Hair Loss in Golden Retriever Dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

Golden retrievers are known as easy-going, loving, patient, family-oriented dogs. What is less known about them is they also suffer from issues of breed specific hair loss. This stems from many different reasons. If you're dog is suffering from hair loss, you should check with your vet to rule out serious issues such as thyroid problems, diabetes or parasites. Simply changing your dog's diet can greatly help with hair loss.

Thyroid Problems

Golden retrievers can suffer from hypothyroidism, or a disorder of the thyroid gland. The thyroid regulates the metabolism. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are dry skin, hair loss and discolouration of the skin at the place of hair loss. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, you should see your vet immediately. She will need to do a physical examination as well as blood tests to make a diagnosis. If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, then your vet will most likely prescribe a synthetic hormone called thyroxine. It will also be necessary to have checkups and blood work to see how well the medication is working.

Parasite Infections

Sometimes dogs can be infected with parasites that steal nutrients necessary for a healthy coat. You will need to see your vet to have her diagnose if it is a parasite. She will take skin scrapings or do blood work to check for ringworm or a flea infestation. Should parasites be found, you will be prescribed a topical ointment.


Mange is a skin disease caused by mites that burrow under the skin. There are two types of mange that Golden Retrievers can suffer from. The first is scoptic mange. It is highly contagious, and it can attack healthy dogs without any immune issues as well as dogs of any age. However, it is fairly easy to treat. Demodectic mange is also very contagious, and it can cause areas of the skin to experience hair loss. This is often an inherited mange and is passed from mother to puppy. In 80 per cent of cases, Demodectic mange will clear up on its own. However, if it doesn't, you will need to seek medical attention from your vet to clear up the infection. Vets may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria as well as topical ointments.

Food Allergies

Check the food you're giving your dog. Read the label to make sure it is not a corn-based dog food. If it is, your dog is probably allergic to one of the grains. You will want to try switching the diet to one that is free of wheat, wheat gluten and corn. Brands including Innova, Evo, Royal Canin, Burns and Wellness all make such foods. Also, you can check with your vet to see what she might recommend. You also need to check the label of whatever treats you give your dog. If these also contain corn or wheat, you will want to replace these as well.

Behavioural Hair Loss

Lick granuloma is a disorder in which a dog suffers from obsessive bouts of compulsively licking its body. Often it is either the abdomen or legs. It can lead not only to a loss of hair, but also can cause lesions on the skin. Your vet can prescribe a medication that will help ease the anxiety that prompts the licking.

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About the Author

Krista Raye is a Steel Magnolia who began writing professionally in 2009 with eHow, Answerbag and Trails. She has 10 years teaching experience in middle and high schools. Raye holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Science in secondary English education and a Master of Arts in adolescent English education.