Hair loss is a normal part of life — in all mammals! In fact, the Smithsonian published a response to the question of hair loss and stated that hair or fur loss can be seen in several animals, including coatis, Andean bears and cats of various species, including humans. However, it is also very common in dogs.
We are very aware that “man” can lose his hair, but what do you do when your “best friend” is losing their hair? It can be troubling when your furry friend begins to lose some of his shiny coat, but just like with humans, there are often practical explanations and treatments for hair loss in dogs that will have Spot back to normal in no time.
- Trauma and Stress
Just like humans, dogs can also get so stressed that they experience hair loss. However, sometimes the cause of the stress is due to a particular traumatic experience. You will be able to detect this if your dog is dog chronically licking his own fur.
Veterinarians refer to this as acral lick dermatitis, and the excessive licking damages the hair follicles which leads to hair loss in the affected areas. If you have just rescued your dog from a less than ideal situation or he has been through a rough time, he might turn to licking to calm down.
The key here is to address the root issue, which is anxiety. To do this, you can try behavior modification training, calming techniques or an Elizabethan collar until you are able to help your dog manage stress without resorting to licking. For humans, the stress of losing your hair can cause more stress so it’s important to treat anxiety and to know your hair restoration options.
One of the most common causes of alopecia in dogs is something called mange, which is cause by a small mite called a Demodex. You will often be able to identify mange because the hair loss is patchy rather than symmetrical and systematic.
The mites bite your dog’s skin, which causes dryness and scaliness that will make your dog itch excessively. Over time, if he scratches the skin enough, hair will fall out and leave him looking a little patchy.
There are many natural treatments for mange if your veterinarian has determined that the mange is demodectic and treatable at home. For example, you can mix a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution in borax powder and water to scrub all over your best friend’s fur.
While treating your dog for the mites, you can soothe itchy skin by bathing your dog with a special canine shampoo that contains hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone will not only calm the irritated skin but has been shown to promote healing. Also, be aware of the condition called Sarcoptic mange (canine scabies), which is highly contagious between dogs and humans. Excessive itching can lead to scalp irritation and hair loss.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances are nothing new to humans, particularly in women. Female hair loss is common in women experiencing dramatic hormonal changes like menopause or pregnancy. If your dog is experiencing hair loss that is symmetrical, it could be attributed to an imbalance in their hormones. This type of hair loss is caused by excessive levels of steroids, low thyroid levels, increased levels of estrogen and a sudden drop in testosterone.
For a hormonal balance to be detected, your dog will likely need to have a blood test. This test will show any hormone abnormalities or thyroid disorders that can lead to effective diagnosis and treatment. If this is the case, there’s good news! Hormone therapy has been proven to reverse hair loss in dogs with hormonal imbalances.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Stress
Hair loss in humans and dogs doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, stress can make it worse. It’s best to stay calm and seek advice from a family veterinarian for your pet and from a hair loss specialist for yourself, so you can find the most effective treatment, natural or otherwise, for your family’s best friend and yourself. Be sure to keep your dog updated on their monthly flea medication and look into varying diet or shampoo if you notice changes in hair pattern.
As a human, it is important to seek expert advice if you’re experiencing hair loss. At New Look Institute, we know that hair loss can affect anyone. We also know how much our clients love their pets and although we cannot treat your furry friend we have helped thousands of men, women and children with their hair loss for over 15 years! We specialize in non-surgical hair restoration treatments for humans. To schedule a free consultation call us at (408) 279-4247 or to contact us via email click here.
Photo Credit: Josch13 Via Pixabay