Have you ever had a dog lose clumps of fur or have patches of fur missing? Sometimes it’s just the shedding that occurs with the change in seasons, but sometimes it is the result of other conditions that warrant concern and perhaps even a visit to your dog’s veterinarian for treatment. Let’s go through a few reasons why your dog might be losing fur.
- Normal Cyclical Shedding Many dog breeds have a cyclical shedding cycle and while the amount of hair that is shed or brushed out can be alarming (you may have even seen pictures on the internet of dogs next to a dog shaped outline fashioned out of it’s discarded fur). A daily brushing schedule for your dog can help minimize the amount of loose fur floating around your home. These cycles usually only last a few weeks and it’s usually normal. Regular appointments with a professional groomer can help with shedding as well as they are well versed in managing dog hair and can even have specific de-shedding methods. For more advice, contact our amazing Grooming Team here at Hillrose Pet Resort.
- Allergies – Just like people, dogs can have allergies. Whether it is a result of household products, outdoor pollen, foods, and even flea bites (flea saliva usually causes skin irritations), dogs with allergies may try to scratch the area repeatedly and end up scratching off fur. The itching and biting of affected areas should be discouraged and may require your dog to wear the dreaded cone shaped collar. Your veterinarian may recommend an antihistamine or similar medication as well to treat the issue.
- Hormonal Changes: As dogs age, sometimes they develop hormonal imbalances that result in conditions like Cushings Disease or Hyperthyroidism. Cushings Disease is when a noncancerous tumor develops in the pituitary gland, which elevates cortisone levels. Hyperthyroidism is when the body does not make enough of the hormone that is responsible for regulating metabolism. These conditions both have fur loss as a symptom and should be treated with medications.
- Infection – Bacterial or fungal infections such as ringworm can cause inflammation resulting in scratching and fur loss. This type of fur loss can be slow to regrow once oral treatment with antifungal medications paired with medicated shampoos is complete. It may take 6 months to a year to see fur regrowth in the affected area.
- Repeated Contact If your pet has a favorite spot on the floor or porch or even if they lay in an uncushioned dog crate, overtime, they can rub the fur away on parts of their body that have the most contact with the surface; mainly the dogs’ sides, elbows or end of the tail. When the fur rubs away, the exposed skin begins to thicken or callus and may not regrow the fur. If you catch it early, the skin would not have become thickened and the fur will regrow quicker.
It’s best to talk to your vet as soon as you see an issue with your dog’s fur just in case it is a symptom of more serious, but treatable conditions.