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What Causes Hair Loss In Dogs? A Guide for Pet Owners

happy puppy doing a head tilt

Something no pet owner expects is when their pet starts to lose their hair. And I’m not talking about the usual shedding of the winter coat or the hair they lose on a natural basis. When you notice unusual hair loss, it might be something you have no idea how to address for your pet and might cause you a lot of concern for their wellbeing. But don’t worry, take a breath and check out the article below. I’ll explain what causes your dog’s hair loss and what you can do about it.

Humans aren’t the only ones who have to worry about hair loss. Alopecia is incredibly common in dogs as well.

What Causes Hair Loss in Dogs? Pressure Sores Are A Common Cause

Pressure Sores Are Like Bedsores

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get what are calle pressure sores, and pressure sores are really pretty similar to when human’s get bed sores. They are caused when your dog's joints (the pointy parts of them like their hips and elbows in particular) come into contact with hard surfaces regularly. And your dog comes into contact with hard surfaces all the time when they lay on the floor. The issue starts when they spend too much time laying on hard floors or surfaces. It causes an enormous amount of pressure on parts of their body that aren’t equipped to deal with so much pressure and friction. There isn’t enough fuzz or fat in that area to keep the bone from pressing too hard against the surface and against the hard surface. This causes the skin to become irritated and painful and leads to the hair in that area falling out.

While pressure sores can be almost impossible to prevent on very old dogs, you can greatly reduce their likelihood and frequency by giving them soft places to lay.This will reduce the pressure and friction on their joints and will instead be a friction free place for them to alleviate the irritation.Be sure you give them a safe place to lay in all the rooms you like to spend time with them in. If it’s just one soft bed in the living room, but you spend all your time upstairs it won’t do much for them because they will want to spend their time with you. So try to give them somewhere soft to lay in all the major rooms you spend time in.

Take a look at any recent change in shampoo or soap as allergies to these can be a common cause of hairloss.

Make Sure It Isn’t Called By Allergies or Illness

Dogs Have Allergies Just Like Humans

If you notice that your dog has a recent bald spot, or an unusual amount of thinning hair, it’s important to take a minute and inventory anything you might have changed in their care routine. Have you given them a bath recently with a new shampoo or soap? Have you changed their brand of food to something you thought they might enjoy more? Did the vet give you new medication for them? Anything of these things can cause an allergic reaction in your dog, so try to think of anything about their environment or their routine that might have recently changed. If you can determine what it is that changed you can test out that product and see if it is what caused the allergic reaction and the hair loss. And not only will you know not to use that product again, you’ll have a good idea of other products that won’t be safe to use.

But more than likely, your dog’s allergic reaction is being caused by flea bites. And this is something you have to be prepared for as a dog owner. And it’s one big reason you should keep a flea collar on them even when they only go outside to use the bathroom. The issue is that fleas can get on your dog even if they don’t go outside and someone accidentally brings a flea inside with them. So if your dog is losing hair, there is a very good chance flea bites are behind it. Not only does the allergic reaction to a flea bite cause hair loss, all the biting, nibling, and scratching that your dog does to deal with the itching also leads to hair loss.  

Keep an eye on your dog and if you notice signs of illness accompany the hair loss then get them to a vet right away.

If You Can’t Determine An Allergen Check for Diseases

Be Sure to Get A Health Professional’s Opinion When You Aren’t Sure

Hair loss in your dog can also be caused by diseases and illnesses like Cushing’s Syndrome. So if your dog has unusual hair loss, and you’ve already checked them for fleas and checked all their foods and shampoos and can’t narrow it down, there is a chance that it is something inside your dog like an infection or bacteria that is causing them to lose their hair. If this is the case there isn’t much you can do about it besides take them to the vet and explain what has been happening and when you first noticed it happening. Aso be sure to inform your vet of anything that might have changed in your pet’s care routine recently. They’ll want to know you’ve checked all the basics before they run any expensive tests on your pet.

It’s also important to keep your dog well groomed and maintained, but don’t over do it. Dry skin can cause itching and irritation which can lead to hair loss.

There you go, that’s a list of the common causes behind hair loss in dogs. It’s not something that is the end of the world for your pet, but it is something you should keep your eye on. Whether it’s allergens, diseases, or sores that are causing your pet to lose their hair, at a minimum it is causing them quite a bit of discomfort. It would be cruel of you to leave them to suffer in their misery and not do anything to reduce their discomfort like a responsible owner would. So be sure to follow these steps and take a look at anything that might have recently changed that might be causing it. And if you determine it’s not bed sores, allergies, or flea bites, then it’s a good time to seek out the advice of your veterinarian.

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