Why is my dog losing hair?

Dogs can lose hair for a number of different reasons. Some of the more common are:

1) Mange. This is a skin condition caused by mites, and there are a couple of different kinds. It can result in hair loss in dogs because the dog will often bite at the itching areas repeatedly, wearing away the hair. Also, some of the mites actually infest the base of the hairs and eat the hair follicle, causing them to fall out.

   

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2) Skin infections. Sometimes bacteria or a fungus can infect the dog's skin, and this can result in the dog having its fur come out near the infection.

3) Fleas. Fleas can cause hair loss in two ways: first, because of the constant scratching and biting of the hair. Second, there is an allergic condition caused by fleas called dermatitis. This results in a general skin condition that can cause hair loss as well.

4) Allergies. Sometimes allergies result in skin problems that include hair loss. A dog can be allergic to a wide range of different things, including basically anything a person could be allergic to.

5) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Dogs. Some breeds are predisposed to get this, others aren't. Yes, dogs and other pets can get OCD, and several other psychological problems like depression. Any of these can cause hair loss because many dogs will bite at themselves or repeatedly chew at their fur. For example, Dobermans are genetically prone to get it and usually suck on their own skin over and over. OCD in dogs is mainly a response to stress.

6) Pregnancy. Sounds weird, but it's true - some female dogs lose hair around their coat when they're pregnant.

7) Ringworm in dogs. This is basically a fungus, and it will cause the dog to lose fur around where the infection is.

If none of these sound like it, there is a very comprehensive list of every condition that can cause baldness or hair issues in dogs here. It's kind of technically-oriented, but if you just can't figure it out it's where to go. 

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