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Help! My Senior Dog is Losing Hair

Large dark grey sr dog with a white face, outdoors

Going bald is not something men look forward to when they are aging. They like the look their hair gives them, and they have more romantic confidence with a full head of hair than without one.

While senior dogs lose their hair as the years go by, they are not as concerned about hair loss as human men are. There are different causes for why your senior dog will lose its hair. Keep reading to find out those causes and other important information.

The Reasons for Senior Dog Hair Loss

Old tan senior dog being walked on a beach

1. Seasonal Shedding – This can happen twice a year and it is a normal process even for senior dogs. The sign that this process is normal is that your dog’s fur will still cover their bodies. There will be no bare spots anywhere fur grows.

2. Hormonal Illnesses – These diseases include Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, or Addison’s disease. Also, female dogs may lose hair after giving birth or nursing their young.

3. Illness – Ringworm, fungal infections, mange mites, and even bacteria can be the source of hair loss. Also, allergies may play a role in this problem.

Senior yellow Labrador retriever laying on a kitchen floor next to its food bowl

4. Lack of Nutrients – The wrong diet, an unbalanced one will deprive your pet of needed nutrients that help their hair to grow. As dogs age, you may need to alter their diet somewhat.

5. Parasites – When you see your dog’s fur coming out in patches, the source can be fleas, ticks, or mites. Excessive scratching by your dog is a sign of a parasite infestation.

6. Aging – Some older dogs develop alopecia or hypotrichosis. This disease can come without help from hormonal diseases and often reflect exhaustion of the hair follicle germinal cells.

Identifying and Treating Senior Dog Hair Loss

White and black Boston Terrier looking down while sitting on a deck floor.

It can be hard to identify when your dog’s shedding is normal and when it is affected by some ailment described above. However, if your pet’s coat is replaced very quickly, that is a sign that all is normal with your pet.

Your groomer can help you identify if the shedding is normal or not. They see your dog more often than the vet does plus they see every part of your dog’s body. They can find something wrong if it is there.

After identifying there is a medical cause for the hair loss, the right treatment for the ailment can be prescribed. Those treatments include:

1. Applying Medication – When your pet has an infection, disease, or some other medical problem that causes hair loss, giving them medication can solve the illness and the hair loss at the same time.

Chihuahua mix being scrubbed in the tub

2. Use Medicated Shampoos – This is a simple and easy to use a product that you can do at home. The type of medicated shampoo you use will depend on the condition of your dog’s skin. If it is dry, then a moisturizing one will do. An anti-shedding shampoo may be all you will need to solve the problem.

3. Proper Diet – Change your dog’s diet to a healthier one that provides all the nutrition your pet needs to stay healthy. You do want that diet to be protein rich.

4. Grooming Helps – That is if the shedding issue is through normal means and not through disease, etc. You will want to use a shampoo and a conditioner to help get rid of the trapped hair that has not fallen off your pet yet.

5. Use Supplements – Talk to your vet first to see which supplement you should add to your dog’s diet. There are some good fish oil options that help their fur quality but do nothing to speed up the replacement fur growing process.

The key to all these treatments for hair loss is to talk to your vet first. They will know what the best course of action is to take that will help your dog the most. Just make sure to go to a reputable vet when you have concerns.

Some Final Words

Old Boxer dog standing on planked deck flooring.

There are lots of legitimate reasons why your dog may be losing its hair. Shedding is one of those reasons and it is quite normal to see take place once or twice each year. Some sources are easier and cheaper to treat than others.

That is where your vet comes in. They can put you on the right path to help your senior dog return to normal.

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