All owners aim to maintain a glossy, thick coat of hair on our pooches. As the first visual indicator of a dog’s general health, it is important to take good care of their coat. As anyone who has ever had a dog in their home will know, all breeds shed their hair on a daily basis. It is, however, difficult to say what a ‘normal’ amount of shedding is for a dog. This is due to the varieties of breeds and environmental factors that can have an effect. Therefore, it is also complicated to know whether or not a certain amount of shedding is cause for concern.
Shedding and hair loss are completely normal in all dogs, even humans lose up to an average of 100 hairs a day. It is true that certain breeds are more prone to hair loss, and it might seem excessive if you compare it to other breeds. Also, factors such as environment, lifestyle, and diet are key to the health of a dog’s coat. Changes in any of these could cause fluctuations in the amount of hair loss. Excess molting could be due to a simple environmental factor, such as heightened temperatures in summer.
However, when shedding becomes localized on a dog’s body or is excessive, it can be very distressing for the dog and owner. If you think that your dog is losing more hair than is healthy, it might be time to investigate how to stop a dog shedding. It is vital, when you begin to suspect excessive hair loss, that you consult with a veterinarian.
Common Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs
There are many reasons why dogs shed their hair and even lose larger quantities. Alopecia, the name given to hair loss in general, can be caused by a variety of factors. It can also be a completely normal stage of aging due to genetics. The most common causes of hair loss in dogs are explained below.
1. Infections of Parasites
Mites, ticks, fleas, and lice are all kinds of common external parasites that can infect dogs. They are small creatures who usually feed on the blood of mammals. This irritation can make dogs scratch themselves raw leading to hair loss, occasionally resulting in further infections. It is crucial to use the correct treatments to remove these parasites as soon as they are present. Some of these infections can cause more serious diseases with hair loss as a symptom.
2. Skin Conditions
Certain skin conditions can be common among dogs of all kinds. Eczema and dandruff are among the most usual suspects. They make the skin uncomfortable which dogs will alleviate through scratching and licking. This, in turn, weakens the hair follicles and loose skin, thus increasing shedding. There are over 160 types of skin conditions that can affect dogs.
3. Nutritional Deficiencies
A lack of certain nutrients in a dog’s diet can certainly cause problems with their skin and coat. Just as with humans, dog hair can get thinner and fall out due to vitamin deficiencies. Hair becomes brittle and dry when the body does not absorb sufficient minerals to keep it healthy. Important nutrients for hair growth include keratin, amino acids, and biotin.
4. Underlying Conditions
Another common cause of hair loss in dogs could be an underlying medical condition that is not directly related to the skin or coat. The hair loss itself could simply be a symptom of something more complex.
Some more predictable illnesses that cause hair loss are ovarian or testicular tumors. More frequent in older dogs, the hormones that would normally aid growth are disturbed due to the tumor.
Another is Cushing’s disease, which also involves the growth of a tumor on the adrenal glands. This creates more cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone produced to put the body on alert and cause stress. With excessive cortisol, the body suffers from hair loss as a result.
Another common concealed condition could be hypothyroidism. This means that the dog’s hormone production system is underactive. The most common symptom of this is hair loss.
When To See A Vet
Although there are several very common motives for hair loss, if you are at all concerned about your dog’s health, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinary expert. These conditions, which can affect hair loss, may still need medical attention, despite being common among dogs.
It is recommended to visit the vet if your dog is showing signs of hair loss accompanied by other symptoms that are unusual in your pet. Look at any changes in their behavior, check out their skin and coat carefully for other lesions or signs of infection. Be aware of odors, redness, rashes, scabs, and bald spots.
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