Causes & Cures for Hair Loss in Dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

Most dogs shed their fur as a regular process, some more than others. If your dog is losing clumps of hair, resulting in bald spots, sores and skin irritations, the cause is usually due to a medical, environmental or parasitic issue. Your dog can suffer great discomfort due to skin disorders and hair loss. Early detection and treatment will bring your dog the relief deserved.


Hair loss is also known as Alopecia, which can be very common in dogs. Some breeds are more susceptible to the condition than others, especially dogs with very thick double coats. Toy and miniatures are afflicted with a loss of hair as well. You may note a patch of random hair loss or symmetrical thinning which means an identical condition on both sides of the dog. Most often the condition will begin with an abnormal case of shedding. Your dog will begin scratching excessively, causing further hair loss, redness and sometimes open wounds. The issue needs to be remedied early.

Medical Issues

Allergies are a frequent cause of hair loss in dogs. Your dog could be allergic to certain foods, chemicals, grass and objects such as metals, plastics and rubber. Many dogs also suffer from flea dermatitis, with an uncontrollable need to lick obsessively while trying to find relief. Other medical causes for hair loss are hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, fungal and bacterial infections as well as high stress and poor nutrition. Hypothyroidism is a result of the thyroid gland functioning improperly causing your dog to suffer a hormonal imbalance. Cushing's disease is when the adrenal glands malfunction which affects the hormone balance as well. One of the first symptoms of these medical conditions is a loss of hair on your dog or Alopecia.


A parasite is very common in the cycle of dog hair loss. Parasites basically feed off of your dog, whether it is the blood or skin cells and other nutrients. Because these pests are robbing your dog of the necessary substances needed for a healthy inner body, skin and coat, there is a loss of fur along with other signs. Some dogs become anaemic as well as have allergic reactions, sores, rash, lumps and bumps. In excessive cases the dog can lose most of its hair, some of which may never grow back. The severity most often does depend upon early detection to get the quickest and best treatment.

Treatment Options

Treatment of Alopecia in dogs depends upon the cause. To remedy a parasitic condition, your veterinarian may prescribe special shampoos to begin the healing process along with topical ointments, lotions and creams. Topical or oral antibiotics may also be necessary for full treatment. This process can take weeks to months for your dog to fully recover. Cushing's disease and other hormonal disorders may require hormone replacement therapy and/or surgery. In some cases, spaying or neutering your pet begins the healing process in a hormonal situation. The underlying medical issues need to be remedied before your dog's coat can be revived in a healthy way. Treatment can begin from the inside by providing your dog with a high-quality protein diet, supplemented with essential omega oils and vitamin D, along with an endless supply of water.

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