 Common Causes of Dog Hair Loss

Key takeaway

 Dog hair loss can be caused by a number of issues, including allergies, infections, parasites, and hyperadrenocorticism. Treatment is dependent on the root cause of the dog’s alopecia, and typically requires veterinary diagnosis and recommendation.

Dogs are known for their furry, warm fur. So when a dog has missing hair, it’s definitely something you’ll notice. Hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia, is a common condition found in dogs. All dogs lose hair when they shed, but shedding is very different from actual hair loss. Hair loss in dogs can either mean that their hair is thinning all around or that they’re getting bald spots.

There are many reasons why your dog may be losing hair, from something as simple as allergies, to more serious underlying medical conditions. If you notice your dog has hair loss, it’s not something to take lightly. Not only is a dog losing hair unsightly, but also it could be a sign of a serious health condition that requires medical attention.

In this blog post, we discuss in detail 8 reasons why your dog may be losing hair and if/how to treat them. We’ll also discuss frequently asked questions about dog hair loss so you can feel prepared if you wake up one morning and notice a bald spot on your pup’s back.

Continue reading the entire article to find out more about dog hair loss. Otherwise, you can use the links below to skip to a section of your choice:

8 Reasons Your Dog May Be Losing Hair 

Why do dogs lose hair, you ask? There are many reasons that could be causing your pup’s thinning hair and bald spots. But in order to treat your pup, you need to figure out the primary cause of their hair loss. So if you notice any sort of hair loss on your dog, contact your vet immediately so you can work together to get a diagnosis.

These are 8 reasons why your dog may be losing hair:

1. Allergies: Allergies are one of the most common reasons for a dog itching and losing hair. Dog dermatitis especially is a major cause of hair loss in dogs. 

Dogs can be allergic to pollen, mold, dust mites, or other environmental factors. Dogs can also be allergic to food. But in order to treat your pup’s allergies, you need to figure out exactly what’s triggering them. 

Dog food allergy symptoms can look different from environmental allergy symptoms, so it’s important to keep a close watch on your dog and monitor their symptoms if they suffer from allergies. Some common symptoms of allergies include itching, biting, and hair loss. Consult with your vet for the best treatment for their allergies.

2. Infections:  Bacterial skin infections can cause redness, hives, alopecia, pustules, and scabbing. These can commonly occur secondary to dermatitis. Fungal infections, such as ringworm, can also cause hair loss in dogs. If you suspect your dog is suffering from an infection, bring them to the vet immediately.

3. Parasites/Mange: Parasites can also cause hair loss in dogs. An infection due to fleas, ticks, or mites is another common cause of hair loss in dogs. Hair loss due to a parasitic infection will typically occur around a dog’s eyes, ears, abdomen, and chest. If your dog has mites, they may also have inflammation, itching, and redness in addition to hair loss. Mange is caused by skin mites. There are two different types of mange: sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange. Sarcoptic mange spread easily among dogs. Demodectic mange is not contagious among animals, but it also can cause bald spots and scabbing. Your vet will have the best idea of how to go about treating your dog’s parasites.

4. Hyperadrenocorticism: Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, is a condition in dogs that causes hair loss due to increased levels of the hormone cortisol. Other symptoms of Cushing’s disease include darkening of the skin, increased thirst and urination, recurrent skin infections, and a pot-belly appearance. Cushing’s disease is most common in middle-aged to senior dogs. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, bring them to the vet so they can receive a proper diagnosis.

Cushing’s disease may result in hair loss

5. Genetic Predisposition: Certain dog breeds are more prone to hair loss than others. Doberman Pinscher, Daschuand, Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound, and Whippet are all dog breeds that are more inclined to hair loss or bald spots on their outer ears, chest, back, thighs, or lower backs. Nordic breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and Pomeranians, run the risk of not being able to grow back hair once it’s clipped. Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Bulldogs, and West Highland White Terriers are more prone to allergies, which can lead to hair loss. Dogs that are predominantly blue/gray are much more prone to hair loss and allergy problems.

6. Hot Spots: Pyotraumatic dermatitis, otherwise known as hot spots, is another potential cause of hair loss in dogs. These hot spots can damage the hair follicles on your dog’s skin when they get inflamed, which can cause the hair to not grow back. Hot spots on dogs are often exacerbated by a dog scratching, liking, or chewing on the affected area. This can then lead to further inflammation on the skin and even secondary-infections. A hot spot on a dog won’t go away on its own, especially because dogs have a tendency to scratch/lick the affected area, so it’s important to bring them to the vet so they can receive the proper care.

7. Seasonal shedding: Hair loss in dogs can also be easily confused with seasonal shedding. All dogs shed, but some more than others, and it can appear like your dog is losing an excessive amount of hair when in reality it’s a normal amount. Shedding is normal, but if your dog starts to shed more than normal, it’s a good idea to bring them to the vet. Seasonal shedding is often less in moderate climates. Dogs also shed more with age or if they live in a warmer area.

Shedding is normal, but if your dog starts to shed more than normal, it’s a good idea to bring them to the vet.

8. Other underlying medical conditions: There are various underlying medical conditions that could be causing your dog to lose hair. Hormonal conditions, like hypothyroidism or growth hormone disorders, can all contribute to hair loss because they throw your dog’s hormones off balance. Stress, poor nutrition, pregnancy, or lactation can all also cause hair loss in dogs. If you suspect your dog has an underlying medical condition that’s causing their hair loss, consult with your vet so you can get a definitive diagnosis.

Hair Loss in Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be concerned about my dog losing hair?

It’s normal for your dog to shed and lose hair, but when they start to lose hair in excess, that’s when it becomes a problem. There are many conditions that could cause hair loss in dogs. It could be due to something simple, like allergies, or it could be a result of a more serious health condition. So if you start to notice your dog is losing hair more than usual, consult your vet so you can get to the root of their hair loss.

What deficiency causes hair loss in dogs?

Minerals play an important role in the quality of a dog’s hair and skin. Copper deficiency can cause bald patches and loss of hair pigment. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, skin ulcers, and areas of skin thickening. If you improve your dog’s nutrition and focus on feeding them a well-balanced diet, their hair should grow back.

What home remedy will make my dog's hair grow back?

There are many home remedies for dog hair loss, but pet owners should only use home remedies when instructed by their vet. Some home remedies for dog hair loss are melatonin, vitamin E oil, and fish oil. 

Final Notes

If your dog has hair loss, it’s certainly something you’ll notice. Your pup’s normally fluffy and warm hair is now sparse and thinning. Dog hair loss is not something to take lightly, as it could be a result of a serious health condition that will require medical attention. So if you notice your bald spots on your dog, or that they seem to be shedding more than normal, you should consult your vet immediately. Dutch.com is an easy way to do that.

Dutch is an online telehealth service that connects pet owners to licensed veterinarians right from the comfort of their homes. With Dutch, you can get prescribed medication to help with a myriad of pet health conditions, from dog hair loss to dog anxiety. Dutch-affiliated vets can help with things like identifying dog ear infection symptoms and diagnosing a dog chewing paws, all with the click of a button.

With Dutch, you don’t have to worry about dragging your pup to the vet, waiting to get seen, and then waiting even more for a prescription. We bring the user to the vet and the vet to the pharmacy, so you can get the care you need as quickly as possible. Plus, we’re the only pet telehealth company that delivers prescriptions directly to your door. So what’s stopping you– sign up on Dutch today and get your pup the care they need.

References

  1. Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Dogs, Karen A. Moriello , DVM, DACVD, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Merck Vet Manual, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/skin-disorders-of-dogs/hair-loss-alopecia-in-dog