Treating hair loss in dogs can be very easy in some cases, while in other cases it can be extremely complicated.
But there is one certainty about how to treat this very troubling and potentially painful condition in your dog; there is no single treatment.
The only way to successfully treat hair loss in your dog is to first identify the actual underlying cause and then treat that cause.
There are several potential causes of Alopecia, which is hair loss in your dog, and each case will have different treatments.
Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss and the treatments.
Allergic & Irritant Dermatitis
Treating hair loss in dogs with allergic or irritant dermatitis will all depend on the actual underlying cause of the allergy.
The cause may be from an antibiotic that was recently applied to your dog’s skin, or it may be caused by a substance.
This could include rubber, wool, or by far and away the most common cause, plastic.
These types of hair loss will first show signs of red skin or blisters, which are very quickly followed by hair loss.
Testing for this type of loss will include both patch tests and exclusion trials.
Once identified, the first form of treatment will be either eliminating or restricting exposure to the allergen.
Plastic is the most common cause, and it is for this reason that you should always use metal dishes for both food and water for your dog.
Medical treatments will include antihistamines along with steroids. But before you use steroids on your dog, seek a second opinion.
Steroids have several benefits, but they also have some very serious side effects.
In treating hair loss in dogs with atopy, it will be extremely important to also understand the actual cause.
Atopy is an allergic reaction to something that your dog has inhaled, as opposed to something they have come in contact with.
It can include pollen, dust mites, as well as mold. The first symptoms that your dog has this condition are licking of their feet and inflamed ears.
Once this occurs, they will begin to scratch, but it will not be a normal scratching; it will become so severe it will develop into hot spots.
Once hot spots occur, the hair loss can range from minor to severe.
There are several forms of treatment with this condition. Again, the first form of treatment will be to identify the actual cause and then eliminate it.
Biotin supplements are very effective with atopy, as well as fatty acid supplements.
In most all cases, when combined with antihistamines and medicated shampoos, it can very easily be eliminated.
However, in the most severe cases, autoimmune therapy may have to be used and this will involve steroids.
Callus is not as common as some of the other causes and treating hair loss in dogs with this condition can be very easy and very effective.
Callus is the result of chronic pressure and is most prevalent in larger dogs.
It will cause the areas over your dog’s bones pressure points to become thickened, and as a result, they will lose their hair in these areas.
The best form of treatment is to provide your dog with softer bedding as well as padding around the affected areas. This will be quite successful in the vast majority of cases.
This disease can be a very serious threat to your dog and can cause not only hair loss but thinning of the skin as well.
However, it can also very easily cause blackheads and these can become infected, resulting in even more hair loss.
It is the result of an increase in corticosteroids in your dog’s body by an increased production or by very high doses of corticosteroids that have been given to your dog for another condition.
It may also be caused by glandular tumors.
If it is caused by tumors, the only effective treatment will be to remove the tumors surgically.
Treating hair loss in dogs with this condition will also involve adrenal gland testing.
Once tested you will then begin treating this condition to slow the corticosteroid overproduction.
If it is the result of too high of steroid doses, your veterinarian will have to gradually lower the steroids to stop the condition.
This is also called red mange or puppy mange, and is caused by an infection with the Demodex mite.
It almost always occurs as the result of a weaken immune system in dogs, especially puppies.
If will first start out a scaly red skin that can very easily turn into pustules, and as a result, can cause severe hair loss.
Treating this condition will always be done by medicated dips.
If steroids are even mentioned as a treatment with this condition, run; do not walk, as they can have catastrophic side effects with this form of mange.
This is situation where your dog’s hair follicles have become infected, usually with staph bacteria. The first symptoms will be in the form of pustules and they will break open and form bulls eye type lesions.
Short hair breeds will loss small patches of hair within these lesions while long haired breeds most commonly develop seborrhea.
The only effective treatment of this form of hair loss will be with antibiotics.
Because of its severity, most veterinarians will extend the usage of antibiotics seven to ten days after the appearance of resolution, just to be on the safe side.
Treating hair loss in dogs with this condition can be difficult, only because it may be hard to find the actual cause.
It can be inherited in some cases, but in the vast majority of cases it is caused by another disease.
If severe enough, it can cause a lot of hair loss in your dog, but it usually only causes small patch loss.
However, this is where the term wet dog stink comes from, as your dog will become very stinky.
Antiseborrheic shampoos combined with fatty acid supplements are the most effective treatments.
Treating hair loss in dogs with this condition has only one effective form of treatment: a lifetime thyroid supplementation.
It can cause both hair losses as well as very dry brittle hair and may also cause your dog to actually change colors in severe cases.
Ringworm in dogs is the result of several types of fungal infections, and can cause hair loss as the result of scaling and crusty skin.
The most effective treatment for this condition is with lime sulfur dips.
Treating hair loss in dogs in most all cases can be very effective if the actual underlying cause is first identified, as there is no one single treatment.
Understanding the actual cause will help in the correct form of treatment.