Dog Loosing Hair?

Updated on August 03, 2008
K.W. asks from Wyandotte, MI
19 answers

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:)

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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



answers from Detroit on

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



answers from Detroit on


Hi, well I put myself through college as an Officer Control agent in Detroit with the ASPCA.

I can tell you a couple of things that may help you out.

First, get a run for your dog - he needs some space to play, if you cannot afford to fence off an area of at least 50x50, then get a run that you can place from your deck to a tree, giving him the freedom of running in the yard - I would never suggest a chain.

Second, sounds like he needs some antibiotics. Skin infections are very serious and can lead to mange. Fly bites can cause serious dermititis infections. I am not sure where you live, but try a vet like Fowlerville Vet in Fowlerville Michigan, where they do everything in house at a fraction of regular vet costs. Antibiotics are very inexpensive - you can even order them online with Foster and Smith - under fish meds Amoxicillin is available at about 19 dollars for 250 ml, I would use 1000 to start and then two 500 per day for 10 days.

Third - rub him with some olive oil for his dry skin - it is very inexpensive and will help quite a bit - try to do it at least once a week.

I understand you have a family, I also have three children under 3 and have 4 large dogs. Please remember that he depends on you for care, just as a member of your family.

I hope this helps you.




answers from Detroit on

Try a different type of dog food. It might be more expensive, but think of the long run (vet bills). Also, when my German Shepherd went through this, we bathed her baby shampoo or an oatmeal bath. Aveeno has one (dilute the little package in water and just let your dog soak... if he'll stay still).



answers from Detroit on

I have am Am Bulldog too. My dogs skin is SUPER sensitive, I put sunblock on him because he burns. I also use oatmeal shampoo, I dont think Id use human shampoo, dogs actually NEED some of the essential oils so pick some up at Meijer, its not pricey. I have TWO large dogs so I can understand trying all you can before taking him to the vet. I would try ( if you have not already) giving him Nurto Max dog food, and giving him a omega 3 suplement, the combo of these two things did wonders for our dogs coats. But you say there are scaley patches, where the fur is gone? I found this on line, I know my Am Bulldog has TERRIBLE allergies and he is on benedryl everyday- search around, call your vets if all else fails!!

Dogs can lose hair for a number of different reasons. Some of the more common are:

1) Mange. This is a skin condition caused by mites, and there are a couple of different kinds. It can result in hair loss in dogs because the dog will often bite at the itching areas repeatedly, wearing away the hair. Also, some of the mites actually infest the base of the hairs and eat the hair follicle, causing them to fall out.

2) Skin infections. Sometimes bacteria or a fungus can infect the dog's skin, and this can result in the dog having its fur come out near the infection.

3) Fleas. Fleas can cause hair loss in two ways: first, because of the constant scratching and biting of the hair. Second, there is an allergic condition caused by fleas called dermatitis. This results in a general skin condition that can cause hair loss as well.

4) Allergies. Sometimes allergies result in skin problems that include hair loss. A dog can be allergic to a wide range of different things, including basically anything a person could be allergic to.

5) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Dogs. Some breeds are predisposed to get this, others aren't. Yes, dogs and other pets can get OCD, and several other psychological problems like depression. Any of these can cause hair loss because many dogs will bite at themselves or repeatedly chew at their fur. For example, Dobermans are genetically prone to get it and usually suck on their own skin over and over. OCD in dogs is mainly a response to stress.

6) Pregnancy. Sounds weird, but it's true - some female dogs lose hair around their coat when they're pregnant.

7) Ringworm in dogs. This is basically a fungus, and it will cause the dog to lose fur around where the infection is



answers from Detroit on

I had this problem with one of my dogs, found out it was food allergies and allergies to fleas on top of already dry skin. He lost hair over half his body, then finally I tried something my mom used on her dogs. It's called linatone, and can be found at pet suppplies plus, and replaces essential oils and fats that aren't always found in dog food. Usually, the dogs love the taste, and will drink it on their own, but you can also mix it with their food, just a teaspoon or two, it's measured by body weight. My dog got his full coat back and has not lost any hair since giving this to him daily for about a year or so. I also try to look for a food that has the additives for skin care in them, I still have to be careful with what I give him, but he's now 16, and it's been about 5 years since any hair loss, which we were at one time battling yearly. Another advantage to linatone, is it helps cut down on the amount dogs shed, as it makes their skin so much healthier.



answers from Lansing on

We had a dog with the same thing and it turned out that he had a skin allergy. We never did find out what it was, but the doctor gave us a medication like Benadryl and it worked. It never returned after it went away. I wish I could remember the name of the medication, but it was 15 years ago.



answers from Detroit on

HI K. ~ Question, has your vet taken any blood samples and checked for a thyroid disorder? Our golden retriever started exhibiting the same symptoms your dog has about 3 years ago. They took blood to check to see if his thyroid was functioning correctly. He turned out to be hypothyroid and now takes 2 pills daily. As soon as he started his meds, his hair grew back, his skin was no longer itchy and his ears have been much better.

