Why Is My Dog Losing Hair on His Back?

Seeing a dog lose his or her hair can be disconcerting to witness. However, whats most important when dealing with alopecia, as it is referred to medically, is identifying the underlying cause of the hair loss in order to devise an appropriate treatment plan. Here are five common culprits of hair loss in dogs that should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, is a condition caused by the prolonged exposure of the bodys tissue to excessive levels of the hormone cortisol. Other dog breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Dachshund, Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound and Whippet, sometimes suffer from patchy or pattern baldness on the outer ear, chest, back, thigh, or lower neck.

What deficiency causes hair loss in dogs?

Zinc deficiency causes hair loss, skin ulcers, and areas of skin thickening and cracking, particularly over joints and on foot pads. The skin-related signs of mineral deficiency clear up quickly with appropriate levels in the diet.

How do you get rid of bald spots on dogs?

The treatment for alopecia in dogs will vary based on the underlying reason for the hair loss. In some cases, anti-parasitics, antibiotics, anti-fungals, or other medications may be needed to cure the hair loss by fixing the underlying cause.

It’s normal for your canine companion to shed hair — sometimes lots of it. What isn’t routine is for that shedding to result in noticeable bald spots on your dog.

Along with hair loss from licking and biting the irritated areas, signs of flea allergies include itching and redness. Ringworm fungus, pests like mange mites, and bacteria can all lead to infections that may ultimately cause bald spots on your dog.

Older or heavy dogs can be prone to pressure sores where their elbows or other bony parts of the body come in regular contact with hard surfaces. Insect bites and stings, medications, plants, chemicals, even shampoos can cause some dogs to develop a rash or hives, which can result in bald spots. Allergic rashes usually appear within minutes to hours of exposure, and other symptoms can include listlessness, fever, lack of appetite, and vomiting .

Along with hair loss, signs of irritation by a foreign body include swelling and licking the area repeatedly — for example between the toes. Treatment may require lancing under local or general anesthesia to remove the irritant, and antibiotics if there’s a secondary bacterial infection. For some dogs, especially densely-coated breeds like the Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky, and keeshond, clipping — for example in preparation for surgery — can lead to persistent bald spots.

A dog losing hair is regrettable since it will affect its appearance. Additionally, besides the fur ending up everywhere, it is more regrettable if some of your family members or even you are allergic to the fur and pet dander. Also, some children may ingest it unknowingly.

Also, if this animal is dull and loses a lot of furs, you should promptly visit a veterinarian for its health to be checked. Hair loss in these pets many times occur due to parasite infestations.

If this happen, this animal will tend to scratch, bite or lick the affected area to soothe the irritation or itchiness. Secondly, hair shedding that occurs alongside scratching or biting could be due to allergies. In case of allergies, temporary alopecia may occur when these animals scratch or bite the coat.

Some of these breeds include the Doberman Pinscher, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Whippet, and Italian Greyhound. However, it is advisable you use sunscreens for your pet to prevent skin ulceration and sunburns especially during sunny seasons. Fungal infections including ringworms may cause bald patches after scabbing and healing.

If you suspect the fur shedding is due to fungal infection, talk to your vet for prescription. You are also required to disinfect their bedding, and any other thing that they had come in contact with to prevent reinfection or spreading of the fungal infections. A dog losing hair on back or anywhere elsee can also be due to medical conditions.

Therefore, if the fur shedding is not due to genetics, minor skin injury or the usually grooming then you should visit a vet for proper treatment. Also, consider vitamins, minerals, and biotin supplements to help boost this animals health and coat. This problem can also be due to certain treatments and medications which can include oral, topical as well as injectable drugs (or vaccinations).

Talk to your vet when you notice symptoms of dog alopecia after you begin giving these pets certain medication. In dogs, stress can lead to hormonal changes that cause bald spots and fur shedding. Your pet can also lose hair due to constant scratching as a result of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD).

Things such as allergies, hypothyroidism, parasites, infections all can lead to loss of hair in this particular area or anywhere else. Cases of allergies, parasites infestations, and fungal infections can be treated used apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil, baking soda or aloe vera. Although the efficacy of these treatments has no solid scientific backing, they can actually help in mild cases and many people have reported positive results.

In case of abnormal fur shedding, baldness or patchy hair loss, our best advice is to seek help from a vet.

But for most breeds, going bare or bald signals a larger problem at work. When dogs experience hair loss, known as alopecia, it could be a symptom of a medical condition or it could be hereditary. As a pet parent, brush up on the basics of hair loss in dogs, including the different types, causes and treatment options.

Hair loss is just one symptom of a medical problem; it can also be accompanied by changes in behavior or irritability, and your dog may become restless or lethargic. Your dog may suffer from redness or swelling, flaking, crusting, changes in color or discharge, along with an unpleasant odor from an infection.

