Hair loss in dogs

An important note for dog owners

Seasonal shedding in animals and dogs in particular is natural and “by the book” happens twice a year, but it’s different when your dog loses hair in chunks all the time. In that case – it’s a serious reason to think about a trip to the vet.

Why does my dog’s hair fall out?

The causes can be quite varied. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Hormonal failure

If this is the cause, then the baldness will appear gradually, taking over more and more areas of the skin, usually the bald spots are symmetrical in shape.

Why does my dog's hair fall out?

The most common ailments due to disorders in the hormonal system include.


Refers to disorders of the thyroid and sebaceous glands. Dangerous for dogs that are overweight or elderly. Such a disease in most cases displays in breeds such as:

  • dachshunds
  • cocker spaniels
  • retrievers
  • dobermans
  • setters
  • Airedale terriers.

The symptoms of this disease are as follows:

  • Constant shedding
  • Poor coat condition in general
  • Various pigment spots on the skin
  • slow pulse.

Treatment is carried out with synthetic medications used to treat thyroid diseases.

  • Pituitary dwarfism (growth hormone problem)
  • This type of disease, although quite rare, nevertheless it should not be overlooked. Weak breeds include German shepherds.


  • The dog has hair loss on the back and abdomen
  • Puppy growth stops at about 3 to 4 months of life
  • He usually has “problem” teeth
  • The skin is very thin and “see-through”.
  • There is also dermatitis and dandruff.

The treatment process involves taking medications on a hormonal basis.

Cushing’s syndrome

Concludes in too much cortisol (helps the body fight various stressful situations) in the dog’s body.

The most susceptible breeds of dog are

  • dachshunds
  • Boxers

Symptoms will be as follows:

  • Loss of hair all over the body
  • Constant strong thirst
  • frequent urination
  • inappropriate behavior
  • The skin is inflamed and with small cracks
  • Poor appetite, resulting in rapid weight loss, although the stomach remains bloated

In order to cure the dog of this ailment, medications that inhibit the production of cortisol are prescribed.

Hyperestrogenism (an overabundance of estrogen in the body)

The condition affects both sexes and is another reason why dogs begin to lose their coat.

In addition to hair loss in large quantities on the sides and abdomen, the symptoms may also include

  • Swelling around the nipples (females)
  • Swollen testicles (males)
  • The skin becomes tougher and rougher
  • Sulfur is produced in excess

Due to the fact that treatment with medication in such a situation will not bring results, the issue is resolved surgically (the dog’s reproductive organs are removed, depending on the sex).

Hypoestrogenism (estrogen deficiency)

This disease affects mostly middle-aged females who have gynecological problems.

Signs include:

  • molting in the groin area (or near the vulva)
  • The skin thins and becomes soft.

The treatment involves hormonal (taking the hormone estrogen).

Dog hair loss due to other causes

But not all cases are caused by a hormonal malfunction. A dog sometimes has hair loss due to other causes as well. Find out more.

Stressful situations

In addition to the fact that the dog suffers baldness wherever he can, he:

  • becomes lethargic and apathetic (although the very next minute he looks overexcited)
  • He behaves in an unnatural way, wanting for example to eat something inedible, or he often howls frequently, which is another symptom of malaise
  • The dog goes to the toilet in the wrong places (which is a sign of incontinence, but not bad behaviour)
  • Unexplained aggression may also occur
  • Lack of appetite and refusal to play

In this case, sedatives and moderate exercise are prescribed.

Allergic reactions

  • In such a case, the dog has hair loss, and itching all the time, and moreover
  • A rash on the skin will appear
  • Gastrointestinal problems will occur
  • Their eyes will water all the time
  • The skin will have many small wounds due to scratching by their claws

Antihistamines are used in therapy, as well as antibiotics (during infection). Also after the cause of the allergy has been identified, wound healing ointments can be used.

Presence of parasites in the body

The condition of the hair of the dog falls into disrepair, looks faded and not groomed, and over time begins to thin.

Thus, a pet who has parasites

  • Looks tired
  • Chews the hair in the thighs and tail area
  • His skin is covered with small ulcers
  • Problems with the gastrointestinal tract and sleep are also observed

Treatment is just taking medications against fleas, worms and the like.

Fungal infestation

These include:

  • Trichophytosis
  • microsporiasis
  • ringworm

Main signs:

  • The dog has hair loss and flaky skin, which is also constantly inflamed
  • The body has purulent sores
  • The hair becomes thin and brittle, and if nothing is done, it begins to fall out in shreds

It is also worth noting that this disease especially “likes” puppies under the age of one year.

Antibacterial and symptomatic drugs are used, in some cases vaccines that suppress the above diseases.

Bacterial skin infections

Problems of this kind involve:

  • pideorma
  • various skin diseases
  • subcutaneous abscesses

Characteristic signs:

  • The skin becomes like sandpaper, constantly reddened
  • Many pustules and papules
  • The hair in this case falls out in a localized way
  • Canines are treated with antibiotics and symptomatic drugs

Vitamin deficiency

In case of avitaminosis dogs especially lack vitamins like A, B2, B6 and B12.

And the bad things happen in case of observed:

  • Alopecia in the neck, muzzle, front and back paws
  • General worsening of the skin’s condition
  • Constant “urge to scratch
  • Another serious sign is a low temperature
  • Also, the mucous membranes are too light.

They choose vitamin complexes or drugs against baldness and other manifestations of avitaminosis for therapy.

Sebaceous gland adenitis

This is an inflammation of the skin, which is affected mostly by puppies or very young individuals.

The characteristic symptoms are:

  • Alopecia is usually observed in the area of the ears, head and back
  • The skin condition also leaves much to be desired (it becomes greasy and flaky)
  • Remaining hair looks greasy and matted.

During therapy, vitamin complexes are prescribed, as well as the use of antiseptic shampoos or corticosteroids.

Black acanthosis

Represents a disease that affects the dog’s skin by disrupting the sebaceous glands.

Symptoms of black acanthosis

  • Hyperpigmentation in the groin and armpits
  • The skin has an unhealthy appearance, becoming rough with keratinized areas
  • The dog is constantly itching
  • There are gaps in the skin

As a rule, is assigned to take hormones, and drugs, with anti-inflammatory action. In some cases, vitamins or antihistamines are prescribed.

Ideopathic alopecia in greyhounds

This disease occurs only in the breed specified in the name of the ailment. This defect occurs exclusively in young individuals.


  • There is alopecia of the thighs and (which is much more common) of the abdomen
  • At the same time, the pet’s skin remains healthy.

Medications are used to slow down the hair loss.

How can you help your dog if he starts to lose his hair?

The best of all possible solutions is to go to the veterinarian. But, since not all owners hold this opinion, there remains treatment on their own, which is highly discouraged.

Note: if you treat your pet incorrectly at home, you can lead the pet to even more problems than it already has (worsening of the condition, progression of the disease, transition into chronicity).

So, once again we remind you that if the dog or cat, on the back, near the tail or at any other point of the skin hair loss must go to the examination, during which the specialist will take scrapings, to take the necessary tests, and then diagnose, and then you can begin treatment. And only in this case will be the result.

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