I feel your pain on the costly vet bills! In our situation, they failed to inform us of our dog's condition for 2 years (big LONG story) and we kept bringing him back for problems with his hair and ears and paying out the nose when all he needed was a simple pill (cost about $14 per month!) So, have them check his blood, hopefully that is the problem since it is a real easy fix :)

Good luck ~ E.



answers from Kalamazoo on

Hi K., i know how you are feeling..i am a animal lover also. I have two rescue dogs, both with skin problems. Vets are outrageous in their prices, and makes me feel so guilty. They told me my frankie and johnnie have allergies , possibly to fleas and or food. I did alot of research on pet food., and put my dogs back on life abundance, thru healthypetnet,com. I have just become a distributor, to help save some money.when you visit the site, it will explain what is in store bought food, they are even allowed to use dead and diseased animals..makes me upset just telling you about it. Yes the food costs more a 20# bag cost me 29.36 on auto-ship, then look at the vet prices.. Any ?? Let me know. Hope this is helpful to you...god bless



answers from Detroit on

Hi K.
I used to have an English Bulldog who would lose her hair on her sides in the summer, it would come off in spots with dry skin underneath. Our vet told us it was "seasonal flank alopecea" (al-o-pee-sha). He said there was nothing he could do for it, but we used oatmeal shampoo to keep the skin less dry. It didn't bother her at all though. When the weather started to cool down it would mostly grow back in again. It sounds like he may have that. I would say, if he's not scratching or licking it, and if the skin is in tact, get some oatmeal shampoo and get the better dog food, some foods actually state they are good for a healthy coat. I know all about costly vet bills and I think you're safe to wait it out unless the condition of the skin gets worse, like cracking or bleeding, or it starts to bother him.
Good luck with him.



answers from Detroit on

Hi K.

I too have an American Bulldog(one of the kids) that has skin issues...One thing that did seem to help was the change of food. (A salmon based food Purina ONE® Sensitive Systems. You can get it at dog food stores, and also at Target. It is a bit more expensive, but a dog will need less when they have a higher quality food. Be careful when you do bathe him, stay away from perfumed shampoos that will irriate the skin... I have also heard pouring a tiny bit of olive oil on his food everyday helps too.. PS remember they are tough solid dogs, so just because they arent itching doesnt mean it isn't bothering them!! Good Luck!



answers from Grand Rapids on

i suggest giving your dog a raw egg on the food along with either veggie oil or olive oil. you can also put a bit of baby oil on the skin just be sure that he/she doesn't lick it. they may be too stressed out and may need quiet time (depending on how your house hold is) also we had a dog that ended up being allergic to grass and leaves. if you are already feeding a better dog food good if not look for one that has a 25-30% fat content this will help with the coat. if itching give a benedryl or two depending on the weight. you can call the vet to get the proper dosage.if the scaley baldness doesn't seem to change in a few weeks you may need to get them checked at the vet. a simple skin scrape and blood test. although expensive it is worth it. one thing to look out for is if positive for mange be sure to get meds for your cats also it is contagious between pets. good luck.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi K.,
I have a friend with the same problem, she has a border collie mixed that she adopted from the Humane Society. It is an allergy. She puts oatmeal in pair of pantyhose and soaks them in the tub. She found a natural creme for dogs, I wish I could remember what it is called. Then to coat the fur or skin she used bag balm. I have used this many times on my pets. It keeps it from getting irritated and they don't scratch as much. Allowing for it to heal uncovered. Plus it lasts for years. I have had my can for probably four years now and am not even a quarter of away through it. It comes in a green can and I am pretty sure you can get it a Meijer, if not I know the pharmacies carry it.
You have had him checked for mange also right??? Another thing I remember is that when I was young I gave my dog a bath with human shampoo, that really irritated his skin, now I go with more natural shampoos. It's kind of pricey, but at least you don't have to worry about dangerous chemicals.



answers from Detroit on

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.



answers from Jackson on

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!



answers from Detroit on

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~



answers from Detroit on

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.



answers from Kalamazoo on

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!!!



answers from Grand Rapids on

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. ~



answers from Detroit on

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.

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