If you live with a dog, you also live with dog hair. If your dog sheds a lot or if he has begun to lose much more hair than he used to, take note of it. Increased hair loss can be a sign of a health issue, and your dog may have to taken to a vet for a diagnosis.

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The Facts

  • All dogs shed. Just as in humans, your dog’s hair follicles have a three-part cycle: hair growth, hair loss and lying dormant. A certain number of follicles will be shedding hair at any given time. If your dog is losing more hair than normal you need to pay attention to that change. There are several possible causes for increased hair loss including include a change in seasons or a serious health problem.

Seasonal Shedding

  • If you keep your dog indoors year ’round, then her rate of shedding should stay fairly constant. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, then she could lose more hair because of a change in seasons. Many dogs shed heavily in the fall and again in the spring. If your dog is from a long-haired breed, she will naturally shed much more hair than dogs of shorter haired breeds.


  • A marked increase in hair loss, especially in patches, could be a sign your dog has a health problem. If your dog loses so much hair that he goes bald on his body, but he retains fur on his head and his feet, he could have Cushing’s disease. If his coat is thinning out markedly and his skin looks flaky, then he could have a thyroid disorder. Your veterinarian can tell you about treatment options for both of these conditions.


  • A bacterial, parasitic or fungal infection could be the reason why your dog loses so much hair. A bacterial infection such as pyoderma will cause her fur to fall out and leave behind bald patches. Mange is caused by mites. If they infect your dog, she will lose hair on her face, neck and ears. Ringworm is a fungal infection that triggers hair loss in bald patches. If your dog is losing hair because of an infection, your veterinarian can treat it.


  • Some dogs shed more than normal when they are pregnant. A nutritional deficiency can cause your dog to lose so much hair that it becomes noticeable. If your dog is allergic to something in his environment, he might scratch at itchy skin so hard and so often that he pulls hair loose. He can scratch so much that he even causes bald patches.