Sometimes it’s normal for your dog to shed a little or a lot. Sometimes you can tell the season by the tufts of hair falling out of your cat’s fur. It’s also normal for a pregnant or nursing dog to lose a good bit of hair. Yet there are times when hair loss isn’t normal and should be a cause for concern.

One indication of a healthy cat or dog is a glossy, thick coat. When a pet’s hair looks dull or is falling out, there’s something internally amiss. Here are a few reasons you pet may be losing hair:

1. Itchy and his fleas. Are you ready to nickname your dog Itchy or Scratchy? A single bite can cause a cat or dog to have an allergic reaction resulting in itchiness, redness and eventual hair loss. The first sign is incessant scratching, and a favorite spot for fleas tends to be around your pet’s rear end. Fleas may be difficult to spot, but it’s fairly easy to recognize where they’ve been. Besides getting rid of the source of your dog’s misery, you also need to apply topical medicines to sooth the itching. Let us help you find the best remedy.
2. Fluffy’s allergies and you. A dog’s allergies to pollen, grass, a type of food, your newest detergent, etc. will manifest themselves as skin problems. A cat’s reaction to allergens may be either a skin problem or a respiratory problem. Finding the exact cause of an allergic reaction may take time and patience. Until the culprit allergen is discovered, we may prescribe either topical or oral medication to relieve the symptoms.
3. Hot spot misery. This one is more common to long-haired dogs and only rarely for cats. It happens when a pet experiences such intense itching in one particular area that she persistently licks it in an effort to relieve the itchiness. The result is a bald spot – that still itches. The area may ooze and appear scaly, and the solution is usually a topical ointment. A cone-shaped collar may be needed to help your pet break the habit of scratching so he can heal.
4. Hypothyroidism. Hair loss is just one symptom of this hormonal disease. Other signs are yeast infections, lethargy, obesity and a slow heart rate. We will most likely prescribe thyroid supplements.
5. Stressed to the max. Dogs are pack animals – and they don’t thrive being alone. When a household changes – it shrinks due to kids leaving for college, for example, the dog used to constant activity and ongoing companionship is suddenly alone and unhappy. He may shed more hair than usual, and left alone, he has lots of time to ambitiously lick himself, causing other problems.

Cats may experience similar signs of stress when there are too many cats in the house. Some pets like to spend more time outside in a fenced yard. Some find comfort in a radio or television left on. Getting enough exercise and ensuring a healthy diet are crucial steps too. Consider feeding your pet RAW; it really helps with healthy coats. (And we have RAW coupons good through June!)

One way to remain vigilant with your pet’s skin is to brush him frequently. When you’re in the habit of running your hands over your pet to care for her, you’ll be the first to notice any deviations from what’s usual. An added benefit is that by brushing your pet, you’ll stimulate oil glands that will keep the coat well lubricated and shiny.

When you have any concern about your pet’s skin or excessive hair loss, give us a call. Let’s find the solution to help your pet sport the beautiful glossy coat she was born with.