Seeing a beloved dog lose its fur can be a truly frightening experience even for the most experienced of dog owners. The good news is that most hair loss can be easily treated at home. However, before any treatment can begin, a cause for the hair loss must be determined. Each cause will require a slightly different approach when it comes to treating fur loss in a dog.
One of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs is mange mites. These tiny little insects live in the coat of the dog, burrowing into the skin and causing severe itching. The dog will scratch, bite, and lick continually in an effort to stop this itching, causing the fur loss. Mites can be treated with either prescription or over the counter medications. Be sure to follow the directions fully and carefully, and do not end treatment early or the mites could return.
Ringworm can also cause hair loss in canines. Ringworm is actually a fungal infection, and not a type of actual worm. It is named after the distinctive rash it causes, which does appear to be a little ring on the skin. Ringworm must be treated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible to ensure that the condition doesn’t worsen. Once ringworm has been successfully treated, the hair will grow back naturally. Keep in mind that ringworm can be passed to humans, so you should talk all necessary precautions when it comes to protecting your own family against this infection.
If the area of hair loss is hot to the touch, red, or inflamed, then the likely cause of fur loss is infection. Perhaps the dog was wounded, or the infection could be internal. The best treatment for this is to seek the advice of a veterinarian. A vet will be able to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics. Once the infection is cleared, normal hair growth can resume.
Allergies are another common cause of hair loss in dogs. While not particularly serious in most cases, the patchy hair loss associated with allergies can be disturbing. The only way to treat this is to remove the allergen. The allergen is probably in your home environment, such as mold, dirt, or pollen, so an effort should be taken to avoid these substances. The dog could also be allergic to something in its food. If this is the case, changing the dog’s diet would solve the problem and allow the hair to grow in naturally once more.
One of the more benign causes of hair loss is constant scratching. Some dogs just like to scratch, and if they do it often enough, they could cause their own fur loss. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this type of hair loss is to stop the scratching. This will involve behavior modification and training, and could be a long and difficult process. Consult a veterinarian or dog trainer for assistance if needed.
Most causes of hair loss in canines require the assistance of a veterinarian to diagnose and treat, so do not hesitate to contact a professional for advice if you are not absolutely sure of the reason for the hair loss. Once the cause of the fur loss is addressed, the hair will eventually grow back, and it will be as if nothing ever happened.