Alopecia areata: This is an autoimmune disorder that causes patches of hair loss on the dogs body, neck and head without itching. For allergic reactions, treatment with antihistamines may work while bacterial and parasite infections may require other kinds of medication. In some cases, hair loss in dogs is not something to be worried about, unless its accompanied by other physical symptoms or signs of infection.

Amy’s been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar.

What’s Causing the Dog Hair Loss?

Seeing a dog lose his or her hair can be disconcerting to witness. However, what’s most important when dealing with alopecia, as it is referred to medically, is identifying the underlying cause of the hair loss in order to devise an appropriate treatment plan. Here are five common culprits of hair loss in dogs that should be discussed with your veterinarian.

1. Allergies

Allergies are a frequent cause of hair loss in dogs. This may due to environmental triggers such as pollen, molds and dust mites, or due to parasitic triggers like fleas or mites. Food allergies are another possible cause of hair loss. Typical symptoms of an adverse allergic reaction include itchiness resulting in excess scratching, biting, and, of course, hair loss. In the case of flea allergies, it is recommended that dogs take flea preventatives as a way to minimize threats of a full-blown flea infestation.

2. Infection or Infestation

An infestation with parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites (scabies, mange) is another source canine alopecia. Along with hair loss around the ears, eyes, abdomen, and chest, signs your dog may have mites or fleas/ticks include inflammation, itching and redness. Bacterial or fungal infections, such as in the case of ringworm (which is actually a fungus), can also be attributed to hair loss in dogs. Symptoms of ringworm include circular or irregular hair loss, inflammation, and infected crusts.

3. Cushing’s Disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, is a condition caused by the prolonged exposure of the body’s tissue to excessive levels of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms of Cushing’s disease include hair loss, darkening of the skin, and the development of a pot-bellied abdomen. Cushing’s disease commonly occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs, though it can also affect dogs that overuse corticosteroid drugs.

4. Genetics

There are some breeds of dog that are more genetically prone to baldness than others. First there are the hairless dogs that have been bred for the attribute such as the Chinese Crested, Mexican Hairless (Xolo), and American Hairless Terrier. Other dog breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Dachshund, Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound and Whippet, sometimes suffer from patchy or pattern baldness on the outer ear, chest, back, thigh, or lower neck.Image: / Shutterstock

Continued

Most owners learn to live with this, as treatment options are limited. Always make sure your vet has ruled out other causes of hair loss.
Ringworm fungus, pests like mange mites, and bacteria can all lead to infections that may ultimately cause bald spots on your dog.Along with hair loss around the ears, eyes, mouth, and elsewhere, signs your dog may have mites include oily skin, thickened skin, itching, and inflammation. Symptoms of ringworm — a contagious infection of haired skin and claws — includes circular or irregular hair loss, inflammation, and infected crusts.Although small ringworm lesions may clear up spontaneously, it is contageous and should be treated. Ringworm is treated with topical antifungal medications. In severe cases, oral antifungal medications may be necessary. Treating mites may require topical or oral medications, and antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections.
Older or heavy dogs can be prone to pressure sores where their elbows or other bony parts of the body come in regular contact with hard surfaces. Over time, the constant pressure tends to thicken the skin, the hair falls out, and calluses form.If calluses crack, bleed, or get infected, treatment may include moisturizers, antibiotics, or use of bracing. You can prevent pressure sores and calluses by providing your pooch with cushioned bedding.Insect bites and stings, medications, plants, chemicals, even shampoos can cause some dogs to develop a rash or hives, which can result in bald spots.Allergic rashes usually appear within minutes to hours of exposure, and other symptoms can include listlessness, fever, lack of appetite, and vomiting. Always talk to your vet immediately if your dog develops hives as emergency treatment may be needed.

Causes

Unless it happens in small amounts, the dropping of hair off dogs often indicate an underlying condition and the symptoms accompanying this condition will depend on the exact causes.Some of the common symptoms that might accompany this hair loss may include the following.The exact symptoms and severity will depend on the underlying cause and the after-care measures. Also, if this animal is dull and loses a lot of furs, you should promptly visit a veterinarian for its health to be checked.

1. infestations by parasites

Hair loss in these pets many times occur due to parasite infestations. Mites, fleas, lice or ticks may prompt irritation on a dog’s skin when they suck blood or burrow underneath the skin.If this happen, this animal will tend to scratch, bite or lick the affected area to soothe the irritation or itchiness. During the process, a significant amount of fur may be plucked off.Again, these parasites could result in allergies that may cause rashes and scabbing and you will end up with a dog that is losing hair and has scabs on its back.Consider grooming this pet often. Remove any ticks using tweezers. Fleas can be removed using various products including medicated shampoos and other natural product such as cedar oil.If you do not seem to find a way to get rid of these parasites, let your vet give you prescriptions will also help to get rid of parasites.

