Dog owners will sometimes notice hair loss on their dog's head, resulting in bald patches on the ears and around the eyes. If the dog is also scratching at its head, you should take it to the veterinarian. The hair loss and itching could be caused by a range of health problems, from mange to ringworm or even allergies.
Hair loss around a dog's eye can be caused by a few different factors. Mange is a skin condition caused by small mites that burrow into a dog's skin and hair follicles. They often concentrate on a dog's head near its eyes. A fungal infection, ringworm is often found on a dog's head and ears and can also cause hair loss, including around the eyes.
Just like humans, dogs can also experience allergies. Your dog could have itchy eyes, along with hair loss in the area, as part of an allergic reaction to something in its environment, including its food.
Mange's symptoms include hair loss that causes bald patches. If the mites are located near your dog's eyes, as in many cases of localised mange, the dog can lose hair there, revealing scaly skin. Ringworm causes bald spots on a dog's head, including near the eyes. Also, the skin inside the area of hair loss could be red. If allergies are causing irritation and itching in your dog's eyes, the dog could scratch and rub at its eyes until it has scratched out the hair around them.
Your veterinarian can determine what is causing a dog's hair loss around its eyes. Mange is treated with insecticidal medication, which can be applied topically, given orally or administered through injections. Ringworm can usually be treated with topical medication, although oral medication is available for more severe cases. Allergies can be relieved by removing the allergen from your dog's environment. Allergy injections and antihistamines can give your dog relief from itchy eyes.
According to the book "What Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You," mange can be prevented by not allowing your dog to come in contact with other dogs that are infected. The same is true of ringworm; keeping your dog away from other dogs in areas like shelters or boarding kennels can help. If your dog has allergies to its environment, frequent vacuuming, dusting and washing of your dog's bedding can help prevent problems. Bathing your dog weekly can also help. Allergies to a dog's food can be improved with a change in its diet.
The ASPCA warns that mange can be a health hazard to your dog because it puts your dog at risk for developing a secondary bacterial infection. Ringworm should be treated quickly because it is highly contagious and can be passed to other dogs and to humans as well. With mange, ringworm and allergies, once your dog is treated and the problem is resolved, the hair loss around its eyes should stop and the hair should soon grow back.