Hair Loss in Dogs

Do you find more dog hair than usual in the home or discover bald spots in your dog’s fur? Then the four-legged friend could suffer from hair loss. When the dog’s skin becomes unbalanced, it can lead to various symptoms such as itching or loss of fur. We will help you find the cause of hair loss in dogs.

When the Dog Has Hair Loss

Hair loss is often not the only thing: typical accompanying symptoms include reddened or flaky skin. Many dogs scratch the affected areas more often because they are itchy.

If the skin is not in balance, it is easier for skin infections with viruses, bacteria, or fungi to occur. Several causes can favor the thinning coat. Depending on the additional symptoms, the reasons for hair loss in the dog can be narrowed down.

Twice a year: change of coat

Many dogs lose more fur twice a year: The airy summer coat becomes a thicker, warm winter coat and vice versa. Dog owners find more loose hair than usual in the home in a period of four to eight weeks.

Castrated four-legged friends tend to change their coats more than those who have not been castrated. Breeds with a thick undercoat, such as the Siberian Husky, are particularly hairy.

The change of coat is not a cause for concern. Regular brushing and a protein-rich diet help your four-legged friend to part more quickly from the “old” head of hair.

Allergies bring the skin out of balance

In particular, allergies to their own food lead to skin and coat problems in many dogs. Hair loss is a possible symptom. For example, allergies regularly lead to skin infections for which no cause can be found.

An allergy to flea bites or a contact allergy to detergents can also lead to skin problems in the form of itching and hair loss. High ambient temperatures and stress can make symptoms worse.

Fleas and severe scratching

If the four-legged friend suffers from a massive flea infestation or is allergic to individual flea bites, severe itching occurs. Not the flea, but the strong scratching, biting, and licking can then cause eczema and hair loss. The back half of the body is often particularly affected. Help your four-legged friend as soon as possible with an anti-flea treatment.

Little pests: mites

Mites also lead to hair loss, mainly because of the intense itching they cause. Possible causes are autumn grass mites, predatory mites, or mange-causing grave mites. Demodex mites can also lead to hair loss if the immune system is weakened.

Often in combination with mites, crusting and reddening occur. If mange is left untreated, it comes to additional skin infections with bacteria or fungi. These can increase hair loss and make treatment more difficult.

Contagious skin fungi

Like bacteria, skin fungi can lead to skin infections. Fungal skin on dogs shows up in patches of hair loss with reddening. The dog rarely feels itchy. Often the hair loss is accompanied by dandruff. Some skin fungi can be contagious to humans. That is why rapid diagnosis and therapy are important.

More diseases that lead to hair loss

Dog hair loss can be a symptom of other diseases. Examples of this are the underactive thyroid gland or overactive itching associated with severe itching. Many other hormonal diseases can lead to hair loss without itchy areas.

Immune deficiencies can lead to skin infections. They are accompanied by itching, but also discoloration and crust formation. Hair loss due to illness can be related to a lack of nutrients. The body is then unable to efficiently utilize the nutrients that are sufficiently available in the food.

Hair loss can also occur after debilitating illnesses. Is the dog taking medication due to an illness? Some ingredients can cause hair loss.

Nutrient deficiency due to incorrect feeding

There is rarely a nutritional deficiency due to poor nutrition. In the case of a complete feed, pet food manufacturers must ensure that all the nutrients the dog needs are contained in sufficient quantities.

However, nutritional deficiencies can occur in dogs that are mainly fed on leftovers from human food.

Stress puts a strain on the dog’s coat

Stress can also throw the body out of balance. The four-legged friend releases more stress hormones that can disrupt hair growth. Stress also has a negative impact on the immune system. Dogs can become more susceptible to allergies and infections with skin fungi or bacteria.

If the hair loss occurs after moving house, adding two or four legs to the family, or separating, there could be emotional causes behind it. To be on the safe side, you should still introduce your four-legged friend to the vet. He can rule out organic causes. If the vet gives the green light, a dog trainer can help relax your four-legged friend.

Poor fit of harness or coat

Does your four-legged friend have bald spots under the armpits? If he is wearing a harness, first check the fit. Unfortunately, many harnesses or dog coats chafe under the armpits, which causes the fur to break off. What is worse, some dogs get sores from it.

Allergies to the materials used in the collar and harness can also lead to skin reactions. If the dishes sit too close to your armpits, try out better-fitting dishes with your four-legged friend in specialist shops. At home, the dog shouldn’t have to wear a harness.

Hair Loss in Dogs: When to Go to the Vet?

The lack of fur is less of a bother to your four-legged friend, but the itching that often comes with it can become a great torment. Therefore, the itching in the dog should be reason enough to consult a veterinarian. Frequent licking, scratching, or biting of the body indicates that the dog’s quality of life is affected by the itching.

You should also make an appointment with the vet if the coat becomes noticeably thinner over time and loses its shine in the process. There could be some disease behind it. Normal coat changes or hair loss due to incorrectly fitting harnesses are not reasons for a visit to the vet.

6 Tips for a Healthy Coat

  • Make sure you have high-quality, well-tolerated food.
  • Help to groom with regular brushing.
  • Check your dog daily for parasites or protect him with appropriate means.
  • Include skin control in a daily cuddling ritual.
  • Add 1 g of linseed or rapeseed oil per kg of body weight to the feed every day – 1 tablespoon for a dog weighing 15 kg.
  • During the change of coat, dogs benefit from a higher protein intake – for example from cottage cheese or low-fat quark.
Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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