Why is my dog losing hair?
If you have noticed that your dog loses hair, either strands or loose hairs, you can inform yourself of the most common causes of this problem before consulting your veterinarian.
A shiny and thick fur is a good indicator that a dog is getting everything it needs from its food, its environment and its lifestyle. Therefore, it can be distressing to see that your dog loses hair and sometimes it is difficult to know exactly why it happens.
Symptoms of hair loss in dogs
The most common symptoms of hair loss are the fragility and dryness of the hair, the detachment of more hair than normal and the appearance of baldness, which can circulate or irregularly. Hair loss can be concentrated in a specific region or present throughout the body.
Common causes of hair loss in dogs
A very common cause of hair loss in dogs is the infestation of parasites such as ticks, lice or fleas. If your dog loses more hair in the neck and tail area, it is very likely that he has fleas. These tiny parasites can quickly infest a dog and irritate the skin; This leads to intense itching or scratching which, in turn, can cause hair loss.
Skin conditions, such as eczema or dandruff, can also end up causing hair loss. When dogs get itchy or irritated, they try to relieve discomfort by scratching and licking. Over time, this can cause hair loss due to weakening of the skin in certain areas.
Hair loss in dogs can also occur due to lack of certain nutrients, whose presence would contribute to the development of healthy skin and fur. Keratin, the main component of hair, needs sulfur amino acids for proper synthesis. Without them, your dog’s coat could take longer to grow, it could become brittle and, over time, could fall. Similarly, biotin is an essential nutrient for skin and coat health and protects against problems such as hair loss.
If your dog suffers from hair loss, it can also be a symptom of a more complex problem. Ovarian or testicular tumors, especially in older dogs, can cause localized hair loss: the tumor secretes hormones that alter the natural sexual cycle and the growth of healthy hair.
Cushing’s disease, a common problem in the canine population, can also cause hair loss. In this case, a tumor develops that causes your dog’s adrenal gland to produce too much cortisol, which causes obesity, hair loss, dark spots and behavioral changes. Another condition, hypothyroidism (which is when your dog’s hormone production is insufficient) may have hair loss as one of its symptoms.
Protection against hair loss
Some of the most complex causes of hair loss, such as Cushing’s disease, require veterinary treatment and close monitoring. However, you can also help protect your pet against hair loss at home:
- Be sure to follow the recommended guidelines for regular and effective treatment against fleas and their eggs.
- Use a dermatologically tested and specific shampoo to relieve your dog’s itching and, thus, try not to scratch it.
- Give your dog a nutrient-enriched food to promote the development of skin and fur, such as biotin and high-quality proteins that are very easy to digest.
If you notice that your dog loses hair, it is important that you take it to the veterinarian so that he can do a thorough check-up and give him the appropriate treatment. You can also ask your veterinarian for advice on your dog’s skin and fur care at any time.