What Causes Hair Loss in Dogs?

Fawn Pugalier on a sunny day

What Causes Hair Loss in Dogs?


Allergic dermatitis can easily result from just a single bite from a flea. This severe reaction to the flea’s saliva results in hot spots, infections, itching, and redness. One flea medication most vets recommend is Frontline. Hot spots, which can also be triggered by insect bites, can occur in breeds of dogs that have thick long hair with long, oily coats. These raw areas become itchy and inflamed. The breeds in question include Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Chows, and Akitas. Short coated breeds such as the Pugalier and Puggle are far less susceptible to hot spots. Hair loss, rough hair, and itching can be caused by lice and can be treated using Permethin. Itching all over can also be caused by food allergies. You should put your dog on a prescription trial for about 2 to 3 months if your dog has food allergies. These should include smaller protein molecules that won’t trigger the immune system. Anine atopy is another type of allergy that causes itching and hair loss due to some allergens including pollen. Another type of allergy that is common in shelties and collies is solar dermatitis, a reaction to sunlight resulting in scales on the nose and ears, hair loss and redness.

Infections and Fungus

Grooming a dog with clippers or combs that were used on an infected animal or mere contact can make a dog get infected with the fungus, ringworm, which weakens hair shafts and makes them begin to break off. It can be treated using topical iodine applications or Fluconozole. A parasite living in the hair and oil glands of a dog’s skin causes Mange and it is treated using ivermectin. Another infection, Folliculitis, is a bacterial infection of hair follicles (like staph). You should give your dog antibiotics for a minimum of four weeks to effectively treat it.

Conditions and Diseases

The most common hormonal disease that results in hair loss in dogs is the decrease in the thyroid hormone known as hypothyroidism. Their hair become brittle and dry, there’s a possibility of seborrhea, and also obesity. The dog will require thyroid medication throughout its lifetime. Diabetic dogs that develop skin infections resulting in hair loss will require dietary change and insulin. Dermatitis induced by boredom, stress of nervousness is a common thing when dogs are left alone at home while owners are away, often at work. It’s hard to cure when it occurs in older and obese pets. Use behaviour modifying medication where the underlying cause of it cannot be resolved to prevent dogs from biting and licking until all of their hair’s gone. An increase of corticosteroids in a dog’s body can result in Cushing’s disease and this can either be treated using Mitotane or by removing tumors through surgery.


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