Hair loss in pets can be caused by many factors, and some of these are more serious than others. Determining in what area the hair is being lost does help to somewhat narrow down what those things may be. However, most common reasons for hair loss in dogs have little to do with placement and more to do with nutrition or other factors.
Dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs in dogs and can cause alopecia, or hair loss, as well as severe irritation. The most common forms of dermatitis are usually caused by an aversion or allergy to substances and stimuli such as chemicals, antibiotics or fleas. Another type of dermatitis is acral lick dermatitis, which is a psychological affliction in which a dog will obsessively lick himself, especially on the tail or stomach, resulting in hair loss.
There are three types of mange: demodectic, sarcoptic, and cheyletiella. All of these are caused by a parasite on the skin, and often result in hair loss. Mange, left unchecked, could become fatal. Other signs besides hair loss to look for when trying to identify mange are scaliness, redness, itching, ulcers and blisters. Treatment requires skin samples, and the process will differ depending on the type of mange.
Hypothyroidism is a very common ailment among dogs. It is the most common hormonal disease effecting our four-legged friends. Hypothyroidism occurs when your pooch's thyroid ceases to function properly. Depending upon the severity of the hormonal imbalance your dog is facing, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe a daily hormone correction medication.
Ringworm is a nasty fungal skin infection, and it's fairly common. There are several different types of fungus that can eventually result in ringworm. To identify ringworm, look for these other symptoms besides hair loss: scaliness, pustules, crusty flaky areas, itchiness and vesicles.
When a dog's adrenal gland no longer functions properly, he is often diagnosed with Cushing's disease. Cushing's disease is a serious chronic illness, and it results in a hormonal imbalance. Besides hair loss, look for other symptoms such as hyperpigmentation, blackheads, increased thirst and urination, and abdominal swelling. A reversible form of Cushing's disease sometimes arises in some dogs who have been on corticosteroids for a lengthy time.