When you start to notice your dog losing hair, you may be really concerned. What’s causing your dog to lose hair? Will your dog be okay? While your many concerns are definitely valid, you should know that hair loss in dogs isn’t usually life-threatening. Most of the time, canine hair loss is completely treatable. Here’s what every pet parent needs to know about alopecia in dogs.
Alopecia In Dogs: So What Exactly Is It?
Alopecia is often referred to as abnormal hair loss. The condition can cause a dog’s hair to fall out completely or partially, and the alopecia will usually have a shape or pattern baldness, sporadic, or symmetrical hair loss.
A dog may suffer from seasonal flank alopecia. Dogs with this type of alopecia generally only lose hair during the colder months. Most of them will experience hair regrowth once winter is over, and they probably won’t suffer from post-clipping alopecia.
Dogs can also suffer from alopecia areata, which is when they lose hair in patches. If this happens to your dog, its hair follicles are probably being attacked.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Alopecia?
If your dog is experiencing hair loss, it’s probably suffering from alopecia. How do you know for sure, though? Here are some common signs of alopecia in dogs.
- A lot of hair loss
- Excessive grooming
- Red, inflamed skin
- Constant itching
- Discolored, bald patches
What Causes Alopecia In Dogs?
While this condition may just be a cosmetic concern for many pet parents, the unsightly hair loss can actually be a sign of a health problem or something else. The following are the most common causes of alopecia.
Ticks And Fleas
Ticks and fleas can cause serious itching, and your dog’s hair may fall out eventually.
Lack Of Sun Exposure
For dogs with flank alopecia, a lack of sun exposure could make their hair fall out during the winter.
Several bacterial, parasite, and fungal infection may result in alopecia.
A few medical conditions like diabetes and Cushing’s disease can drastically increase a dog’s risk of developing alopecia.
Genetics can play a big role in whether or not a dog develops alopecia. If a dog’s mother or father had alopecia, it will probably experience hair loss too.
When a dog over-grooms, it’s likely to experience hair loss disorders. Many dogs then try to soothe the itchy, over-groomed site, which ultimately results in more hair loss. It’s truly a vicious cycle.
Many dogs develop this condition because of an allergic reaction to food, pollen, fragrances, and medication. Dogs can have an allergic reaction to almost anything.
Alopecia in canines can also be due to a poor, unbalanced diet. If your dog isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals in its diet, it could suffer from alopecia.
Can Alopecia Be Transmitted To Other Canines?
Depending on the exact cause of your dog’s hair loss, this condition could potentially be transmitted to other canines. If the reason behind your dog’s hair loss is a bacterial, fungal, or parasite infection, alopecia could definitely be contagious. Always remember that this condition could be transmissible to humans as well.
Which Dog Breeds Are More Prone To Alopecia?
Alopecia can definitely affect virtually any type of dog; however, many studies suggest that certain dog breeds are more likely to suffer from this condition. The top dog breeds that are prone to alopecia include Boxers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Labs, Poodles, and Rottweilers.
How Do Veterinarians Diagnose Alopecia In Dogs?
As soon as you suspect that your dog is suffering from alopecia, you and your pal should visit the vet for a diagnosis.
At the veterinary clinic, the first thing that a vet will probably do is ask you questions about your dog’s medical history, current medications, and symptoms. A vet will then try to figure out exactly why your dog is losing hair by performing a thorough physical examination and conducting many tests. The most common diagnostic tests include blood tests, skin scrapes, fecal exams, biopsy, and culture. A vet will also check out your dog’s hair follicles to see if they’re damaged in any way.
What Are The Best Treatments For Alopecia In Dogs?
Once your dog is officially diagnosed with this condition, your vet will probably recommend several great treatments. Just keep in mind that treatments can vary greatly depending on what’s actually causing the alopecia, and there are no treatments for alopecia that’s caused by genetics or an autoimmune disease in dogs. The following is a list of the treatments that a vet may recommend:
There is a wide range of medications that a vet can prescribe for hair loss in canines. The most common prescription medications for this condition include antibiotics, antihistamines, antifungals, and steroids.
Flea And Tick Preventative
Since fleas and ticks can cause hair loss in canines, it only makes sense to quickly get rid of them right away. A vet may recommend using the best flea and tick treatment for dogs monthly to stop these pests from damaging your dog’s coat.
Whether your dog’s hair loss is due to a fungal, parasite, or bacterial infection, medicated shampoo is probably the answer. Medicated shampoo can also soothe your dog’s dry, itchy skin.
If your dog has seasonal flank alopecia, regular sun exposure could make the condition better from September to March. When it starts getting colder, encourage your dog to play outdoors as much as possible.
