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Why Is My Dog Losing Hair on Their Belly? 12 Reasons

Hanh Duong

By Hanh Duong

veterinarian carrying a dog and touching its belly

As a pet owner, you know the struggle of keeping your furry friend looking and feeling  healthy. But what do you do when they start losing their fur? Sometimes it is a completely normal process, but other times it can be hard to tell what the reason is, especially if they are losing a lot!  If your pup has bald spots that don’t seem related to the warmer time of year, then there might be underlying health concerns to consider.

Have you ever wondered why some dogs have bald patches on their belly? With some knowledge and effort, you can help your pup maintain

a beautiful and healthy coat. So, let’s dive into the world of dog hair loss and learn how to keep your four-legged buddy looking and feeling great!

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The 12 Reasons Why a Dog Can Loose Hair On Their Belly

1. Allergies

If you own a dog with allergies, you are aware of how upsetting it can be to see your pet struggle with itchy skin. Allergies are one of the most common issues among dogs. Your dog can be allergic to anything from pollen to dust mites or even their food. But the good news is that there are ways to help them feel better. The first step is figuring out exactly what’s causing their allergies.

If your dog suffers from allergies, you might notice them itching, biting their skin, or losing hair. Most commonly, they will lose hair on their belly and around their eyes and ears. This can be due to environmental factors or food allergies. When your dog is diagnosed with allergies and treated correctly, their hair will grow back, and the itching will stop. Don’t hesitate to consult with your vet for the best treatment options.

close up belly of a dog full of rashes
Image Credit: POODPHOTO, Shutterstock

2.  Seasonal Shedding

It’s not uncommon for dog owners to confuse seasonal shedding with serious hair loss. Sometimes, it’s just a natural shedding process where old or damaged hair falls out. And if you live in a moderate climate, you can even reduce your dog’s shedding during the seasonal transition. However, if you feel like your pup is shedding excessively, don’t fret!

A good brushing routine can work wonders in removing and controlling excess hair. So, keep your pup looking sharp and healthy with extra grooming time!


3. Infections

Sometimes even the healthiest pups can get an infection that causes them discomfort. Dogs’ skin naturally carries bacteria and yeast, but when these microorganisms grow out of control, they can cause a range of symptoms that can make your pup feel miserable. Think redness, hair loss, hives, pustules, and scabs. Fungal infections like ringworm can also cause your dog to lose their hair.

If you spot any of these signs, don’t hesitate to take your four-legged buddy to the vet for immediate care.


4. Genetic Predisposition

Some dog breeds are more likely to experience hair loss than others. Breeds like the Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Doberman Pinscher, Chihuahua, and Whippet can develop bald spots on their outer ears, chest, belly, back, or thighs. And not many people know that dogs with blue/gray coats are more prone to hair loss and allergy issues.


5. Hot Spots

Have you noticed your dog scratching, chewing, or licking on specific areas of their skin? Pyotraumatic dermatitis, commonly known as hot spots, could be the culprit. These pesky hot spots can damage your dog’s hair follicles, leading to hair loss. And it worsens—scratching and licking can exacerbate the inflammation and even cause secondary infections.

Don’t wait for the hot spot to go away on its own because it won’t. Your furry friend needs proper care from a vet to help them heal and get their luscious coat back.

close up hotspot on dog's belly
Image Credit: Firn, Shutterstock

6. Pregnancy

If you’re an experienced dog parent, you might notice your furry friend shedding more hair than usual during pregnancy and nursing. Hormonal changes can cause hair loss, but once they return to their normal state, their coat will be back to its full glory.


7. Hypothyroidism

HYpothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland, and is a relatively common hormonal condition in dogs. Low levels of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, result in lethargy, weight gain, and hair loss. The good news is that this is a completely treatable condition, but does require blood tests and life long medication.


8. Mange

Another reason could be a sign of mange, a condition caused by Demodex or Sarcoptes mites. Demodex: Dogs have these little critters living on their skin without any issues. However, when a dog’s immune system is weakened due to stress or an autoimmune disorder, the mites can multiply and cause skin lesions and hair loss. Demodex doesn’t tend to be itchy.

Sarcoptes: Also known as scabies, these pesky mites infect dog’s skin and make them super itchy. They are most common in areas with lots of wildlife to play host to these pests.  If you suspect your pup might have mange, don’t panic! With proper medication, this condition is totally treatable, but be aware, we can also become infected with sarcoptic mange!


