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Dog Losing Hair? Understanding the Various Probable Causes

Dog Losing Hair
Is your dog suffering from hair loss more than usual? It's the sign of trouble and you need to take some curative measures immediately. Dogs shed hair by default, however, excessive shedding is not normal.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Oct 06, 2017
The age, breed, dermal conditions, and family history determines how much hair a dog will shed. However, in most cases the owner will be aware of regular shedding levels, so an increase in these levels will be easily noticeable.
Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs
Ringworm on dog nose
This is a fungal infection that can affect dogs, and is passed on to them via some form of physical contact. The area that is afflicted by the infection is oval in shape, and it is usually present on the face, the ears, or the limbs of the animal. The infection causes hair to fall off from that particular spot, however, this does not cause any itchiness. Visiting a veterinarian immediately when this condition is spotted is highly advisable.
Food Allergy
Sometimes the cause is simply a food allergy of some sort. When afflicted with allergies, a dog will constantly feel itchiness all over its body at all times. There will be certain foods and ingredients that will cause this allergy in the animal, and as the owner of the animal, it's your duty to identify these food items to avoid for your pet.
Sarcoptic Mange
This is a form of scabies, and it usually reaches an animal through physical contact with another affected animal. Small mites invade the skin of the dog and burrow inside the layers and start laying eggs. This causes a tremendous amount of itching in the pet, but it is an easily treatable condition. This is a condition that can even pass on to human beings.
Flea on dog body
This is possibly the most common cause. Fleas regularly infest dogs, and even the presence of a single flea can cause itching. This matter is made worse by the great amount of difficulty it takes in actually locating the flea and its waste on the surface of the animal's skin.
Cushing's Disease
Excessive hair loss may also result out of an overactive adrenal gland that has been stimulated by the dog's pituitary gland. This condition may result in immediate symptoms which include hair loss. Glucocorticosteroids may also result in a patterned shedding of fur. This is accompanied by darkening of the skin and the remainder of the hair appearing dry and lifeless. This disease should be treated immediately because it renders the dog prone to infection, as well as the possibility of developing seizures.
Natural Irritants
Natural Irritants
Your dog needn't be infested by any organism to initiate hair loss, a few toxins found in nature too can result in it. For example the toxins of a poisonous nightshade plant is bound to create a lot of discomfort in your pet which will automatically result in hair loss. As such, irritants found in nature may well be poisonous, however, in most cases the pet may just suffer a general allergic reaction involving mild to excessive hair loss.
Hot Spots
Hot spot on dog shoulder
Also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis, this is a condition that primarily affects thick-coated and long-haired dog breeds. Intense itching occurs as a consequence of this problem, and a veterinarian must be consulted immediately to obtain a cure for this. Many medical studies show that the possible cause for this condition could be an insect bite.
Lice and Nits
Lice and Nits
The first symptom is excessive scratching and whining. This is because lice and knits can wreak havoc on a dog's skin thus bringing about itchiness, calluses, open pores, and excessive hair loss due to their parasitic nature. Lice, are also responsible for causing a whole load of infections and diseases which if not directly, may indirectly contribute to shedding excess hair.
Nervousness and Stress
Sad dog
Sometimes when a dog is feeling lonely, or sad, or is just bored, its body tends to shed more hair than normal. They also tend to lick themselves more often and with more ferocity, and this also results in a greater amount of fur fall.
Calluses and Pressure Sores
Most dogs tend to rest themselves on hard flooring and concrete. This constant pressure exerted on the limbs may result in sores that is accompanied by hair loss in the canine. Though not a serious condition, it should not be ignored because this excessive hair loss may invite micro-organic invasion.
Canine Folliculitis
Folliculitis is a condition that renders the hair follicles inflamed. The pores of the hair contain the root that supports a dog's fur strand, as such an inflammation in this area will make the follicle weak which will result in canine hair loss. The causes of this condition may be many, so no specific reason can be isolated.
As the owner of the dog, one needs to keep an eye on the animal and observe its habits and behavior. Any drastic change in a pet's habits and activities must be duly noted. Visiting a veterinarian regularly for a routine checkup is also a good idea, and the pet must also be made to have a bath at least twice a week. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure general cleanliness so that the pet enjoys a good health. A dog losing fur is not uncommon, however, the intensity and the frequency of the hair loss must be kept an eye on.