Why is My Pet Losing Hair?

It is natural for our pets to shed their fur all over our clothes, our house, and ourselves on a daily basis. Some pets shed more than others, but it is typical for pets to lose hair throughout the year and, for some, a large amount at once during seasonal weather changes. At what point does hair loss become an issue? 

If your pet is losing large amounts of hair in one area, or is losing more than they have previously, it may be cause for concern. Always check with your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes in your pet’s appearance or behavior. Read on for some common reasons your pet may be losing hair and some of the natural remedies to help. 

Genetics

If your dog has a genetic predisposition1 to losing hair, you will likely start to see signs at birth or shortly after. There is no cure for genetic hair loss, but as an owner you can take steps to keep their remaining hair and skin healthy. There are two main types of genetic hair loss for dogs- conditions of the hair shaft and conditions of the hair follicle. Follicular conditions prevent hair from growing at all, whereas hair shaft conditions will result in hair falling out after it has grown. 

Some genetic factors that may predispose your dog to hair loss are albinism, breed disposition, dermatomyositis, protein deficiency, and hypotrichosis. If you are concerned about genetic hair loss, contact your veterinarian for a full workup to rule out other possible causes. 

Contact Allergy

Hair loss that is associated with environmental allergens may happen at any stage of your pet’s life. Hair may begin thinning or may fall out completely, resulting in bald patches in your dog’s coat. If they are constantly scratching or licking particular areas of their body, it’s possible they have come into contact with an allergen and are experiencing itching or discomfort in that area. For example, if your pet is allergic to the grass, they will likely lick or chew on their feet in attempt to soothe the discomfort. 

Flea bites are behind most allergies in dogs. Fleas irritate the skin and cause itching and redness that leaves your pet feeling uncomfortable. In some pets, it can take as little as one flea bite to start a days-long allergic reaction. It is important to stay ahead of fleas by engaging in preventative methodsHere are some tips for natural flea and tick prevention.

 

Food Allergy

Food allergies can develop slowly over time, making it difficult to associate the particular food item with your dog’s allergies. It can also be hard to differentiate an allergic reaction from an upset stomach when symptoms first begin. If your pet has ongoing diarrhea, vomiting, itching, or hair loss, speak with your veterinarian about potential allergens in your pet’s diet. Common food allergens for dogs include lamb, beef, chicken, eggs, soy or gluten, or preservatives and other food allergens(3)

Topical Treatments

Depending on the cause of your pet’s hair loss, topical medications may be warranted. To fix the underlying issue in some cases, antibiotics, anti0fungals, anti-parasitics, or other medications may be needed to cure the cause. To soothe dry, irritated skin, you can apply a little dose of Vitamin E or olive oil to the affected area. 

Dietary changes

If your pet has a food allergy that is causing hair loss, remove the food from their diet immediately. If you are not sure the exact cause, you can try an elimination diet to try to figure out what is bothering your pet. Try eliminating gluten, grains, and other inflammatory inducing foods. Once you are aware of what causes an allergic reaction in your pet it will be easier to avoid it in the future and help your pet live an allergy-free life. If you have specific questions about your pet’s food allergies, please speak with their veterinarian. 

Supplements

Some supplements can be given to make your pet’s fur shiny, soft and thick while keeping their skin moisturized and itch-free. There are a variety of holistic, natural supplements on the market to add to your pet’s diet to help maintain a healthy coat. Try Momentum Carnivore Nutrition’s Cod Liver Oil. Momentum’s Cod Liver Oil is packed with Omega-3, vitamins, and minerals to provide your pet with a nutrient-rich supplement to promote a healthy immune system and healthy skin, coat, joints, and heart health. 

In sum, your pet may be losing hair because of genetic, environmental, or dietary reasons. It’s always best to do your research and consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms and to create a plan for treatment.  

  1. https://wagwalking.com/condition/hair-loss-related-to-genetic-factors 
  2. https://wagwalking.com/condition/hair-loss-related-to-allergies 
  3. https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diet-nutrition/food-allergies-dogs