19 answers

Dog Loosing Hair?

Hi Moms, I'm hoping that someone out there is a vet or has knowledge of dogs and can help. My 6 year old American Bulldog has recently started loosing his hair in patches. It started off looking like bug bite bumps and under the hair were scales that looked similar to a childs cradle cap. The fur was coming off with the scales when I rubed at them. He is not scratching any of the area which is only on his sides by his ribs. I took him to the vet about two months ago and he had a urinary tract infection that took two rounds of Antibiotics to clear up and three visits. (very costly) then about a week after that cleared up he got two really bad ear infections that required meds. Those cleared up and now this. I love my dog and will do anything for him but the Vet is costing a fortune so I thought I'd seek outside info before dragging him off to the vet where he hates to be looked at and maybe be able to solve it with out paying a weeks worth of income lol:) I have had him on a store brand food for about 4 years now and I have noticed a dulling and drying of his skin but just thought it was because I didn't give him a bath often enough, with three kids it is easy to let the dog slide...When he was a puppy they told me that he had dry skin and I should use oatmeal shampoo on him. I did untill I ran out and thought oh what can it hurt to buy dollar store shampoo for him? I thought I'd give you a little history on him so you have all the info. He is up to date on shots and he has had his heartworm meds for this season and he rarely spends time outside anyway because he is so spoiled and its just too hot for doggies out there:) The only time he is out is when we are out there and he can't go too far because we don't have a fenced in yard so he is chained up to a 20 foot cord so he stays right by us on the porch in the shade. We do have alot of flys on the back porch for some reason, maybe that is it? Well I think I've covered about everything that pertains to him. Don't get me wrong I will take him to the vet if he needs to go but I have changed his food to a healthier type and I did give him a bath yesterday and brushed him and gave him some Benedryl like friends told me, I thought if any of you would know that would help also. His fur is coming back in the first spot that I noticed the scales, maybe I need to give it more time, just don't want it to be too late. Sorry so long, I do think of him as part of the family he is so funny and expressive and I want what is best for him and our budget:)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi everyone. Thanks for all the great responses. The Benedryl works great and I gave him a bath in oatmeal shampoo. He is clearing up now so I think he will be fine. Must be an allergy. Thank you for the good ideas I will put some of them to use also. I think I will make him a run at the back of our property so that I don't feel so bad that he can't go any where. So that is a project for us this fall:) Thanks again.

Featured Answers

If its not itchy, i doubt its a real issue...
If it is itchy or develops an itch it could be an allergic reaction to many things including all the things listed in other posts and also dust... (I know sounds weird, but we had a dog that was allergic to dust)

More Answers

Try a better quality dog food to start with. Some swear by Purina One. Personally I use, and have for years now, Solid Gold Holistic dog food. You won't find it at the local grocer, however. Pet food stores. I wouldn't think Pet Supplies Plus, but try Pet Smart or the other one. After that it's a matter of search and find among the smaller pet stores that offer better choices.

I had a Shar Pei, and didn't bathe her much at all either. But she was a short hair like a bulldog. Oatmeal based shampoo might be the ticket. And maybe some supplements/vitamins to improve coat.

If its not itchy, i doubt its a real issue...
If it is itchy or develops an itch it could be an allergic reaction to many things including all the things listed in other posts and also dust... (I know sounds weird, but we had a dog that was allergic to dust)

Better dog food & a better shampoo (oatmeal or relief) are probably the best for dogs w/ sensitive skin. Make sure you get him as dry as possible after his bath. He could be be staying damp too long & getting a mild bacterial infection causing the scaly, flaky areas ~ then fur loss. I would try these things, if that doesn't do the trick, try adding 3-V caps to his diet - they have essential fatty acids/fish oils - this may also help...if not, see the Vet. I have worked @ Woodland Veterinary Clinic for 21+ years & have a little dog of my own - she gets little skin issues similar to this if I bathe her at home & leave her fur & skin damp for too long - if it's humid out especially!! Good luck!!
~ J. ~

I know you got alot of good responses but I just had to add....I have a black lab with very sensitive skin. For flee control we can only use Frontline. Advantix makes him break out in scabby lumps and loose hair. He is allergic to fleas also. Even while on the Frontline, he got like one flea bite and had sores and hair loss by his tail. He also has a tendancy towards dry skin in general. Never bathe with people soap, even if its for babies. It's just too drying for a dog. Use a dry skin soap made for dogs. Also, you can buy a conditioning spray for him. I bought one before that was called Emu Oil for like $7 at a pet store. You brush the fur up and spray the oil on the skin. I've heard of putting olive oil or an egg in the food too, but haven't tried it. It could be a combo of things. When my dog has had allergic reationg to fleas, or grass, or whatever, it's usually fixed just by conditioning the skin better. Is he itching? You can also buy a shampoo that conditions and controls that dry skin itch - it is more expensive, like $12. Once you control the itch, the skin heals much faster. Hope this helps. Message me if you have any more ques. about his skin. My dog's had almost every skin problem you can imagine, even Mange!!!

