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Patchy Fur: Why is my dog losing their hair?

Patchy Fur: Why is my dog losing their hair?

There are so many reasons for a dog's fur to begin falling out. From something as simple as allergies to more serious chronic conditions like alopecia. Today, our Fairhaven vets share some of the causes of dog hair loss and what you can do to help treat your pup's patchy fur.

What are some of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs?

There can be many reasons why your dog might have patches of hair loss. These include regular, seasonal shedding, mange, fleas or other kinds of mites, and even hormonal changes. Of course, there is also alopecia to be careful of too.

Yearly Shedding

Brushing your dog twice a week can help eliminate and reduce unwanted hair. Dogs shed their fur as their hairs grow old or damaged, or when the temperature warms up. Huskies and Labradors, for example, have thick winter undercoats that they shed in the spring. For those who live in a warmer area, your dogs may not shed as often as those that see a greater range in temperatures.

Bacterial Infections

Another possible cause of noticeable hair loss in dogs is the growth of various types of bacteria and the development of fungus. Pyoderma is a term used to describe a bacterial skin infection, especially when the skin is red and pus-filled. Candida infections, often known as yeast infections, arise when the yeast that is constantly present on a dog's skin becomes overgrown. Ringworm, despite the name, is actually a fungal disease and not caused by a worm or parasite.

Mange / Itchy Skin

Mange is a term used to describe itchy skin illnesses caused by mites. Mites are microscopic organisms that dwell on the skin's surface or in hair follicles. Some mites, such as the scabies mite, are very contagious to humans and other dogs. If you discover mites or fleas on your dog, your veterinarian can prescribe an antiparasitic treatment.

Various Allergens

Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies, with the most common symptoms being itchy skin and hair loss. Environmental allergies to irritants such as pollen, mold, dust mites, flea allergies, and food allergies are the most frequent in dogs. But be aware that dietary allergies can only be detected after a minimum of eight weeks of food trials.

Conditions That Could Cause Missing Fur

Stress, poor diet, pregnancy, nursing, or any underlying medical condition can all contribute to excessive shedding. A dog who is losing hair should see a veterinarian, although his illness is generally treatable with a simple change in diet or medicine. The dog hair loss therapy they recommend will be based on your pet's other health requirements.


Alopecia is a relatively prevalent ailment. It refers to either thinning hair or hair loss areas (bald spots). This is distinct from shedding, which is a normal part of your dog's hair development cycle and varies depending on the breed.

What causes alopecia in dogs?

Depending on the cause of alopecia, symptoms can include:

  • Mild to severe scratching
  • Skin that is red, inflamed, thickened, oozing, bleeding, malodorous, or pigmented
  • Skin with papules

Likewise, there are numerous causes of alopecia, which include:

  • Ectoparasites and bug bites
  • Skin infections and allergies
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Autoimmune disorders Endocrine diseases
  • Environmental causes
  • Nutritional causes

Are there any breeds more susceptible to alopecia?

Dog breeds predisposed to alopecia include:

    • Mexican Hairless
    • Chinese Crested
    • Bulldogs
    • Dobermans
    • Yorkshire Terriers
    • Dachshunds
    • Greyhounds
    • Siberian Huskies
    • Pomeranians
    • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
    • West Highland White Terriers.

Any dog breed that has not been properly trained or handled can be at a higher risk of developing alopecia.

What can you do to help treat your dog's hair loss?

Checking for fleas in the house, ruling out mange, and providing a calm atmosphere for your dog may help prevent hair loss. You should also look at the type of dog food they're eating, and if the symptoms are minimal, you should look into hypoallergenic dog food options.

If you still don't see any change after you have considered all of the above possibilities then you should contact your vet and schedule your dog for a full examination and diagnostics.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you're concerned about your dog's hair loss, contact our Fairhaven vets today for professional advice.

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New England Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fairhaven companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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