All dog lovers know that taking good care of your best friend is a labor of love. You thoroughly enjoy the time you spend going on walks, making sure they eat properly, and choosing the perfect toys and treats.
Regular grooming, bathing, and a good diet shows in a healthy coat, so when there’s hair loss it’s a real concern. You may notice that your pooch is shedding more than usual or that they can’t stop scratching at a patch of dry skin. Or, it could be that there seems to be more hair left behind in the tub after bath time.
Don’t fret. Hair loss is not an uncommon problem, and there are a number of actions that you can take to address the problem, support healthy hair follicles, and restore normal hair growth. This includes using products you probably already have in your kitchen pantry that can be effective home remedies.
Causes and Symptoms of Dog Hair Loss
To begin, let’s take a look at why Snoopy or Stella might be suffering from hair loss. Doing a little detective work is always the first step in sorting out any health issue, including hair loss in dogs. Here are some of the potential causes and symptoms.
- Disease – such as ringworm, mange, or a bacterial infection like pyoderma, an endocrine disorder like cushing’s disease or an immune system problem
- Fleas and parasites – with serious skin irritation in the affected area
- Stress – often brought on by changes in lifestyle or social environment
- Allergies – reactions to something in the environment or to a particular dog food
- Medications – certain ones may have this side effect
- Alopecia – it may be inherited or a seasonal characteristic of particular breeds
- Overgrooming – behavior that could be due to your doggo’s stress or pain
- Itchy skin − skin irritation with excessive scratching
- Dry skin – possibly with scaly patches
- Skin inflammation – may include hot spots
- Discolored patches of skin – in hair loss area
- Dandruff – more than is usual
- Dry or brittle coat – might also look dull
- Increased shedding – dog’s hair loss noticeable in their bed and elsewhere
- Overgrooming – can be a symptom as well as a cause
Hair Loss Home Remedies
Provided your furry friend doesn’t seem to be exhibiting any more serious symptoms, try out a few home remedies to see if they can assist. You’ll likely want to experiment with a number of home cures, so take notes about what you used and whether it seemed to have an impact on Harry’s hair loss. If you do end up having to consult your vet, your records will come in handy.
Just like their pet parents, there are a variety of items your favorite pooch might be allergic to. For example, it could be a new shampoo you’ve purchased or another pet care product that’s the concern. Alternatively, your fur baby’s hair loss might be caused by an allergy to dust mites or flea bites. Check for fleas, clear away dust bunnies, and get rid of any products that you think might be the culprit.
If you think a food allergy might be at the root of the problem, it’s a simple matter of changing their diet for a period of time to find out if it alleviates the hair loss. Whip them up a little boiled chicken, rice, and cooked vegetables. This is a safe short-term diet for a few days, and what self-respecting canine is not going to trade their dog food for yummy people food?
If hair growth seems to return, it’s most likely that Rover has an allergy to something. See if you can pinpoint the allergen by thinking about when you bought that new bag of dog food or shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar
There are many ways to use apple cider vinegar to treat your dog’s hair loss symptoms. To begin with, adding a few drops of it to their food can really help boost their immune system and this is beneficial no matter what the cause of their hair loss.
The anti-fungal and antibacterial properties apple cider vinegar can alleviate dry and itchy skin. Use it as a topical by mixing equal parts of water and vinegar and applying it directly to the areas of skin irritation and let it dry. You can also bathe your doggo with undiluted apple cider vinegar by pouring some directly on their coat and then rinsing it off with water.
Lemon juice, like apple cider vinegar, is a natural antibacterial agent. Basically, you use it on your dog’s hair loss problem the same way as you would apple cider vinegar – in other words, as a spot treatment directly on the affected areas or as a rinse.
Simply make an infusion by adding a slice of lemon to about four cups of warm water and let it sit for five hours. Before you use it, remember to strain the lemon pulp or you’ll have quite a time brushing this out of Charlie’s coat afterwards.
Olive oil is certainly going to be a little messier to use than apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, but being a pet parent is sometimes a messy affair. If you’ve used it in your personal care routine, you may know that olive oil contains good omega 3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory characteristics.