There are so many possiblities of what may be wrong and fit the description of what you describe.

First off does the dog lay in the yard? Is he laying on ants? I've had dogs have reactions to ant bites tht sound like this.

Second have you seen any fleas? I had one who was alergic to the flea bites and if she ingested them, huge patches of hair loss, also if they do ingest a flea or mosquito you may want to worm the dog...yet another possible cause for something like this. Do NOT use a flea collar, they are not very good for anything but cutting up and putting in the vacumb. It is a massive amount of chemicals in the neck area that are absorbed into the skin and don't do anything for the other parts of the dog. If you are using a heart worm monthly pill, you may also be covering for fleas and in that case it would also over do the chemicals in the dogs system. Yet another possible explanation.

Third, did you change dog food gradually or just boom one brand then something new for the next meal? Check all your dog food and get your dog off of Soy to start with, yes there are dog foods out there with out, I've been using several for the last 2 years. They are more expensive but they are much better for the dog and most tend to feed less of the more expensive foods. Now here is the other part of it, some dogs are allergic or have reactions to a specific type of meat or just one ingredient in the various bradns. I know several people who have their dogs on duck and sweet potato or venision and sweet potato products because of yearly allergies both related to their diet and those not related to the diet. When you do change the diet make sure it is a gradual change, mix the two foods together and slowly add a little more of the new food to the mix at a time. The other way to do it is fast the dog for 24 hours, it helps the stomach with the schock of change. I sounds bad, but you need to get the other food completly out of the system then change. Also it wouldn't hurt to give the dog some yogurt to help replace the good bactera and funa that is supposed to be in the stomach which would have been killed off by the anti-biotics. When ever my dogs are on them, I make sure they either get a food enzyme tablet or some yogurt to help with digestion and to help the immune system.

Next what are you actually using to wash the dog? Anything by Heartz or Seargents really is not good, they are not tested to be safe the way things are tested for people. Water down what every you are using a bit helps to move it through the coat and to actually rinse out when you are done. Use a mild shampoo, I prefer Pert, it works wonders on coats and also helps to keep down fleas incase this is the problem. (not sold as such, but the dog show community has known this trick for years). I also use Garnier on my daughter's Chinese Crested's coat along with Aussie on my other dogs. I also try during the summer to use and mix the shampoo with something which has an orange oil in it to help keep away the possiblity of Fleas, with the travel we do. Bringing home a flea would be the kiss of death to me...they are horrible to get rid of and deal with.

And finally the most important...YOUR VET. I can recommend mine, he is more interested in the health of the animals then the money. The Pet Doctor on Hayse in Clinton TWp, is wonderful. I have used Dr. Syed for over 14 years and about 8 years ago my parents were having issues with their labs, and their vet visits averaging once a week were costing $200-$600 a visit and nothing was happening. One visit to my vet he treated the problem not the symptom and the cost was under $200.

IF you really do like your vet, talk to him or her and see if you can find a way to resolve this without a lot of trauma to the dog and to your pocket. A good vet will work with you and help to find out what is causing this, an ok vet will continue to treat symptoms and not find the cause.

Start with checking for the insects and then you can check the dog food, but if you change too much at once you can possibly make it worse.

Good luck
If you have any other questions email me privately.


I would take him into the vet. My husbands childhood dog developed something that was "Mange"?

It's quite possible that your dog has allergies. The soap you purchased may also be to strong for him. (I always use my stuff when I wash the cat - I too, have delicate hair/skin.)

Check with your vet as he may have something other than the allergies - ask about giving Benadryl or something similar. You can also give your dog homeopathic remedies if you wanted. They (animals) respond very well to plant essences.

good luck~

This may not work for you but we have a chow chow. She is 8. She has not carried a decent coat since she was just past the puppy stage. I recently changed her food to a brand at the pet store. It is more expensive but not as much as a vet visit. The lady at the pet store said I wouuld see a difference in 30 days.She was right! Most people don't even recognize her. She has a beautiful coat now. The vet, who I had asked about changing foods, could not explain it. I took in the labels of the old and the new. He compared them. They were very similar. He said it must be a different preservative because there were no real differences. I say all that to say that you should try another food. Wysong is the name of the food from Pet Supplies Plus. it was not necessarily that food but how your dog responds to the food. This food comes in various size packages so you don't have to invest a fortune to find out if it works. Another benefit is that my dog doesn't eat as much as she did of the pedigree so it doesn't cost that much more to feed it. Good luck!

Hi K.,

Have you ever heard of Arbonne. They make an awesome shampoo that I use on my pug. Her fur did the same thing as you stated. Her fur has all grown back and is shiny and healthy. I have a couple of girlfriends that swear by it for thier dogs as well. I have some more info I can send you if your intrested.

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