Have you noticed your dog losing hair lately? There are many things that can pertain to his hair loss, none of which are ‘normal’. Some are parasites and some allergy related. You do not necessarily need to jump on the phone to your vet right away. You can try a few things at home first (changing his food or a good bed). Read on for some answers to the question of “why is your dog losing hair?”
Why is Your Dog Losing Hair?
Allergies: Dogs can have allergic reactions to the same things people do such as food and environmental allergens like pollen. Dogs can even have reactions to parasites like fleas and mites. Sometimes a red flag for fleas is your dog having some hot spots (or bald spots). Hot spots are the bald spots where the fleas are really bothering him, usually near the hind end. They lick and bite spots that are itchy and it leads to spotty hair loss. If it’s not environmental, try changing his food. He could be having a reaction to the food you feed him, and changing it will allow the hair to grow back (of course only if the allergen is not in that new food!).
Cushing’s Disease: Hyperadrenocorticism, that’s a long word for an overproduction of the hormone cortisol (a steroid hormone). The vet can give you a medication for this. Sometimes it is due to a tumor on one of the adrenal glands. In addition to hair loss, you might notice a pot belly on your furry friend, it’s an indication of Cushing’s, as well as eating and drinking more.
Pressure sores: Usually in older dogs, they will have some hair loss at pressure point, like elbows, where they lay down and their body parts meet the floor. They also might develop calluses in those spots, be careful they don’t crack and bleed, infection could set in. If they do, you can use moisturizer or your vet might give antibiotics. You can avoid this altogether by making sure he has a good cushion to lay on.
Rash: If your dog gets bit by insects or stung he might get a rash, and that could include hair loss in spots. Watch he does not develop hives. Look for a fever or lack of appetite. My friend’s dog was bit by a scorpion (she didn’t know it at the time). She (the dog) ended up having trouble breathing and she started to blow up like a balloon (hives).
When should you see a vet? If the spots are itchy, have a bad smell, or if the spots look infected, call your vet. Also, watch for a change in your dog’s behavior. You know your dog and how he normally acts, if he starts acting out of the ordinary, that is when you want to make a call.
I know I notice my dog losing hair if I have changed her food. That’s when I know to change it back! She gets dry skin and licks and bites that area. As soon as the food in changed, the hair grows back once she stops licking.
Have you dealt with your dog losing hair in the past? Have you had to bring him to the vet? Let us know your experiences with hair loss in your dog, sharing stories helps the rest of us!