Melatonin therapy can be extremely beneficial, especially for dogs with seasonal flank alopecia . The therapy often consists of melatonin injections or oral supplements. Over time, this specific therapy can support hair growth on your dog’s coat.
Did the vet determine that the underlying cause of your dog’s alopecia is excessive licking? An Elizabethan collar can keep your dog from licking its coat.
Spaying And Neutering
When a dog isn’t spayed or neutered, it may have trouble with hair loss. Why? Well, several reproductive hormone disorders can cause alopecia.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that may be able to treat hair loss, especially if the underlying cause of your dog’s hair loss is a fungal, viral, or bacterial infection.
For dogs with alopecia that’s caused by an underlying skin condition, coconut oil is actually a lifesaver. The incredible home remedy has been shown to improve contact dermatitis, itchy skin, and several other skin conditions. Many dog owners also use coconut oil to prevent allergic reactions.
Over the years, lemon juice has proved to be a great treatment for alopecia in canines. Due to its incredible antibacterial properties, this home remedy can improve your dog’s alopecia if a bacterial infection is the specific cause of hair loss.
CBD oil has several excellent benefits for canines, and many dog owners love that this natural remedy can promote a healthy coat in dogs. Speak with a vet about using the best CBD oil fr dogs to alleviate alopecia.
A dog with dry, itchy, and inflamed skin should definitely have flaxseed oil in its daily diet. Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so it may be able to relieve your dog’s excessive itching.
Regardless of the treatment, you should see improvements in your dog’s coat within a matter of weeks. Be sure to get in touch with a vet if your dog’s alopecia worsens.
Can Alopecia In Dogs Be Prevented?
Many causes of alopecia in canines may not be entirely preventable, but it’s always a good idea to reduce your dog’s risk. These are some great ways to prevent hair loss in canines.
Many types of alopecia will require periodic medications to prevent the condition from developing or reoccurring. A vet may even suggest the best flea collar for dogs as a preventative measure.
A Well-Balanced Diet
A well-balanced diet has been shown to prevent hair loss in dogs. As a result, make sure that you give Fido the best dog food that contains many key nutrients like fatty acids and vitamin D. In addition, consider eliminating common food allergens from your dog’s diet. Don’t forget to offer your dog lots of water too.
One of the best ways to eliminate the bacterial, parasite, and fungal infections is to ensure that your dog’s environment stays hygienic. Make it a priority to regularly clean your pup’s dog bed and vacuum your house.
Take Your Dog To Vet
In order to determine if your dog is suffering from a medical condition, you should take it to the vet on a regular basis. During the visit, a vet will perform a comprehensive exam.
Please note: The condition may be caused by an auto-immune disorder or genetics, and these types of alopecia probably can’t be prevented.
Alopecia in canines is a common condition that can be improved with the right treatments. Visiting a vet is the key to determining which treatments are appropriate for your dog. If you don’t notice any improvements in your dog’s fur, contact a vet for additional guidance.
1. How do you treat alopecia in dogs?
The specific treatment for alopecia in canines will primarily depend on the reason why your dog is losing hair. The most common treatments for seasonal flank alopecia are sun exposure and melatonin therapy. If your dog is not suffering from seasonal flank alopecia, a vet may recommend supplements, an Elizabethan collar, prescription medication, or medicated shampoo.
2. What can cause alopecia in dogs?
Alopecia in canines can be due to several reasons such as allergic reactions, bug bites, autoimmune disorders, genetics, a poor diet, skin conditions, diabetes, cancer, and excessive grooming. The only way to know exactly why your dog has hair loss is to visit a vet. A vet will thoroughly examine your dog’s skin and conduct some tests to determine what’s causing the hair loss. During the visit, a vet may also examine one of your dog’s hair follicle to see if it is damaged.
3. Is alopecia in dogs serious?
When your dog is diagnosed with any type of alopecia such as alopecia areata or post-clipping alopecia, it’s generally not a death sentence. The condition is usually treatable unless a hair follicle has been linked to genetics or an autoimmune disorder. In order to determine if the condition is serious, you’ll need to determine what’s causing the hair loss. An extremely experienced vet will be able to let you know the specific cause of your dog’s alopecia areata or post-clipping alopecia.
4. What is a home remedy for alopecia in dogs?
Depending on the exact cause of the alopecia, you may be able to treat the hair with a great home remedy like apple cider vinegar, olive oil, probiotic chews, a humidifier, coconut oil, or vitamin E oil. Before trying any of these home remedies, talk with a vet to make sure they are the best treatments for your dog. Specific treatments for alopecia areata are recommended in veterinary medicine.