We love our pets. As pet owners, we know that a dog isn’t just an animal, they’re a full member of the family. Therefore, their health is of the utmost importance to us, so when we notice something is off – like they’re losing hair on their tail – it’s natural for us to get a bit panicked. But there is no need to worry, there are several possible causes for them to lose hair on their tail. It just might require a little detective work in order to solve the mystery.
Here are some of the possible reasons:
Allergies and parasites
One of the most common reasons for a sudden bald patch on a dog’s tail is allergies. Many pet owners might not be aware, but dogs can actually become allergic to a number of allergens, including ingredients in their food, grooming products, pollen, and more. So, if you have recently introduced something new into your pet’s environment, such as a new type of treat, a new food, or a new shampoo, then this could be the cause. You can do a simple test of removing the suspected allergen and see if your dog stops losing hair.
Flea bites are another potential reason, as they can cause an allergic reaction in dogs. According to WebMD, a sensitive dog can be itchy for days after receiving just a single flea bite. If your dog has fleas, then this would cause them to be incessantly scratching at the area, thus producing a bald spot on their tail.
Treat the potential problem by treating your dog for fleas. However, if the allergic reaction continues you may need veterinary assistance as your vet can prescribe a topical ointment or medication. Furthermore, they will help you try to identify the root cause in order to eliminate your dog’s hair loss.
Hypothyroidism can also result in a dog’s tail becoming ratty and bald, or even bald patches covering their hind legs and hips. According to Web DVM, hypothyroidism commonly results when a dog’s immune system starts to attack their thyroid gland tissue. The result is a drop in the level of thyroid hormone, which can cause other problems such as anemia, muscle weakness and atrophy, and lethargic behavior.
Because hair growth is dependent on sufficient thyroid hormone levels, when a dog develops hypothyroidism, their tail may start to bald quite badly. In addition, the hair on both sides of his abdominal region, and the backs of the rear legs may also become thin and start to fall out.
Hypothyroidism most commonly affects breeds such as Labs, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Boxers, and Rottweilers. If you suspect that your dog may have hypothyroidism, take them to the vet. The vet will order a blood test in order to confirm the diagnosis and will treat your dog with an oral thyroid hormone in order to help regulate thyroid levels.
Sarcoptic and demodectic mange
Mange can also cause a dog’s tail to start losing hair. Mange is a parasitic skin disease that can make your dog very uncomfortable. According to Canna-Pet, there are two main types of mange that affect dogs.
Demodectic mange occurs when a dog’s immune system is compromised, and the mites begin to overtake their fur and skin. The condition can be localized to one area, or it can spread across the body. Demodectic mange can cause hair loss, bald spots, sores, lesions, and redness, among other symptoms.
Whereas sarcoptic mange is caused when a dog contracts canine scabies (burrowing mites) from interacting with another dog who is infected. The mites with then mate, after which the female mites burrow into your dog’s skin, laying their eggs which hatch three-to-10 days later. The process is extremely uncomfortable, so the dog will likely be scratching incessantly at the affected areas. As a result, they can develop sores, hair loss, itching, skin rash, and scabs.
Mange of either variation requires veterinary treatment. Your vet will take a skin sample in order to determine the type of mange that is present. Depending on what they find, your vet may prescribe both topical and oral medications.
Another potential cause of a bald spot on a dog’s tail is Cushing’s disease. According to Pet MD, Cushing’s is an endocrine disorder that presents itself when a dog produces too much cortisol. Cushing’s causes a variety of symptoms, including hair loss, obesity, increased hunger, and many other symptoms.
To diagnose Cushing’s disease, your vet will need to perform some blood work, along with a urinalysis. Managing Cushing’s requires regular monitoring, and sometimes a vet may even prescribe trilostane in order to help regulate your dog’s symptoms.
Whether or not you feel your dog has a simple allergy problem or something more serious like Cushing’s, it is important to get your dog some medical attention. Consulting with your vet is the quickest way to get to the root cause of your dog’s hair loss problem.