Understanding The Causes And Treatment Options For Hair Loss In Dogs
Health and Wellness for Your Four-Legged Friend

Understanding The Causes And Treatment Options For Hair Loss In Dogs

Feb 19, 2024

Knowing our furry friends is losing hair more than usual can be quite unsettling. It's something many pet parents have navigated, and you're not alone in feeling a bit anxious when spotting those surprising tufts of fur around the home.

Fear not—This article is crafted to explore what causes coat health issues in dogs and offers vet-endorsed strategies to bring back that shiny coat. Stay with us.

Common Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs

When our canine friends start to lose their fur, it can be a sign of underlying health issues, and identifying the root cause is crucial.


Just like us, our furry friends can react badly to things they eat or particles in the air. Certain foods, pollen, or dust mites can lead to dog dermatitis, where their skin gets irritated and inflamed.

To help our pups feel better, we first try to keep them away from whatever sets off their allergy. Sometimes, that means changing their diet, making sure they steer clear of old blankets that gather dust and avoid using shampoos containing synthetic chemicals. If those steps don't work on their own, medications and special shampoos can soothe the itchiness and stop the hair loss.


Dogs can get different kinds of skin infections that lead to hair loss. These could be from tiny bugs living on the skin or even ring-shaped fungus issues called ringworms. When dogs scratch at itchy spots caused by these infections, they might pull out their fur without meaning to.

Bacterial problems are also big causes of concern. They often show up as redness, swelling, or sores on the dog's skin and can make them feel really uncomfortable. If a dog loses hair over their whole body, it might be a serious bacterial spread we need to tackle right away.


Mange is a skin disease in dogs caused by certain types of mites. It often leads to hair loss, and it can make your dog feel very itchy. These pesky parasites dig into the skin and live there, which makes the skin red and sore.

Some mites might be passed from mother to puppy or through contact with other dogs that have them. They're not just annoying; they lead to skin inflammation that can get worse if we don't treat it fast. We see hair loss in our furry friends when these ectoparasites make their lives tough.

Hormone imbalances

Hormones play a big role in keeping our dogs' hair thick and healthy. Sometimes, their bodies don't make the right amount of hormones. This can lead to hair loss. Think about it like a garden where plants don't get enough water – they start to die off. It's similar to your dog's fur.

Dogs can have too much or too little thyroid hormone, which messes up their coat. There are also problems like Cushing's disease, where their body makes too much of a stress hormone called cortisol. And for some pups, conditions like Alopecia X cause trouble because sex hormones aren't balanced right. 

Genetic predisposition

Just like us, dogs can inherit traits from their parents that affect their hair. Certain breeds might get alopecia—a fancy word for losing hair— because of these inherited genes. Take the Doberman Pinscher for example, they might have something called follicular dysplasia. This condition makes their coat look poor and causes bald spots. 

We know about different types of hereditary alopecia in dogs. There's pinnal alopecia, which is when a dog loses hair on its ears. Pattern baldness can make a dog lose hair in certain areas in a regular pattern, kind of like some people do. Then there are more unusual ones like post-clipping and post-injection alopecia, where dogs lose hair after getting shaved or getting an injection at the vet's office.

Treatment Options for Hair Loss in Dogs

When we notice our furry companions losing hair, the urge to fix it can be overwhelming. So, let's explore the array of treatment options available that will help manage and hopefully restore your dog's luscious coat.

Proper grooming and hygiene

We all want our furry friends to be healthy and happy. Taking care of their coat is a big part of that.

  • Brush your dog regularly. This keeps their fur free from tangles and removes dead hair.
  • Don't bathe them too much. It can wash away natural oils and make hair loss worse.
  • Keep an eye on scratching. If your dog scratches a lot, it might mean skin problems.
  • Feed them well. Good food helps your dog have a strong coat and healthy skin.
  • Stay dry between baths. Make sure your dog's coat is fully dry, as dampness can breed germs.
  • Protect from sunburn. Dogs with thin coats need sunscreen to prevent skin damage. 

Medications and supplements

Dealing with hair loss in dogs can be tricky, but medications and supplements often play a big role in treatment.

  • Veterinary medications are key to managing conditions like Cushing's disease. These special drugs work by balancing hormones in your dog's body, which can stop hair from falling out.
  • The FDA approves certain medicines for our canine friends. With these, you can trust that they've been tested and are safe for your dog to help with hair regrowth.
  • Canine supplements might include things like omega fatty acids and vitamins. They support skin health and may encourage the hair to grow back fuller and stronger.
  • Some treatments target the skin directly. Medicines applied to the skin can kill off bad bugs that cause hair loss or soothe irritated skin.
  • Always talk with your vet first before starting any treatment. They will find out why your dog's hair is falling out and decide the best way to fix it.

We've walked through the reasons why our furry friends might lose their hair, from allergies to pesky bugs. We also know there are a bunch of ways to help them. But remember, every dog is different – what works for one may not work for another. If your pup starts losing fur, don't guess; talk to a vet. They'll point you in the right direction so your buddy can get back to looking and feeling great.