Hair Loss in Dogs, Causes and Treatment

There are many reasons for hair loss in dogs. This problem is very common. Hair loss that is not treated on time can cause your animal to have greater health problems in the future. It is impossible to prevent hair loss completely in dogs, but it is possible to reduce it. In dogs without dry food consumption, vegetable-based nutrition is recommended. Intensive hair loss can be clearly seen in skin cancers (mostly in older animals) in dogs.

The cause of genetic idiopathy has not been fully elucidated and may be race-specific. Abnormal hair loss can also occur in congenital conditions. If your dogs constantly lick themselves, itchy by biting, chase their tail, hide from the owner, get aggressive, gnaw their nails, change the toilet habit for no reason, they have a psychological problem.

In such cases, more rashes may occur in certain places, but permanent hair loss may also occur in the general body. Dog hair loss returns to its previous level as a result of the elimination of psychological factors. In dogs, hairs tend to fall off after completing normal time periods, and this is an event that should be seen normally. But the basis of frequent and unending hair loss should be found by researching. I definitely recommend you get advice from your veterinarian about this matter.

Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs

In general, the hair loss process that increases during the season transition periods such as spring months occurs more frequently due to the change of the world ecosystem, as I have observed in recent years. The increase in the heat factor and the prolongation and abnormality of the season transition times can cause irregularity by negatively affecting the normal body physiology of dogs. Apart from this seasonal transition period in dogs, other factors cause hair loss.

  • Seasonal changes
  • Environmental heat factors
  • Hormonal changes
  • Dermatological, bacterial, viral diseases
  • Fungus, pyoderma, scabies, eczema, etc. dermatological diseases.
  • Internal and external parasites
  • Vaccine and drug reactions
  • Inadequate and incorrect nutrition (not giving balanced animal and vegetable proteins)
  • Mineral and vitamin deficiencies or excesses
  • Allergic reactions
  • Stress factors and psychological changes
  • Use of detergent and soap, use of poor quality dog ​​shampoos.
  • Frequent washing of dogs.
  • Aging of dogs
  • Pathological and physiological factors
  • Depression and anxiety in dogs

Dog owners should especially focus on food. One-way feeding should be avoided in dogs. Food choices should definitely be made carefully. It is recommended to stay away from open foods and market foods. In the selection of food, it is necessary to choose food suitable for your animal’s race, age, and gender. You should not forget that cheap food consumption will have negative effects on your dog’s health in the future. In dry food consumption, consumption is important in accordance with the weight, excess consumption is a reason for hair loss.

Giving excess food increases the probability of occurrence of heart and liver diseases as well as protein imbalance. Impaired circulation can affect skin and hair health. Regular hair care is required in dogs. This care is especially important for the breathability of the skin. For this reason, it is necessary to comb the hair of your pet regularly (suitable for the hair structure) and prevent felting. Frequent washing is not particularly preferred due to the damage to the healthy layer of the skin.

How To Determine The Causes Of Hair Loss In Dogs

Another thing that dog owners should know is that dogs have a special layer of fat on the skin. This layer should not be worn. Dog foods suitable for pH should be preferred. In the case of hair loss of non-physiological and pathological or psychogenic origin, early diagnosis should be made with blood tests in order to make a healthy diagnosis. The use of professional food in dry food consumption is one of the solutions that comfort you. It is normal for puppies to shed hair, replacing them with harder new hairs in a short time. The methods used in detecting molt in dogs are:

  • A careful history-based examination
  • Normal and biochemical blood view
  • Stool test
  • Body scan with a loupe and Word lamp
  • Talking about the diet
  • Flea and tick control
  • Skin scraping is taken and sent to the lab in terms of microscopic and fungus examination
  • And evaluation of disease possibilities

Internal parasites are one of the leading factors in hair loss complaints in dogs. These parasites can be heartworms, stomach or intestinal worms, etc. This parasite phenomenon is very high in many countries, mainly because pet owners do not systematically have internal parasite programs every 2 months. Parasitic cases can have fatal consequences, especially in puppies.

Pathological Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs

Internal and external parasites are the leading pathological causes of hair loss in dogs. External parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice can cause damage to dogs’ hairs and skin not only by their presence but also by their secretions and allergens. We often encounter flea bite allergies in dogs. In addition, scabies is not visible, and severe itching causes bleeding skin wounds, dandruff, hair breakage, and flaking.

Do not forget that a healthy hair structure should be alive (never in a dull color) in healthy dogs. There is another phenomenon called walking dandruff, which in such cases shows dullness and dandruff in the hair. This disease can be passed on to humans and needs urgent treatment. Fungal agents such as dermatophytosis, trichophytosis, and Microsporum in dogs are also among the causes of intense molting. The UI fungal agent may be localized locally, or it can completely surround the whole body. It is difficult to diagnose and treatment can take a long time. In the diagnosis, a fungal culture is obtained by removing skin scraping with a light glow.

