Dog Hair Loss Patches – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment for Hair Loss in Dogs

Do dogs suffer hair loss? Dogs too can have alopecia which shows as a series of patches on various areas of the dog’s body. 

A dog suffering from alopecia usually doesn’t look attractive anymore and this gives a lot of concerns to its owners. Who does not want to show off a pretty-looking dog to the whole wide world?

If your dog is having dog hair loss patches, it’s not the end of the world. There is absolutely something you can do about it. However, understanding how dogs lose their hair is the first step in getting this piece of the puzzle solved.  And this guide will help you with that!!!

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What Is Hair Loss in Dogs?

Hair Loss in Dogs

Hair loss in a more medical approach is called alopecia. And not just in humans, alopecia is also very common in dogs. Many people often mistake hair loss as shedding in dogs but they are two worlds apart. 

Shedding is a normal part of a dog’s hair growth cycle which is breed-dependent. However, alopecia on the hand is the thinning hair or spots of hair loss in certain areas of a dog’s body. If not taken care of, it can result in big patches which makes the dog look less adorable.

What Are The Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs?

Hair loss in dogs can be traced to many causes. Some of which include;

  • Cancer
  • Vaccine site alopecia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Chemical exposure, burns
  • Spider bites or insect stings
  • Skin infections (bacterial, fungal)
  • Allergies (inhaled, contact, insect)
  • Anxiety-related or underlying pain with self-trauma
  • Atopy is a genetic predisposition to develop allergic reactions or diseases
  • Presence of ectoparasites such as fleas, lice, mosquitoes, Demodex or Sarcoptes
  • Endocrine diseases such as hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, seasonal flank alopecia, and sex hormone-responsive. 
  • Genetic problems (e.g., Alopecia X, color dilution alopecia, certain breed predispositions)
  • Nutritional problems such as starvation or an unbalanced diet, vitamin deficiencies
  • Environmental conditions such as outdoor, filthy, hot, or moist conditions.

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How Do I Know My Dog Is Having Hair Loss Patches?

Although hair loss patches are obvious to spot on a dog, chances are that you may not be able to trace them during their early stages. 

And also, depending on the cause of the patches, the signs may not be generic. Hair loss caused by parasites is not visible. Here is how to know that your dog is having hair loss patches;

  • Reddish and inflamed thick skin.
  • Bleeding, malodorous, or pigmented blood.
  • Dogs’ skin will have red spots, pimples, plaques, or hives. 
  • Mild to severe scratching which leads to open wounds.

What Dog Breeds Are Prone To Have Hair Loss Patches?

Some dogs have a higher tendency to have alopecia due to their breed.  Here are some of the dog breeds that are prone to have hair loss patches include;

  • Bulldogs
  • Dobermans
  • Dachshunds
  • Greyhounds
  • Pomeranians 
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Breeds with poor husbandry
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers

What Do I Do When My Dog Has Alopecia?

There’s one good thing you can do, go to a vet. A vet will thoroughly examine your dog physically and diagnose the cause or causes of the hair loss. 

They will factor in the age, breed, sex, health status, and prior medical history before administering treatment. 

What Treatment Exists For Dogs With Hair Loss Patches?

Treating alopecia depends entirely on the cause. If it is merely cosmetic and one small lesion, no treatment may be needed. Depending on the cause, one or more of the following may be recommended:

  • Food trials
  • Medications
  • Surgical removal
  • Topical therapy such as medicated shampoos, sprays, etc

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How Long Does It Take To Treat A Dog With Alopecia?

Hair loss is not treated in a day and there is no one size fits all process for its treatments. Many causes of Alopecia will require long-term treatment or periodic options. By knowing the cause of the hair loss, the vet will be able to decipher the treatment options. 

What Tests Should An Alopecia Dog Undergo?

After examining your dog, the team of veterinarians may recommend a series of tests depending on the cause and severity of the hair loss. 

Some of the common diagnostic tests recommended include;

  • Possible food trials
  • Skin testing for allergies
  • Fecal exam (for parasites)
  • Cultures (for bacterial infections)
  • Biopsy (for autoimmune diseases or cancer)
  • Ear smear to look for bacteria, yeast, cells, or mites
  • Blood tests (for organ function and endocrine diseases)
  • Skin scrapes (for Demodectic or Sarcoptic mange)
  • Tape preps (looking for bacteria, yeast, and inflammatory cells)
  • Blacklight and/or fungal cultures (for Dermatophytosis or ringworm)

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What Can I Do To Prevent And Manage Hair Loss In Dogs?

To help prevent the cause of hair loss in dogs, you should try finding what the cause was and eliminate it. You can adopt using; 

  • Avoiding known allergens. 
  • Effective, regular flea control.
  • Keep your dog clean and well groomed.


Dog hair loss is not without a cure but finding the root cause of the problem will help you eliminate the possibility of its reoccurrence.


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