A dog's coat can tell you—and your veterinarian—a lot about the pet's health. While shedding is a common process for many types of dogs, some more serious health issues can be signaled by hair loss. Below, a few of these signs are discussed in more detail.
How to Tell If Your Pet's Hair Loss Isn’t Just Shedding
1. Increased Scratching
If your dog's scratching has gotten to the point where they are losing their hair in certain areas (commonly known as "hot spots"), an allergy could be the cause. Allergens are found in both the environment and in food, and, just like with people, some are more susceptible to these allergens than others. Allergies cause an inflammatory response, which produces the increased itch, and they are often accompanied by restlessness and jumpiness. Your veterinarian might perform blood tests and put your dog on an exclusion diet to better identify the source of the allergies.
2. Visible Scabs or Sores
Scabbing and sores can be a sign of a parasitic infection called mange. There are two types of mange, demodectic and sarcoptic; the sarcoptic variety can be passed along to humans. With both types of mange, parasites like fleas or ticks live on the dog's skin and cause the hair to fall out. Often, they leave sores, redness, swelling, and intense itching behind. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to remedy the condition and put your dog on a schedule of preventive treatment.
Life changes, daily anxieties, and past trauma can all contribute to pet stress levels. If you've taken your dog to the veterinarian and they can't find a physiological explanation for hair loss, stress might be the dog's issue. Stress typically comes with an uptick in your dog's self-licking or scratching, both of which can cause hair loss, and they may exhibit signs of anxiousness, such as pacing, crying or whining, or destroying toys or furniture. There are a few ways to treat stress in dogs, including medications and pheromone sprays.
Don't let your dog's hair loss go untreated. The veterinarians at Thompson Animal Medical Center are here to help. Serving the La Crosse County, WI, area, they provide pet wellness exams and treatments, as well as emergency vet services. Additionally, they offer boarding, so you know your pet will be taken care of by qualified animal specialists while you’re out of town. Schedule an appointment today by calling (608) 788-8820, and visit their website to learn more about their team.