If your dog is noticeably loosing hair, then it's usually a sign of a health problem. While some breeds are naturally hairless, such as the Chinese crested, or have very thin, fine hair, like a chihuahua, most breeds are supposed to have an even coat of hair over most of the body. Fortunately, most hair loss problems can be diagnosed and treated and the hair will return. Here are some common reasons why your dog might lose its hair.


Allergies can cause your dog to scratch or lick the hair off of certain parts of the body. If the problem is food allergies, then the areas around the face or toes are likely to be affected. If the problem is a flea allergy, then your dog may bite or chew around the base of the tail or scratch the areas around the neck and shoulders where fleas tend to congregate.


Mange is caused by mites (also known as canine scabies) and can affect just about any part of your dog's body. These parasites can cause large portions of hair to be rubbed or scratched off. Mange mites are highly contagious to other animals and even humans. Symptoms show up about two to six weeks after the mites are acquired. This condition can be treated with dips and medicated shampoos.

Hormone Problems

Problems with the adrenal glands, such as Cushing's disease, or thyroid can also cause your dog to lose or thin out his or her hair. Sex hormones, such as estrogen level fluctuation, can also cause hair loss in both male and female dogs. Usually, there are more symptoms to these problems than just hair loss, so it's important to have your dog fully examined. The good news is that the hair loss usually improves after treating the underlying cause.

Nutritional Problems

If your dog is not getting the right nutrition for his or her body, then the result may be thinning hair or complete hair loss. Make sure that you are feeding them foods with enough fat, protein, and nutrients on a regular basis. Some commercial dog foods actually have too much of a nutrient rather than too little and that can cause problems, too. Many dogs are particularly sensitive to these nutrients or the lack of them. Your veterinarian can help you pick out a food that is best for your dog.

If your dog begins to noticeably lose patches of fur, or seems to be constantly scratching or rubbing an area of his or her body, then a visit to the veterinarian is warranted. These problems rarely get better on their own without proper treatment and prevention. While some conditions can be chronic, any treatment will not only make your dog more comfortable, but increase the chance of his or her coat growing back to a normal thickness.

For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Acequia Animal Hospital.