Viral diseases in dogs can cause damage to the skin as well as damage to the system. Canine distemper in dogs can be an example. Therefore, vaccination against viral diseases is of great importance in dogs. When the general structure of the pet is corrected by following the actual treatments, the hairs will return to their former forms.

Allergy cases in dogs also increase hair loss. The number of pet owners complaining about this issue is increasing day by day. Dogs can have allergies to many things. These can be grass, pollen, nylon, dairy products, powder, rubber, etc. Diagnosis in this regard is difficult. These allergens can be found in blood tests conducted in the USA, but in most countries, there is no diagnosis yet. Allergic pet has symptoms such as redness, runny sores, sneezing, tear discharge, hair loss, etc. Pollen time allergy is more likely in seasonal spring. When the contact factor is detected, the chance of treatment increases in allergic cases.

Allergy, Infections and Hair Loss in Dogs

Food allergies are common in dogs. Clinical symptoms include licking feet, redness, itching, inflammation and hair loss in the ears. A blood test is positive in food allergies. Another reason for molting in dogs is the injection sites. This can be a reaction to a drug or vaccine. There is no obvious treatment for this type of spillage. Hair loss can be seen months after injection.

Bacterial infections in dogs are also a cause of hair loss. Especially if you see excessive dandruff in your pet and hair loss along with a bad smell, I recommend you to visit your veterinarian. A hormonal disease, pinnacle syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) may occur as a result of the high rate of corticosteroids in the body. This can be seen in dogs receiving long-term cortisone therapy or as a result of the high production of corticosteroids in the body. In this case, especially clinical symptoms can be seen such as drinking too much water, weakness, loss of hair, thinning of the skin structure, excess urination, obesity, etc.

Hyperthyroidism is more common in cats, it is rare in dogs. In hair loss due to this situation, when the hairs are pulled off, they break easily.
Hypothyroidism is frequently seen in dogs due to thyroid insufficiency. There is a “symmetrical” loss of hair all over the body, hair tends to break easily, dryness and thickness of the skin are remarkable. In the case of estrogen hormone excess in females or testicular tumors in males, the intensity of hormonal skin problems and hair loss can be observed. It is imperative that proper treatment is carried out by a veterinarian. Nutritional disorders in dogs may need to be resolved. Deficiencies in protein and fatty acids, mineral or vitamin excess can cause problems in the skin and hair. Hair loss can also be seen in vitamin B deficiencies and excess vitamin A intakes.

Psychological factors in pets can also cause intense molt. Neurodermatitis is especially common in cats. Triggering factors are anxiety, stress, absence of exercise, environmental changes and distress. There is regional and deep hair loss. Anxiety can cause symptoms such as constant licking, self-biting, hiding from the owner, chasing the tail, aggression, nail gnawing, changing the toilet habit for no reason, etc.

The Effect of Nutrition on Hair Loss in Dogs

The most triggering factor of clinical hair loss in dogs is the use of cheap food for pet owners. It is recommended to be more selective and careful in this regard. Here, you may think that there is an earning for your budget when you buy cheap food, but then you may encounter many health expenses. Clinical examination, physical examination, laboratory methods, evaluation of data and determination of differential diagnoses are absolutely essential in dog hair loss. Parasite examination, skin scraping, ear canal problems, tape sticking method, fungal examination, the examination of the scraping of the hair and skin, shrub culture, bacterial culture, aspiration with needle, biopsy sample and blood tests are among strictly required applications.

As a food, I recommend you to choose professional food with lamb meat, salmon rice, and deer meat. Healthy hair structure in dogs can definitely be provided as a result of food, regular care, regular veterinary control, and home-eating practices and a healthy nutrition program. It should be remembered that frequent use of special combs called Furminator, which has appeared in recent years, can damage the hair structure of dogs. Healthy shampoo should be used for washing in dogs. The pH levels of the shampoos and the washing frequency are very important.

The choice of food in adults and puppies should be made as breed-specific and classified as puppy-adult. You should not forget that there are differences in protein values ​​in adult dog food. Protein imbalances can result in frequent molting as a result of improper food use. It is possible to get positive results from the applications such as h vitamins, garlic yeast tablets and L-carnitine in dense molting in dogs, but it is important to choose a treatment program under the supervision of a veterinarian by eliminating all the issues mentioned above. The hair of a healthy dog ​​shines and is soft, easy to take shape. This may need to be treated if it is matte, hard and dry.

In dogs, abdominal swelling and dull and upright hair structures generally point out a parasite problem. Hair loss may also occur in dogs after birth events or severe illnesses. Especially in dogs that are not well cared for during pregnancy, do not receive calcium and vitamin supplements, do not eat high-protein foods, a severe post-natal molt occurs. In this case, treatment is essential. One of the causes of hair loss may be anemia. Especially in dogs that undergo a severe operation, it may be necessary to establish a supportive treatment system after the operation.

