What is Alopecia In Dogs?
Have you ever seen a dog losing its hair completely? Or, is your pooch getting bald spots here and there? Do you know the reason behind baldness? This disorder in canines is termed “Canine Alopecia”.
It is common in dogs. It occurs as a result of genetics or underlying medical conditions such as hyper and hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and Addison’s disease.
If your dog has poor blood circulation, hair growth will not be good. Also, dogs having a weak heart, chronic anemia, and low blood pressure will have dull skin and coats.
Symptoms Of Alopecia In Dogs
- Circular Crust On Skin
- Darkening Of The Skin
- Hair Loss
- Hair Loss In Belly
- Hair Loss In Tail
- No Itching Hair Loss
- Redness In Skin
- Scaly Skin
- Sores In Body
- Bleeding Around Areas Of Hair Loss
Treatment Options For Alopecia In Dogs
If it loses hair without itching, it is an autoimmune disorder called “Alopecia Areata.” In such cases, your canine will have a sudden loss of hair with circular bald patches.
And, you can see your pooch is losing its hair on the head, neck, and body.
Vets confirm this condition by microscopic examination of hairs or biopsy in a few cases. Your doggy’s hair will automatically regrow in a time span of 6 to 12 months but with a light color.
Sometimes, your dog may get itching and then lose its hair. It may be either due to infections from scabies and fleas or from mange, a skin disease.
Sprays, creams, and hydrocortisone shampoos may also be used to treat the itchy skin. They can also promote healing and you can apply the sprays directly onto the itchy area.
Scabs may occur because of allergies, parasitic infections, and fungal infections. Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also lead to this condition. This condition can be diagnosed through physical examination.
Vets prescribe fungal culture, bacterial culture, cytology, skin biopsy and other allergy tests.
- Antibiotics (either topical or oral) to treat bacterial infections
- Antifungal (either oral or topical) medications to treat ringworm and yeast infections.
- Behavioral medications to avoid licking or chewing the affected area.
- Hormone therapy and thyroid medications for hair regrowth in dogs due to hormonal and endocrine disorders.
- Vets recommend Vitamin E, A, and fish oil supplements for dogs with dry skin or skin infections.
- Vets may prescribe hypoallergenic diets and feeding times to cure hair loss of food allergies.
- Your vet may also recommend an Elizabethan collar (e-collar or cone). This is to prevent the pet from licking the affected site until it healed.
- Insulin therapy to cure hair loss associated with diabetes.
- Medicated shampoos or dips to treat hair loss occurring due to mange. Melatonin may also be used to treat hair loss in dogs.
- Anti-cytokine drugs or immunosuppressive drugs to control environmental allergies (i.e. grass pollens, etc.). These drugs may be recommended for a lifetime.
Home Remedies To Cure Alopecia In Dogs
You can treat hair loss in dogs with a few home remedies as well.
It will distribute the natural oils on it and keeps the coat shiny and healthy.
Lemon Juice and apple cider vinegar:
Both the acidic liquids help your pooch fight against bacteria and restore the pH of areas affected by skin infections.
Humidifier:It will keep more moisture in the air and prevent the dry, itchy skin. It also soothes the dog’s skin.
Topical Olive Oil:
It is suitable for your dog losing hair in patches. In such cases, applying a little amount of olive oil will moisturize the dry and rough skin. Ensure that your dog doesn’t sit on the good furniture immediately.
They are chewy, delicious treat that comes in bacon flavor that your dog loves. An easy to take a snack, you can give it to anytime your pooch needs it. These probiotics will avoid the flaky and dry skin in the canines.
Prevention Of Alopecia In Dogs
Regular brushing of the hair and proper nutritious food are the major prevention modes.
You can prevent food allergies in your canines by not providing the allergic foods to it. For example, avoid giving corn, soy, and wheat to your dogs.
Affected Dog Breeds Of Alopecia
Dachshund, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Whippet, Manchester Terrier, Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Keeshond, Samoyed
Additional Facts For Alopecia In Dogs
Several factors can cause hair loss in canines. But, the actual cause can either be congenital or acquired. The following reasons are considered the common causes of alopecia in canines. Allergies are the common reason for skin infections and this will lead to alopecia.
Dogs may get food allergies and contact allergies as well.
Food allergies - Certain foods such as fish, pork, meat, yeast, milk, and grains such as wheat, corn, and soy will cause allergies in canines.
Contact allergies - Dogs will also get allergies just by walking through grass or from carpets or floors that are chemically treated.
Allergens: Pollens are the major allergens. Besides, perfumes and cigarette smoke may also add to the list of allergens. If your dog inhales any of these allergens, it will get allergies. Itchy skin will also lead to Excessive Scratching or chewing out the hair.
Parasites are the major cause of alopecia in dogs. The foremost among them is the external parasites such as mites, fleas, ticks, and lice. Your dog will also feel Excessive Scratching and itching, in addition to hair loss, due to these parasites.
Next to parasites, bacteria are one of the major factors causing alopecia. In fact, bacteria are the common cause for multifocal alopecia (i.e. hair loss in multiple areas of your dog’s body). Such kind of bacterial infections may also lead to crusting in skin, redness and hair loss in circular patterns.
Another major cause for partial or complete hair loss is the fungal infection. Fungi are the predominant factor for dermatophytosis or skin infections. These infections will also cause redness and scaling in dogs.
Poor Nutrition is another cause.
When To See A Vet For Alopecia?
Dogs of any age and gender are prone to alopecia. Any dog breed may get this ailment. As a dog parent, you have to notice the signs and symptoms of alopecia.
Any allergic reactions from chemicals, plants, and food may cause alopecia. Trauma and hormonal imbalance also play roles in this disease. When you notice this condition in your dog, first consult the vet for advice. The vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat redness in the skin.
Your dog needs hormone treatments in cases of abnormal function of thyroid or adrenal glands.
So, if you notice unusual hair loss in your dog, take him to your vet immediately.
Food Suggestions For Alopecia In Dogs
Certain nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are helpful for hair growth. They help to remain the hair anchored in the skin.
For example, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also contribute to hair growth. If your dog lacks any of these vitamins or nutrients, it may experience hair fall or alopecia in a severe case. This may lead to crusting in skin, redness and hair loss in circular patterns.
Causes of this disorder can be many. Infections from parasites, bacteria, and fungi are the major causes. Poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, and poor blood supply can result in loss of hair in dogs. It is essential to know about this condition and the ways to treat it.