Hair Loss in Dogs

It can be quite worrying if you notice that your dog seems to be losing some of their lovely coat. Hair loss in dogs can be the result of skin infections such as ringworm (a fungal infection), a bacterial infection or parasites such as mites, and is often the result of the dog scratching or licking an itchy or sore area.
Labradoodle in doorway
Labradoodle in doorway
Labradoodle in doorway

Older dogs can also experience dog alopecia due to hormonal problems, such as an underactive thyroid gland or adrenal gland problems. General bad health, poor nutrition or an underlying disease can also make your dog’s coat lose its shine and possibly result in hair loss.

A visit to the vet should help to find the root of the problem and allow you to find a suitable treatment to get your dog back to their usual, gorgeous selves.

Investigating hair loss in dogs

Your vet will need to look for the cause of the alopecia before they can start treating it. Fleas are a common cause of itchiness and scratching, which can result in hair loss, so they might recommend a flea treatment.

Your vet might also take samples of hair or scrape a little sample of skin (painlessly) to test for ringworm and parasites, or take a blood sample to check for any underlying disease, such as a hormonal problem. Sometimes a skin allergy test will be performed, and occasionally a small skin sample will be taken. This is done under anaesthetic, so your dog won’t feel a thing.

If your vet can’t identify the reason why your pet is losing their hair, they may recommend that you consult a dermatologist for your dog.

Causes of hair loss in dogs

Alopecia in dogs can be a result of a number of skin conditions and can affect dogs of all ages, breeds and gender. Common causes of hair loss in dogs include:

  • Mange, an occurrence caused by the mite ‘Demodex.’
  • A disruption in the growth of hair follicles caused by trauma, infection, immune disease or endocrine system abnormalities.
  • Hair follicle inflammation.
  • Allergic reactions
  • Diet and feeding

More widespread hair loss in your dog’s coat may indicate a more specific disease, so it’s always important to see your vet as soon as you suspect your dog may be losing his fur.

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Treatment for dog alopecia

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.

Speak to your vet as soon as you suspect that your pet may be suffering with dog alopecia. The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the sooner your pet can be successfully treated and happy and healthy once more.

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If you’d like more information on hair loss in your dog or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM.