Now that we are squarely in the middle of allergy season, the BARF World Team is fielding tons of phone calls regarding hair loss. As dog owners we need to be aware of our dog’s conditions and prepare them for the seasons and climate changes. If your dog has short hair, then in the winter months your dog may need a thicker coat. Now that we are solidly in spring and looking forward to summer, this is less of a concern (though sunburn may be).
While it’s normal for some dog breeds to shed their “winter coats” as the seasons change, constant fur loss that results in baldness is not common. In fact, it’s worth taking a closer look at.
Hair loss can have a variety of causes, including, but not limited to: sex, age and breed. As a smart, educated pet parent, it is important to understand the triggers for balding. This will allow you to take the proper care and precautions to prevent your dog from suffering. You will also be able to pinpoint the problem and stop the issue before it escalates into something much worse.
Hair loss is also known as alopecia. Alopecia can be divided into two separate categories: inflammatory or non-inflammatory. With the help of your holistic veterinarian, it will be easier for you to distinguish what your dog is suffering from.
Here are some issues that may be causing hair loss:
Allergies: Allergic reactions to a food, chemical, or fleabites or environmental reactions (such as pollen).
Symptoms: Frequent licking or biting where your dog feels skin irritation. You may also notice some redness or inflammation of the skin.
Prevention & Treatment: Along with feeding a BARF raw food diet, applying a topical ointment or lotion to relieve the itching sensation can reduce and alleviate pain that your dog is experiencing. Supplements that promote a stronger immune system can also assist in the battle with allergies for your dog. Incorporate an enzyme, probiotic, and omega-3 supplement to help give your pet’s immune system a boost.
Genetics: Certain breeds like dachshunds, greyhounds or whippets are susceptible to alopecia.
Prevention: Dogs are typically born with this condition and their hair begins to thin over time, particularly under the belly and ear flaps. The only effective method of screening this genetically is by selective breeding.
Cushing’s Syndrome: A benign tumor in the pituitary gland. Can be caused by too many steroids, cortisol or aging.
Symptoms: Thirst, frequent urination, muscle weakness, and/or an enlarged abdomen.
Prevention & Treatment: Your holistic veterinarian may recommend medication, surgery, and feeding a raw diet (BARF Diet).
Infection: Can be caused by fungus, bacteria, or mites.
Symptoms: Thick skin, irritation, inflammation, oily skin and redness. Hair loss can be located where the infection is found. Ringworm can cause irregular hair loss and scabbing.
Prevention & Treatment: Maintaining a clean and safe environment can prevent infections from occurring. The ringworm may clear up by itself; if this does not happen then you may need to treat the area of infection with an antifungal shampoo.
Sores and Rashes: Insect bites or reactions to chemicals and plants.
Symptoms: Lack of appetite, fever, redness, callus or thickened skin.
Prevention & Treatment: Determine what factors trigger your pet to break out so you can find ways to avoid or minimize exposure. Using an all-natural topical cream, ointment, lotion (like Organic Lavender Noni lotion) can reduce the swelling and pain and speed up the healing process. If the condition continues, you may want to speak to your vet for treatment and to avoid an infection.
As you may have noticed, the trend for preventing dog hair loss is to optimal nutrition for your pet. Feeding the BARF diet to your dogs is of the utmost significance because it gives your dogs all of the nutrients that would be found in the wild. It is their evolutionary diet and what they were intended to eat.
It is also important to be mindful of your dog’s surroundings because you never know what they can get into that will cause a reaction. Keeping your dog in a safe, stress-free environment with a good diet and fresh water is essential to keep your dog healthy and full of hair.
Monica Reyes is a Raw Pet Food Specialist for BARF World Inc. She is a student and working mom to a toddler boy and a terrier mix Mookie. Monica enjoys healthy cooking and spending time with her family. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet monthly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.