70% of hair loss depends on nutrition and vitamin deficiency, in this case, you can prevent hair loss with a diet that you decide with your veterinarian. Another practice that is wrong is that dogs are abandoned by their owners. In this case, especially the insecurity towards human emerges as a reason for hair loss. The way to prevent this is to give the dog confidence and love. During seasonal transitions, you should often comb your dogs and wash them with a suitable shampoo. Giving vitamin supplements also has successful results. With these methods, new hairs can grow by removing dead hairs from the body as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Hair Loss in Dogs?

Washing your dog regularly with dog shampoo will help you control the hair problem. But remember, if you take too many baths, your dog’s skin may become dry due to the shampoo. People can choose to use some products that prevent hair loss while struggling with this problem. However, it is best to get support and advice from a specialist before using such a product.

By combing your dog’s hairs, you actually build a different bond with him. Regular combing will contribute to your dog’s exuviation cycle. By combing your dog’s hairs, you will have collected a lot of fallen hairs. Remember that you should choose which brush is the most suitable for your dog’s hair. A comb with close teeth and thick teeth is suitable for short-haired dogs, while a thick but split toothed comb is ideal for long-haired dogs. In this way, you will prevent the nodes that may occur in the hairs. A balanced diet is vital for all dogs with hair problems. If you regularly visit your vet, you can identify any problems without further growth.

What to Do to Reduce Hair Loss in Dogs

All animals shed more or less. There can never be an animal that does not shed hair. Things to be done to reduce hair loss include;

  1. Proper Nutrition and Support
  2. Proper Care, Training, and Environment
  3. Proper Combing and Washing
  4. Correct and Timely Vaccination, Drug Use
  • Proper Nutrition and Support

The first factor of hair health is the right nutrition, the right, and quality food selection. The food to be given to your dog should be the most suitable and correct food for him so that the hair loss decreases. Food can be classified as normal (market food), premium (pet shop food), super-premium (pet shop and clinical food) and High Premium (veterinary clinic food). As you can see, the high premium is the highest quality and normal is the poorest quality food. In this case, the highest quality formula will cause the lowest hair loss and the poorest quality formula will cause the most. Therefore, if you complain about hair loss, you should change your dog food and use a higher quality formula. You should have a formula and give it in the amount recommended by your veterinarian. You should not feed your dog with anything that your doctor does not recommend or allow. It will be sufficient to give formula to the amount of scale that your doctor will tell and/or to use vitamin-yeast tablets recommended by your doctor. In this way, you can reduce the hair loss if you use quality, scaled and correct food and vitamin-supplements (if recommended).

  • Proper Care, Training and Environment

I have mentioned that one of the most important factors in hair loss above is stress. You should take care that the environment where you feed your dog is an environment free from stress and it is a place that is clean, healthy and will give confidence to it. An increase in hair loss is also normal in very dusty environments. Again, you should pay attention to the training of your animal. A trained animal will always be more confident and less stressed. This will reduce hair loss. Giving the food at the right time, trying to keep the water fresh, taking care of the environment being clean, walking as much as necessary, keeping it away from stress, not getting angry, scared, etc. They are positive factors to reduce hair loss. When you pay attention to these, you can reduce the amount of hair loss.

  • Proper Combing and Washing

Just as we are trying to get the right shampoo for ourselves, we should use quality shampoo suitable for our animal. You should choose the shampoo correctly according to the breed, age, and recommendation of your doctor. Contrary to what is known, it is not correct to wash the animal frequently. For example, a German Shepherd has a unique scent. This is perceived as “my dog ​​smells” by some familiar or uninformed German Shepherd owners, causing them to wash their dogs frequently. If you wash your dog too often, you will spoil its hair health. Because the skin has a certain lubrication pattern and this level of lubrication and moisture should be maintained in terms of hair health. For this reason, do not wash your animal frequently. For example, if you wash an adult German Shepherd every 2 months, it will be enough. (Please note that the young wolves should not be washed before the vaccinations are over.) Make sure you choose the right shampoo for washing and follow the washing procedures. You can learn these procedures from your veterinarian.

  • Correct and Timely Vaccination and Drug Use

Lastly, you should pay attention to your veterinary visits at the right time and without interruption, not to interfere with their vaccination and especially parasitic medication and treatments. Because one of the biggest causes of hair loss is parasites. External parasites will significantly impair your dog’s skin health (Fleas, ticks, etc.). However, in the case of scabies, your veterinarian will definitely need intervention, which you should definitely care about. At the same time, internal parasites (Intestinal wolf, Asgarite, worm, tapeworm, etc.) will cause your dog to not get enough vitamins and minerals to take from the foods that it eats and will cause your dog’s hair health to deteriorate. When you combine all this, it will become more important to visit your veterinarian at routine intervals. If you do not delay your veterinarian visits and have the necessary treatment, parasitic spraying and vaccinations in time, you can reduce the hair loss rate. Keep in mind, owning a creature is a big responsibility. If you pay attention to the points I wrote, your animal’s hair loss problem will be reduced.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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