9. Cushing’s Disease

Is your dog experiencing hair loss, recurrent skin infections, darkening of the skin, increased thirst and urination, or a pot-belly appearance? These symptoms could be a sign of Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, caused by excessive cortisol hormone levels in dogs. This condition is more common in middle-aged to senior canines. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you notice any of these symptoms, take your companion to the vet for a proper diagnosis.

veterinarian carrying a dog and touching its belly
Image Credit: Alice Rodnova, Shutterstock

10. Alopecia X

This mysterious condition can be caused by a number of factors, most commonly melatonin issues or sex hormone imbalances. Alopecia X is more of a descriptive term for a pattern of hair loss rather than a specific diagnosis, and is a term only used when all other causes of hair loss have been excluded. It tends to be bilateral, affecting the flank, abdomen and back. It usually resolves on its own, but may return annually. Boosting your dog’s natural fatty acids, vitamin and minerals can help control this condition, so talk to your vet.


11. Nutritional Deficiencies

There are certain nutrients that are needed for the growth and maintenance of healthy skin and coat, and if your dog is lacking in these, their coat will suffer. Nutrient deficiencies will have affects all around the body, so what we see on the outside can be an indication of poor condition elsewhere, so addressing these deficiencies is vital.

The following nutrients are essential for healthy skin and coat, and most can be found in a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet. However, if you think your dog might not be getting everything they need for a shiny coat, there are a number of supplements you can add to their diet; just ask your vet.

  • Protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Zin
  • Copper
  • B Vitamins
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Biotin

12. Underlying Medical Conditions

Is your lovely pooch losing hair all over the place? Well, it might not be just a skin-deep issue. The skin is the largest organ in your dog’s body and needs plenty of nutrients to stay healthy. Hair loss could be a sign of an underlying medical illness. If you suspect an internal problem, your vet may recommend laboratory testing and possibly X-rays or ultrasound imaging to determine the cause.

But it’s not always just a medical issue; excessive shedding can also be caused by poor nutrition, stress, lactation, pregnancy, or even just the environment they are in.

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What to Do if Your Dog Is Losing Hair

Hair loss in dogs is quite common but addressing the issue early on is essential to prevent it from worsening.

Firstly, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet if your dog is suffering from hair loss. They can help you identify the cause and suggest the best course of action for treatment. It’s also crucial to investigate other possible reasons. Check your home for fleas, rule out mange, and ensure that your furry friend is living in a calm environment.

Remember, if your dog has a bald spot accompanied by itching, bad odor, irritated or infected skin, changes in behavior, or any skin lesions in other pets or people in the household, seek vet attention immediately.

It’s essential to stick to the veterinarian’s instructions and be vigilant in monitoring their skin and hair regrowth. Follow-up appointments may be necessary to ensure the problem is resolved and any infection is cleared. And if you notice any changes or have any concerns, don’t hesitate to communicate them with your vet. Together, you can help your pet feel better and look great!

vet examining a dog in the clinic
Image Credit: ARVD73, Shutterstock

Tips for Daily Care of Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

Taking care of your furry friend’s skin and coat is crucial for their overall health and happiness. If you want to see your dog’s tail wag with joy, follow these simple tips:

  • Treat your pup to a luxurious moisturizing bath using a high-quality shampoo that will leave their coat feeling soft and shiny. However, don’t overdo it; bathing them too often may cause skin irritation and dryness.
  • Give your dog a good brushing regularly and be sure to inspect them for pesky parasites after outdoor activities like going to the dog park, hiking, or grooming.
  • Boost your dog’s immune system and keep their skin healthy by including a top-notch omega-3 fatty acid supplement in their diet.
  • Prevent flea infestations by keeping them and other pets on a reliable flea preventive year-round.

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Conclusion

As a dog owner, it’s natural to feel concerned when you notice your furry friend’s hair loss. It’s not just about the change in their appearance, but it could also be a sign of a serious underlying health issue. So, if you observe your dog shedding more than usual or notice the thinning of their coat, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet for guidance and support.

The good news is that you’re not alone; there are ways to manage dog hair loss with timely medical intervention.


Featured Image Credit: Alice Rodnova, Shutterstock

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