Why is my dog losing hair?
Shedding hair in dogs is a normal thing to happen. It is more so in specific seasons like spring or early autumn when most dogs tend to shed their seasonal coats. For pet parents it is one of the most disgusting tasks to keep their carpets, upholstery and furniture free of their pets’ hair. Hair loss becomes an issue when it falls in clumps and leads to bald patches on the skin. The inability to regrow hair when it falls out partially or completely is something for which you need to consult a vet. Other signs may or may not include excessive licking of their coats by the dogs, scratching, shedding, redness of skin and irritable mood. For better understanding of the various possible reasons and ways to control it, let us know about it.
Bacterial and fungal infections- If you notice redness and itching of skin accompanied by some odour, in addition to hair loss in your canine, it could be a case of bacterial or fungal infection. Though some yeast and bacteria are normal inhabitants of canine skin, sometimes they grow out of control and cause an infection which leads to the above symptoms. In severe cases, it may also cause pimple-like pustules. Fungal infection is also caused when dogs contract ringworm which causes hair loss and small areas of infection. This can be set right by some medications. You need to go to a vet who will conduct a thorough examination and testing to determine the exact cause and prescribe antibiotics or antifungals.
Flea and mites- Flea infection is fairly common in dogs and the risk rises in specific seasons. Most vets advise to go for flea prevention shots before the onset of risk season to ensure that the dogs do not catch infection. Fleas are very easily communicable and so if enough precaution has not been taken, the canines are susceptible to such infections. This leads to itchy skin and as it gets worse, the dogs itch themselves to the point of scratching their hair off in places. Mites are microscopic creatures that live on the surface of the skin or in hair follicles. They cause hair loss and itching by burrowing or chewing on skin. Some mites like scabies mites are extremely contagious while others like demodex mites are not, but still cause hair loss and require treatment. If you find evidence of mites or fleas, your vet may prescribe an ant parasitic medication and offer tips for ridding your house of pests.
Allergy reactions- Many dogs are sensitive to external or environmental conditions like pollen, mold, dust mites, flea allergies, food allergies and more. These irritants can cause itchy skin and hair loss. A vet can diagnose the exact kind of allergy your dog is suffering from and will prescribe relevant medications to cure it. If the underlying cause of allergies is ascertained and taken care of, then there are strong chances of regrowth of your dog’s hair. Food allergies can be ascertained after conducting a few tests and then your vet can advise you to refrain from giving your dog such ingredients.
Alopecia- This is a medical condition wherein the hair of a dog falls out partially or entirely and there is an inability to regrow hair. It happens when body attacks its own hair follicles, resulting in hair falling out. Alopecia usually exhibits a pattern to the baldness and it will either spread out or appear symmetrical. Some of these flareups are temporary and improve with medication while others remain a permanent affair. It may not be a pretty sight to see a hairless dog but this condition is not life threatening. If itchiness does not happen, dogs live a normal life with this condition. Other symptoms of Alopecia include darkened skin or change in skin colour, dry, crusty skin, red and inflamed skin that appear thickened, dandruff or flaky hair and red spots on the skin with or without pustules. Alopecia may be hereditary or caused due to some hormonal imbalance in dogs. It could also be caused due to hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or reaction to rabies and corticosteroid injections.
Excessive shedding can also be caused due to stress, sudden change in temperature, separation anxiety, poor nutrition, pregnancy, lactation or any other underlying medical concern. It is best to consult a vet as soon as you spot early signs of a problem so that it is cured before the problem aggravates. To avoid such issues, pet parents should ensure a clean and hygienic living condition of their dog, nutritious diet and take steps for prevention of flea, lice, mosquitoes or mange mites. These can help curb and treat problems to a great extent. Only when the reason is genetic or due to auto-immune disorder, there is no way to prevent it. Waggfluence wishes your dog friend a healthy and safe life. For more pet issues and care, stay tuned!