Why is my dog losing its hair?

If you’ve noticed your dog shedding or losing hair, in clumps or generally over their body, it’s important you understand what the common causes might be before consulting a vet.

Hair loss symptoms in your dog

The symptoms of hair loss can include your dog’s hair feeling brittle or dry, shedding more hair than normal, and the appearance of bald patches which can be circular or irregularly shaped. Hair loss might also be focused on a specific region or generalized across your dog’s whole body.

Common causes for hair loss in dogs

A very common cause of hair loss in dogs is an infestation by parasites such as mites, lice or fleas. In particular, if your dog is losing hair around its neck and tail, there’s a high chance it’s due to fleas. These tiny parasites can rapidly infest your dog and irritate their skin; this leads to intense itching or scratching, which in turn can cause hair loss.

Any skin condition your dog has, including eczema or dandruff, can eventually lead to hair loss. If your dog is uncomfortable or their skin is causing them distress, they’ll try to alleviate this by scratching and licking themselves. Over time, this can lead to hair loss as specific areas of skin are weakened and their coat pulled out.

Hair loss in dogs can also occur due to nutritional deficiencies, the presence of which would otherwise support the development of healthy skin and hair. Keratin, the core component of hair, needs sulfur amino acids to be synthesized properly; without these, your dog might have slow hair growth, their hair may feel brittle and eventually they’ll suffer from hair loss. Similarly, biotin is a key nutrient in supporting healthy skin and hair and protecting against problems such as hair loss. At Royal Canin® we have a wide range of products focused on coat and sensitive skin care designed to meet the unique needs of your dog, shop formula at Chico!

Small Dogs Sensitive Skin Care

The digestibility of a formula can have an impact on the condition of the dog’s skin and coat. At Royal Canin® we have developed a unique formula to help promote a healthy skin for small dogs with sensitive skin. This Small Sensitive Skin Care® formula includes select protein sources of very high quality that are extremely digestible, helping to support healthy skin. Also, this formula helps to support the skin barrier through a unique combination of nutrients delivered in a specialized kibble tailored in shape, size, texture and density for the small dogs’ jaws to promote chewing helping with optimal oral hygiene by limiting tartar formation. 

Medium Dogs:

When sensitive skin becomes irritated, the resulting inflammation causes an increase in free radical production. The unique Royal Canin® Medium Sensitive Skin Care® formula with a combination of nutrients such as antioxidants, protein and vitamins has been developed to help with this condition and promote stronger and healthier skin on medium size dogs with sensitive skin. 

Large Dogs:

Poorly digested diets can increase the likelihood of undigested protein entering the gut and causing an immune reaction; potentially leading to the development of an allergy that could show up in the skin.  For this reason, Royal Canin® Large Sensitive Skin Care® is formulated using high quality, extremely digestible select proteins, and a unique combination of nutrients to support healthy skin.

Some large dogs are finicky about their food, so Royal Canin® Large Sensitive Skin Care® formula has been developed with an exclusive combination of natural flavors and aromas, along with a tailored kibble design, to satisfy even the most fussy large breed dog.

Protecting against hair loss

Some of the more complex causes of hair loss, such as Cushing’s disease, must be treated by a vet and closely monitored. However, you can also help protect your pet against hair loss at home:

  • Make sure to follow the recommended guidelines for regular, effective treatment against fleas and their eggs
  • Use a dermatologist-approved, specialty shampoo for your dog to help alleviate any itching and therefore discourage scratching
  • Give your dog a food which is enriched with nutrients to support their skin and hair development, including biotin and high-quality, highly-digestible proteins

It’s important to take your dog to your vet once you’ve noticed any hair loss so they can have a thorough check up and be given the right treatment. You can also ask your vet for advice about caring for your dog’s skin and coat at any time.

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