The added benefit of using olive oil is that it will moisturize dry skin as it soothes the itchiness. In addition, it can assist to kill any parasites that might be the reason for your best friend’s hair loss.
Take a small amount of oil in your palm and gently give your fur baby a massage. Work it well into the skin and apply as much as you need. Bella or Bailey will thank you for such a relaxing treatment.
If you don’t have olive oil in the kitchen, you may have coconut oil. Like olive oil, this oil is made up of omega-3 fatty acids that promote a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Coconut oil also supports skin health and helps maintain the normal moisture content of the skin.
It can also soothe skin-related issues associated with occasional or seasonal allergies. Apply the oil to your dog’s coat in the same way as you would with olive oil, and gently rub it on the affected areas of irritated skin.
If you use essential oils for your own health and wellbeing, you’ll already be familiar with most of their healing properties. Many are valuable as anti-inflammatory or anti-infectious agents, and a few have the pain-relieving attributes of an analgesic. When it comes to using essential oils as home remedies for dog hair loss, make sure that you know how to use them properly and safely.
Here are several essential oils to consider and how they can assist as home remedies. All are safe to apply directly to your pet’s skin, while some can also be taken orally. Putting a few drops in an essential oil diffuser is another good way to benefit from many of them.
- Lavender – an analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine antiseptic that can be applied topically or diffused through the air
- Chamomile – an anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and anti-infectious agent for topical or oral use
- Elemi – use this anti-infectious antiseptic orally, topically, or in a diffuser
- Myrrh – an anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, and antiseptic astringent for topical application
- Peppermint −this anti-inflammatory antiseptic analgesic is taken orally or applied topically
- Helichrysum – an anti-inflammatory analgesic for topical relief of itchy and inflamed skin
- Marjoram – has antibacterial properties for application on irritated skin
- Niaouli – this antibacterial antihistamine can be used topically
Plus, here are three that can assist by supporting your dog’s immune system. Oregano, savory, and clove can be used as a topical, given to your pooch orally or put in a diffuser.
Did you know that you have the choice of using various over the counter medications as home remedies for dog hair loss? There’s a selection of medicines that you may have used yourself that are quite appropriate to use with your pet. However, be sure to read the label carefully and ask about any added ingredients that you’re not sure of.
For instance, antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin can relieve allergy symptoms and reduce your dog’s stress. Hydrogen peroxide can be applied topically to keep inflamed skin clean. Additionally, antibiotic ointments like Neosporin and anti-fungal creams, sprays, and gels can be helpful.
Other Things to Consider
There are several other therapies you can try. An oatmeal bath will soothe your doggo’s skin while you gently wash the tender parts. Aloe Vera oil applied topically will alleviate itching and discourage scratching. Finally, take advantage of almond oil as a moisturizer and for its hair-strengthening nutrients.
When to Consult Your Vet
Deciding if and when to contact your vet for advice is never easy. You know that, as an anxious pet parent, you’ll be closely monitoring the amount of pet hair left behind on the sofa and any change in Buddy’s scratching behavior. And, when you try out a few of these home remedies, you’ll be checking constantly to see if they’re working.
Take heart and go easy on yourself. See what happens after two or three days of using hair loss home remedies and don’t rush to call in the vet. Having said that, if a quick phone consultation would put your mind at ease, go for it.
Dog Hair Loss: Our Final Thoughts
As with any change in your pet’s health, there’s much that you can do to sort things out at home before you schedule a vet appointment. Most hair loss issues are not that serious, and with a little trial and error you might be able to solve the problem. In the meantime, your favorite canine knows that you’re doing all that you can to get them feeling better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can old age cause hair loss in dogs?
The short answer is yes. This is because as your pooch ages their hormone levels drop and any hormonal change can result in hair loss.
Can I stop hair loss for dogs naturally?
There are a number of natural home remedies for dog hair loss and many of these products you may already have in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet. As well as substances with analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and/or antiseptic properties, there are hair loss home remedies that will help boost your pet’s immune system.
Can a dog collar cause hair loss?
Using a collar that’s not a good fit and is too tight could definitely cause hair loss in dogs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the fit on a new collar by ensuring that you can slide two fingers under it after it has been fastened around Fido’s neck.