My Dog Keeps Losing Hair, Should I Call the Vet?
Is your dog dealing with hair loss? Is this a cause for concern? When should you call the vet if your dog is losing their hair?
If you’re a pet owner and you’ve got a dog who is losing hair, it’s important to pay attention to this somewhat concerning symptom. In many cases, the underlying problem contributing to this hair loss can be resolved relatively easily. However, in certain instances, your pet may need long-term health care to deal with the cause of the hair loss. Read through the article below to find out more about when to call the vet and when to wait and see.
When to Call the Vet for Dog Hair Loss
If your dog is showing any of the signs below it is important to call your veterinarian to let them know.
If Your Dog Has Any Other Concerning Symptoms
Other concerning symptoms you may see along with hair loss include excessive itchiness, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, pain, or abscesses of the skin. Any of these issues may tell you there’s something more serious going on with your pet that needs to be treated by a vet as soon as possible.
If Your Dog is Scratching so Much that the Skin Breaks
If your dog’s scratching has reached a point that they are not only losing hair but also breaking the skin when scratching, this is a sign that they need some medical assistance. Take your pet to the vet to have the skin issue treated.
If Your Dog has a Visible Skin Rash
A visible rash underneath the areas of hair loss typically indicates that your dog has a fungal infection. However, it can also be related to bacterial or viral infections in some instances. If you see a rash, you should call the vet, as this is also a sign that your dog will need some medical assistance to recover fully.
If Your Dog’s Hair Loss Does Not Resolve After a While
If you wait a week or so and your dog’s hair loss does not resolve, or if your pet’s hair loss worsens while you’re waiting, then you should take them to the veterinarian. This way, you can rule out any potentially hazardous issues for your pet.
When to Wait to Call the Vet for a Dog’s Hair Loss
It is ok to wait to call the vet if your dog is showing any of these signs of losing hair.
If the Hair Loss Resolves Itself
Any hair loss that resolves itself in a week or so typically does not need to be seen or treated by a vet. This type of hair loss could be associated with a wide range of short-term problems, but it is often nothing to worry about, especially if your pet also doesn’t show other concerning symptoms.
If the Hair Loss Worsens When It’s Hot Outside
Any hair loss that gets worse when it’s hot outside is almost always going to be related to normal shedding. Most dog breeds shed, although there are a few breeds—like poodles—that are shed-free. If your dog has the type of coat that sheds and the weather has recently turned hot, you can wait and see if the hair loss resolves itself after things cool down a little bit once again.
If the Hair Loss Occurs After Starting a New Medication
Hair loss is an unfortunate side effect of many medications for dogs. If your dog’s hair loss has recently started after they began taking a new medication, you may be able to wait and see if the problem corrects itself with time. If your dog’s hair loss is severe with a new medication, however, you might want to talk to your vet about trying something different for your pet.
If the Hair Loss Occurs After a Major Household Change
Hair loss may sometimes be associated with fear, anxiety, and change in a dog’s life. If you have recently moved to a new home, gotten a new pet, or brought home a new baby, for example, your dog may have short-term hair loss as they work on adjusting to these changes.
If the Hair Loss Occurs with Food Allergy
Food allergy causes patchy hair loss along with excessive itching and scratching of the skin. If you change your dog’s food blend and the itching and hair loss stop, then you don’t have to worry about calling the vet, as the problem is related to food allergy and can be easily managed.
Based on this information, you should have a better idea of when you need to call your vet for hair loss issues in your dog. You can use this guide to determine when to speak to your vet, but keep in mind that you should always reach out to your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health.
Although hair loss is not typically a reason to go to the emergency vet, you should follow up with your regular vet as soon as you can in any situation where the hair loss does not resolve on its own.
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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