Hair loss or alopecia is a common problem that afflicts a number of our canine friends. This is often caused by a number of health problems and should not be confused with seasonal shedding of hair especially observed in double coated breeds like the Husky or German Shepard dog breed.
The loss of hair can occur in patches or there could be a symmetrical hair loss over the entire body. Allergies, infections, skin disorders and even genetics are some of the factors that can trigger off canine hair loss.
Dermatitis whether allergic or irritant is one of the most common reasons for alopecia in dogs. This skin allergy can lead to itchy skin and loss of hair in patches. Some of the common irritants that can trigger of this allergy include materials such as wool and rubber, metals such as nickel, carpet deodorizers and antibiotic skin creams. In addition to this hair loss and hot spots on skin can also be caused by atopy or an allergic reaction to environmental pollutants such as pollen or house mites
Some dogs can be sensitive to flea bites which can cause extreme itchiness and hair loss. Mites are another factor that can lead to hair loss. Demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange are infections caused by the demodex and the sarcoptes mites. Canine mange can lead to appearance of scaly crusty skin along with red pustules, itching and loss of hair especially around the chest, ears and stomach.
An allergic reaction to certain foods and nutritional deficiencies are common reason for hair loss. Food allergies can lead to hair loss especially around the eyes and skin itchiness that can lead to the licking and biting of the affected area by the dog.
Intestinal parasites or dog worms such as ringworms, hookworms and tapeworms can lead to skin infection in dogs. Sometimes the dog’s hair follicles are affected by the bacterial infestation. This can cause folliculitis and subsequent hair loss in dogs especially around the abdominal area. Short coated dog breeds are prone to suffering from this problem.
Hormonal imbalance can also trigger of certain diseases such as Cushing’s disease, hyperestrogenism and hypothyroidism which in turn can lead to symmetric hair loss and a thinning coat.
Seborrhea, vitiligo, pressure sores or callus and stress are some of the most common reasons for canine hair loss. Rather than disregarding it, it is best to consult a vet as soon as possible. This will help address the problem before it becomes severe.