All dogs have a tendency to shed, but a shiny coat is very often an indicator of a dog’s wellbeing, which comes from lifestyle, correct diet and environment. Nevertheless, there are times when there are problems with the coat and the dog may have hairless patches. What is the reason for this? Dogs generally tend to lose their hair in specific places or scattered all over the body, but it is essential to understand the reason for this in order to take immediate action. A visit to the vet will remove all doubt.
How do hairless patches in dogs come about and what causes them? Manifestations of hair loss in dogs can be caused by brittleness or dryness of the hair, and excessive hair loss can also turn into the subsequent appearance of circular or irregularly shaped hairless patches. Hair loss in dogs can affect only a specific area or it can affect the dog’s entire body.
But why does a dog lose its hair in patches? There are many possible causes. It could be caused by an infestation of parasites such as mites, lice or fleas. In this case the patch will appear mainly in the neck and tail area. Fleas quickly infest the dog and can cause immediate and continuous itching and consequent hair loss.
Skin diseases such as eczema or dandruff can also cause hair loss in dogs. If the dog is itchy, it tends to scratch or lick itself, and in the long term this behaviour may lead to hair loss as specific areas of the skin are weakened and the coat is subsequently thinned. Causes of hair loss can also be attributed to nutritional deficiencies: nutrients promote the development of healthy skin and hair and keratin, the main component of the coat, requires the correct synthesis of sulphur amino acids such as biotin, which is important for healthy skin and hair.
There may also be more serious causes such as ovarian or testicular tumours, especially in older dogs, but another cause could be hypothyroidism.