When a pet owner notices that their dog is beginning to lose hair, it can be very scary. While scratching is a common indicator of parasites, many dog owners do not realize that hair loss is another one of the signs of the problem. Not only do parasites carry diseases, but they irritate the skin and are one of the most common causes of hair loss among dogs.
Why Parasites Cause Dog Hair Loss
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs that experience a problem with external parasites are likely to experience hair loss. Certain parasites bite the dog’s skin which causes itching. Other parasites cause skin conditions called mange and scabies, both of which lead to severe itching. Parasites cause hair loss because the dog continuously scratches to relief the itch.
Types of Parasites That Cause Hair Loss
Fleas burrow in the dog’s hair, though they prefer the ears and rump. Lice are also likely to be found on any area of the dog’s body which is covered in hair. When mites burrow into the dog’s skin, they can cause scabies, which causes itching and hair loss. Mites can also lead to mange, a skin condition which leads to hair loss on the dog’s forepaws, eyes, muzzle and forehead area. Ear mites are a type of mite which are found in and around the ears.
Preventing Dog Hair Loss Due to Parasites
Hair loss caused by parasites can be prevented by treating the problem early on. It is ideal to regularly check the dog’s fur for signs of parasites. Look for black spots in the dog’s fur, a red rash or other skin irritation like crusting. Pay close attention to the ears and rump. There are many parasite prevention products on the market which can help ensure that an infestation problem does not occur. They come in the form of topical drops, sprays, collars and tablets.
Treat Parasites to Prevent Further Dog Hair Loss
Dog hair loss can be treated by getting rid of the parasite infestation. It is best to follow recommendations for treatment which are given by a veterinarian. A product will need to be used to get rid of the parasites. If the dog has mange, medication should be used to soothe the skin. The parasites in the dog’s environment also need to be killed. A flea bomb or insecticide for mites can be used. Vacuuming is also important.
Keep in mind that parasites are not the only cause of hair loss among dogs. According to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, endocrine diseases like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Syndrome, and pattern baldness are a few of the other potential causes of hair loss among dogs. If the dog’s hair loss does not seem to be associated with scratching, it is important to look into other factors which may be causing the problem.
American Kennel Club, “Parasites.”
American Veterinary Medical Association, “External Parasites.”
University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, “What conditions are associated with hair cycle abnormalities?”