How to treat hair loss in dogs – Dogster

Hair loss, commonly known as alopecia, is a common condition in dogs. While all dogs can be at risk of developing alopecia areata to varying degrees, there are contributing factors that may predispose your dog to the condition. Understanding the top reasons your dog may be losing hair, as well as the steps to take to make a diagnosis, plays a huge role in treating your dog’s hair loss.

5 common causes of hair loss in dogs and how to treat them

thyroid disease

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is an extremely common condition in dogs. Many times, undiagnosed hypothyroidism causes hair loss or thinning in dogs. Hair loss due to hypothyroidism is usually located on the body or tail of the dog. Your veterinarian will do blood tests to rule out or confirm thyroid disease in your dog, and it is usually very well controlled with medication and routine thyroid blood tests.


Both food and environmental allergies are common conditions that accompany hair loss. These dogs often lose patches of fur or struggle with hot spots and saliva staining, due to chronic itching and scratching. The best approach to diagnosing and treating your dog with allergies is to establish a relationship with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. Use American College of Veterinary Dermatology website to look for a local dermatologist.


Some dogs may experience hair loss from over-grooming. While this is more common in cats, dogs who are experiencing fear, stress, or anxiety may over-groom certain areas of their bodies. Take this as a sign of anxiety, such as nail biting or hair twisting. Root behavior management is key to managing this type of hair loss. Management and treatment may include medication and nutraceuticals, mental and physical enhancement, as well as identifying and correcting your dog’s environmental stressors.

Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease in dogs occurs when the adrenal glands produce an excess of cortisol. Among the myriad of other recognizable symptoms, one of the most common signs of Cushing’s disease in dogs is hair loss. Although the diagnosis can be a bit complicated, veterinarians often use a combination of ultrasound and blood tests to identify Cushing’s disease in your dog. Medications, Chinese herbs, and dietary changes can all be used to treat this disease.

hair loss X

Alopecia X” is the name given to the hereditary hair loss most commonly seen in Nordic breeds such as Pomeranians, American Eskimos and Chow Chows. Hair loss X often causes baldness along the entire body and is only cosmetically relevant. A skin biopsy is often needed to diagnose this condition. According to Dr. Angie Krause, holistic veterinarian at Boulder Holistic VeterinarianHair loss X can be successfully managed using the Chinese herb, Bu Gan Tang.

Understanding the root cause of your dog’s hair loss will be super important to treating it! Most conditions associated with hair loss are treatable with both traditional and holistic methods. Keep open communication with your veterinarian and expand your dog’s medical team as you feel the need. You are the biggest medical advocate for your dog!


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