What would cause a dog to lose patches of hair? A Step-by-Step Guide

Dog Breeds That Are Prone to Alopecia

Dogs that are especially prone to alopecia include:

  • Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested (“normal”)
  • Genetic: Bulldogs, Dobermans, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds
  • Nordic breeds: When clipped, hair may not return for Siberian Huskies, Pomeranians, and others
  • Atopy-prone breeds: Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Bulldogs, West Highland White Terriers, and others
  • Any breed with poor husbandry, especially puppies, is prone to Demodectic mange
  • Why Is My Dog Losing Hair?

    Here are six reasons your dog may be losing hair.

    Itchy skin and hair loss are two of the biggest indicators that your dog has an allergy. They could be allergic to certain ingredients in their food or environmental factors like pollen or dust mites. Your vet can conduct tests to determine whether your dog has food or environmental allergies.

    Flea allergy dermatitis, also known as flea bite hypersensitivity, is the most common skin disease in dogs. Signs of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) include:

  • Patches of missing fur
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Hot spots or infected sores
  • Flea droppings (black specks) or fleas on your dog, especially near the legs, hindquarters and tail
  • Even if your dog is not allergic to fleas, these parasites can still irritate their skin, resulting in hair loss from repeated scratching, rubbing or biting.

    Mites and lice can also cause hair loss in dogs. The type of lice found on dogs is not the same species found on humans, and they are spread from infected dogs, overcrowded housing, infected grooming tools and poor sanitation. Signs of lice on dogs beyond hair loss include itchiness, redness and flaky skin and coat.

    Hair Loss from Skin Conditions or Infections

    Just like humans, dogs can get dry, cracked skin or skin infections. These conditions can cause your dog’s skin to be extremely itchy. Dogs will often lick, scratch or itch themselves to relieve the discomfort, and over time this can lead to hair loss.

    Dogs with bacterial or fungal skin infections usually have an underlying allergy component as well. Bites from other animals as well as cuts and abrasions can also lead to skin infections.

    5 Common Dog Skin Problems: Hair Loss, Hot Spots and Dandruff, Allergic Dermatitis, Itching