2. Allergies

Secondly, hair shedding that occurs alongside scratching or biting could be due to allergies. Talk of food allergies, environmental allergies, and medication allergies. All these can cause this problem.In case of allergies, temporary alopecia may occur when these animals scratch or bite the coat. This could lead to swelling, skin breakages and scabs as healing begins. Some allergic reactions can also cause skin blistering.Afterwards, the scabs will shed off together with some amount of fur. This will leave behind red or the bald patches.On the other hand, some allergies may result in rashes on the dog’s skin. If such rashes are scratched, they will break, open, and they could be infected forming wounds. As the wounds heal, they will as well form scabs that will shed away together with hair.

3. Genetics

Have you heard of hairless dog breeds? Well some breeds such as Chinese Crested, the Xolo (Mexican hairless) and the American Hairless Terrier are examples of hairless breeds. This is normal, and nothing is wrong with such breeds.On the other hand, there are those varieties with inherited alopecia. This can occur on the back, chest, thigh, legs and many other areas. Some of these breeds include the Doberman Pinscher, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Whippet, and Italian Greyhound.When caused by genetics, there are treatment options or medication. However, it is advisable you use sunscreens for your pet to prevent skin ulceration and sunburns especially during sunny seasons.

4. Hormonal imbalances

Dogs undergo some hormonal changes during puberty, lactation, pregnancy or after being neutered. Some of these changes may result in bald spots anywhere in the body including on the back, back legs or near tails, etc.Hormonal imbalances are the main reason for alopecia in aged dogs.In case of alopecia triggered by hormonal changes, the bowwowinsurance.com.au, notes that “hormonal causes of dog hair loss resolve themselves in most cases and do not require any intervention.” Nevertheless, you should seek advice from a vet in severe cases.

5. Fungal infections

Dog hair loss could also be a sign of fungal infection. If your pet has a weak immune system, then is she or he is likely to be a victim.Fungal infections including ringworms may cause bald patches after scabbing and healing. If you suspect the fur shedding is due to fungal infection, talk to your vet for prescription.Your vet may recommend appropriate oral or topical antifungals to treat these infections.You are also required to disinfect their bedding, and any other thing that they had come in contact with to prevent reinfection or spreading of the fungal infections.

6. Medical conditions

A dog losing hair on back or anywhere elsee can also be due to medical conditions. These conditions include Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, and alopecia X among others.Always seek for medical attention in case of unexplained alopecia. Some of these conditions can be life-threatening.Therefore, if the fur shedding is not due to genetics, minor skin injury or the usually grooming then you should visit a vet for proper treatment.

7. Nutritional deficiencies

Poor diet can also cause fur loss in dogs or even a dull coat. As a good pet owner, you must know how to mix raw food and commercial food to ensure your dog has a nutritionally balanced diet.If you are a new owner, get nutritional advice from a vet. This will help you to properly balance your dog’s diet to prevent baldness among many other diet-related conditions and diseases.Also, consider vitamins, minerals, and biotin supplements to help boost this animal’s health and coat. A dog savvy vet should help you decide on the right diets for these pets.

8. Certain medications

This problem can also be due to certain treatments and medications which can include oral, topical as well as injectable drugs (or vaccinations).For instance, high doses or prolonged use of medications such as corticosteroids can also result in alopecia. Talk to your vet when you notice symptoms of dog alopecia after you begin giving these pets certain medication.

9. Stress

In dogs, stress can lead to hormonal changes that cause bald spots and fur shedding.Various things can cause stress to these pet including when he or she is introduced into the environment, scared, or when a partner has been taken away, among other causes.Seek advice and help from dog behaviorist to help minimize instances of stress as well as help you know what caused the stress. For instance, according to bowwowinsurance.com.au, “pheromone sprays and collars like ADAPTIL can help the dog to become more relaxed.”

10. Other causes

Your pet can also lose hair due to constant scratching as a result of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD). “This will mean that your dog continually scratches, having convinced themselves that it’s the only way they will be able to soothe their anxiety,” says petcarrierverdict.com.Bacterial infections and changes in seasons can also cause alopecia in these animals.

Natural treatments

Alopecia in these pets can also be addressed by some of the natural products. However, you should only use them in mild cases.Cases of allergies, parasites infestations, and fungal infections can be treated used apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil, baking soda or aloe vera. Although the efficacy of these treatments has no solid scientific backing, they can actually help in mild cases and many people have reported positive results.

Causes of Hair Loss in Dogs

Hair loss can often be diagnosed according to different patterns. Most causes come with their own pattern, making it easier to determine the best form of treatment. A common example would be flea infestation in a particular area that’s easy for a dog to chew at, such as the base of the tail or along the inside of the legs. The most common patterns of hair loss in dogs include:Hair loss is just one symptom of a medical problem; it can also be accompanied by changes in behavior or irritability, and your dog may become restless or lethargic. Common with hair loss is change in the skin. Your dog may suffer from redness or swelling, flaking, crusting, changes in color or discharge, along with an unpleasant odor from an infection.