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Dog Alopecia and Hair Loss in Dogs

by Lacy Kerrigan

Hair loss in dogs, correctly known as alopecia can occur across the entire body or in isolated
patches. It is typically a sign of other underlying canine health conditions that will need to be
treated to regrow hair. There can be some simple causes of hair loss such as allergies, fleas or hot
spots, but there can also be some parasitic issues with mites and mange. General hair care can also
be an issue, especially if the owner is bathing the dog too often or using human hair care products
such as shampoo, conditioner or even styling products on the dog.

Seasonal Hair Loss in Dogs

Almost all double-coated dogs will shed significantly in the spring and fall months as their coat
changes. The downy, soft inner coat will completely come out in some breeds, a condition
commonly known as blowing the coat. When this happens a massive amount of hair will come out,
often worrying owners on the first shed. Regular grooming is part of managing this type of hair loss
in dogs and typically the more you groom the shorter the shed will last. Hair care at this time is an
important part of canine health, as mats can form in the coat, leading to sores on the skin, lesions
and infections if not removed.

Dog Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common canine health conditions that result in hair loss. In dogs
allergies may be from airborne allergens, compounds or ingredients in the food or allergens within
their environment. Cleaning compounds and perfumes are often serious culprits but also rugs,
certain shampoos and even hand lotions that the owner uses can trigger the reaction.

Often allergies result in hot spots. These are areas that have become infected due to the dog
licking, scratching and biting to try to calm the itching. When hot spots develop and are severe,
hair loss can occur and can be permanent if the lesion is deep or constantly irritated by the dog.
Treatment for the allergies as well as antibiotic creams and regular cleaning and drying of the hot
spot is essential to prevent skin damage in the area.

Cushing's Disease in Dogs

This disease is more common in older dogs when the thyroid begins to over produce
corticosteriods. It can also be used if the older dog is on medically prescribed steroids for other
health conditions. The skin becomes thinner and the hair gradually falls out, usually in a uniform
manner across the body. This may be caused by tumors in the thyroid that will need to be
surgically removed or the level of steroids used in treatments needs to be decreased gradually.

Since there are such as wide range of diseases and conditions that can trigger hair loss in dogs it is
critical to get your pet into a vet as soon as possible. Canine health issues are always easiest to
cure or manage when found early and treatment started sooner rather than later

Article written by Lacy Kerrigan of, check out our cool variety of  little
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