How many times have you come home to find tufts of dog hair lying around your carpet? In the majority of the cases pet owners do not even notice the hair loss until there is considerable thinning of their dog's coat. However, canine alopecia or hair loss is one of the most common veterinary condition, faced by pets around the world. It is normal for some pet dogs to lose hair on a regular basis or have seasonal hair loss, also known as "shedding" or "blowing coat". This is especially true for the double coated breeds, like German Shepherd, Welsh and Husky. However, a significant loss of hair might indicate major underlying problems.
Hair loss in dogs, may be caused by anything from external allergies to hormonal changes. While some may be considered normal, there are others which might be indicative of a more fatal problem. Usually, when there is a symmetrical hair loss on both sides of the body, it indicates some kind of hormonal disorder, on the other hand when there are patches of hair loss, it usually denotes some kind of skin allergy in dogs.
Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs
Allergic and Irritant Contact Dermatitis: In case, you observe your dog scratching a lot and losing patches of hair, then it is plausible that some kind of skin allergy may be the cause. Your dog can have an allergic reaction to antibiotics applied to the skin, metals such as nickel, materials such as rubber, wool, plastic and chemical dyes and carpet deodorizers. With multiple exposure to the irritant substances, the dog may develop small bumps and blisters on the skin, accompanied by hair loss and itching. The best way to control dog allergies is to remove the allergens from the dog's environment.
Atopy: An allergic reaction to something that the dog inhales such as, pollen, house mites and mold atopy causes hair loss and itching in dogs. Usually, these symptoms are accompanied by development of infection or hot spots.
Callus: A condition which causes hair loss in the large breed dogs, callus is the result of chronic pressure. The presence of thickened, hairless raised areas, over bony pressure points such as elbows, is symptomatic of the disease. The best way to treat this condition is, to provide softer bedding and padding around affected area, for your dog.
Cushing's Disease: Caused due to the excessive hormonal production of the adrenal glands, Cushing's disease is a condition affecting older dogs. They are usually the result of benign tumor in the pituitary gland or caused by the tumor in one of the adrenal glands. Hair loss is a common symptom of the disease and it usually starts over the areas of wear, such as the elbows and progresses to the flanks and abdomen, until eventually only the head and extremities retain the hair.
Demodectic Mange: An infection caused by the demodex mite, demodectic mange in dogs can cause hair loss accompanied by scaly, dark skin with red pustules.
Flea Bite Hypersensitivity: Some dogs are extremely sensitive to flea bite and usually end up scratching themselves, until patches of hair fall off. To check your dog for fleas, inspect the base of stomach and tail and consult a veterinarian for flea control.
Folliculitis: Sometimes, due to the infection of the hair follicles because of staph bacteria, your dog might lose hair. This usually appears on the skin with less hair, such as the abdomen and is more common in the short coated breeds.
Food Allergies: An allergic reaction to something in the diet, may trigger hair loss in dogs. Food allergies in dogs may also cause itching and other skin problems.
Hypothyroidism: One of the most common hormonal disease affecting the skin in dogs, hypothyroidism in dogs is the result of the decreased production of the thyroid hormone. The symptoms of this disease are hair loss or dry and brittle hair.
Ringworm: Ringworm in dogs is caused by several types of fungus and usually results in hair loss and crusty, scaly skin.
Sarcoptic Mange: The sarcoptic mange in dogs is an infection caused sarcoptes mite results in hair loss and intense itching in dogs.
Seborrhea: Characterized by extremely dry skin and hair loss, seborrhea may be the result of some injury to skin, nutritional disorders or it may also be genetic based.
In addition to this, there are several other causes for excessive hair loss in dogs. Other than diseases and allergies, stressful situations can also be a triggering factor. Hair loss after pregnancy or post surgery, is a common occurrence. Remember, that extreme hair loss is not a normal condition for your pet. So, make sure that you consult and work closely with the veterinarian, in order to work on the problem of hair loss, in your dog.