What Causes Hair Loss In Dogs

Hair Loss In DogsHair Loss In Dogs

By Admin

Hair loss in dogs or Alopecia can be a signal of serious medical problems.  It is associated ..with skin diseases, endocrine disorders and allergies.  Excessive licking can indicate a skin problem.  Other symptoms are thinning coat, patchy areas, bald spots, itchy skin, and spotty bare areas.

What causes hair loss in dogs?


Hypothyroidism in dogs is an endocrine disease which occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Signs of dog hypothyroidism are thinning hair, lethargy, weight gain, or a dull, dry coat.  A blood test which measures thyroid hormones is used to diagnose this disease.  Synthetic thyroid hormones are given to manage this disease.


Mange in dogs is a skin disease which is caused by mites, usually shows up as itchy skin with patchy hair loss around the eyes, front legs, and the body.  Skin scrapings are used to confirm the presence of mites.  Topical anti-parasitic ointment or dips can be used to cure dog manage.  If your dog has a severe case or inflamed skin, your vet may want to use benzoyl peroxide shampoo, or anti-parasitic drugs or antibiotics.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease in dogs is an endocrine disorder that causes the adrenal glands to produce too much Cortisol.  This elevates blood sugar and increases fat and protein bread down.  Symptoms of Cushing’s disease are weeping sores, hair loss along the back, increased thirst and urination, thin skin, excessive panting and muscle weakness.  Diagnosis can be made by measuring the cortisol levels in he blood.  Life long drug therapy is used to manage the disease and in most cases in successful.


Ringworm in dogs is a fungal disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes.  Symptoms are thinning hair and a circular lesion with crusting around the edges.  Dog ringworm can be identified through microscopic examination or skin cultures.  Treatment involves oral and topical medications and anti-fungal shampoo therapies.

Bacterial Skin Diseases

Bacterial skin diseases on dogs can result from underlying problems which include:  Allergies, manage, and hypothyroidism.  The dog scratches until the hair falls out, chews or licks itchy areas, then damages the skin, causing bacteria to form.  A patchy loss of hair is more common than the hair loss that is seen with endocrine diseases.  To diagnose this disease your vet may do a microscopic examination of the skin lesions for the presence of bacteria.  Treatment involves a three to six week course of antibiotics.


Canine allergies to parasites, pollens, dust mites, certain foods, chemicals, can cause itchy skin.  This causes your dog to scratch off his hair, rub his face, or lick his paws.  It may not be possible to identify the allergic disease and diagnose the allergen.  Flea bite allergy can be confirmed by the presence of fleas or flea dirt.  Flea allergy in dogs is diagnosed by itching around the tail base and flea infestation.  Bacterial and fungal disorders must be ruled out.  Treatment of allergies in dogs includes flea control, anti-itch medications such as antihistamines, and corticosteroids, supplementation of fatty acid may help an itchy dog.

Alopecia X

Canine Alopecia X is a group of unidentifiable loss of hair conditions that resemble endocrine type diseases such as Cushing’s disease.  They are treated with Melatonin.  It helps about half of dogs restore their hair.

When you groom your dog, you should look for any signs of skin irritations or irregularities.  Early detection of the problem, can minimize loss of hair for dogs.

Canine Food Allergies

Food allergies in dogsCanine Food Allergies

By Admin

Your dog has started vomiting up some of his meals and scratches his ears frequently.  Canine food allergies are an immunologic reaction to food.  Not all dogs with skin or intestinal problems have a food allergy.

Most dogs have been eating the offending food for two years before signs of food allergies appear.  A few dogs can develop signs as early as two months of eating the offending food.  Food allergic reactions do not normally appear immediately after introducing a new food.  When they begin to show, the onset is often sudden and serious.

When your dog ingests a small amount of an allergic substance it can provoke a reaction within hours.  The dog allergic reaction may be vomiting, diarrhea, itchy or redden skin in the ear canal or ear flaps.  The dog may shake or rub it’s head, scoot, scratch their ears or develop a food allergy rash.  The dog can develop secondary skin and ear infections with bacteria or yeast.  Ear disease is common in dogs with food allergies.

Food allergic reactions can start at any age, but most dogs show symptoms before they turn one year of age.  They are seen in all breeds.  Around 15% of dogs that have these allergies have both skin and gastrointestinal signs and 30% of dogs will have itchy skin from fleas and other allergies in dogs.

The primary cause of food allergy is meat sources such as poultry, beef, lamb and fish.  Two thirds are caused by beef, dairy products, what and chicken.  Chicken, lamb, soy and eggs account for one third of allergies.  Pork, rabbit, cow’s milk, mutton, horse meat, oatmeal, corn, rice, wheat, flour, potatoes, kidney beans, and dog biscuits can cause allergies too.

Most cases of common food allergies can take months to diagnose.  You can’t cure a dog allergy and most dogs have to take shots for life.  You can learn to manage your dog’s allergies over time.  Sixty to seventy percent of dogs show a big reduction in symptoms after taking steroid shots.

Treatment for dog allergies involves antihistamines, antibiotics for infections, medicated shampoos, topical medicines and in extreme skin reaction cases steroids.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between food allergies and food intolerance.