Hair loss is an unpleasant fact. We all dread that time when our locks start to fall, resulting in a thinning or balding scalp. Unfortunately, even our canine friends suffer from this situation. The good news is that hair loss in Bulldogs is quite preventable and mangeable.
Hair loss in Bulldogs is considered quite common. It is a breed recognized as being predisposed to the condition, along with Schnauzers, Boxers Airedales, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, and Whippets to name a few. So how can I treat my dog’s hair loss problem?
To understand the treatment, let us first look at some common causes. Here are some reasons why hair loss in Bulldogs occurs, along with some strategies for management and treatment of the condition.
What Causes Hair Loss in Bulldogs
Hypothyroidism can show itself in many ways. To rule it out or confirm if this is causing your Bulldogs to shed excessively, a test is available. Contact your veterinarian and inform him or her of your concern. Hypothyroidism occurs if the thyroid gland is not producing sufficient hormones. Symptoms include unexplained weight gain, skin problems, various disorders, and of course, hair loss.
Hypothyroidism in dogs happens if there is swelling or a reduction in the size of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is also a cause of hypothyroidism although it is rare in dogs. Medium to large breeds are more susceptible to it along with middle-age dogs.
The most common signs of hypothyroidism in dogs are a dull hair coat, loss or thinning of the fur, severe shedding or scaling, unexplained weight gain, lethargy, and sensitivity to the cold. Hair loss is mostly over the torso area and does not occur on the head and legs. Unlike other hair loss causes, hypothyroidism is not accompanied by skin reddening or itching. Other dogs experience skin thickening and increased skin pigment in some areas.
If your veterinarian confirms that your Bulldog is positive for hypothyroidism, the treatment is hormonal supplements. Typically, most symptoms will resolve and disappear.
Allergies and Hair Loss in Bulldogs
Bulldogs that are suffering from allergies can experience mild to severe hair loss. A symptom of an allergy is itching. This will cause your pet to scratch itself, often excessively resulting in skin irritations and wounds, and eventual hair loss. Typical allergic triggers are molds, certain fabrics, food, some plant species, pollens, cleaning products, dust, mites, and fleas.
Whether it is a skin, food, or environmental allergy, these all create challenges for dogs and their owners. To make things worse, the symptoms of all these different types of allergies can be the same, making it harder to pinpoint the trigger. Skin allergies are the most common in dogs. A flea allergy happens when there are fleabites while some breeds have adverse reactions to flea saliva.
If your dog has food allergies, itchy skin can result as well. Food allergies are commonly suspect if the itch happens in their ears and paws. There may also be some gastrointestinal issues like an upset stomach.
Environment triggered allergies by pollens, dust, or can result in atopic dermatitis. These allergies are usually season dependent, noting that your dog itches only certain times of the year. Just like food allergies, the ears and paws will itch most, but could likewise include the ankles, wrists, muzzle, underarms, groin, toes, and around the eyes.
Work closely with your veterinarian to manage allergies by avoiding the triggers. You can also mitigate itchiness by applying anti-itch ointments, using special formulation shampoos or antihistamines.
Seasonal alopecia occurs when you notice hair loss accompanied by some patches of skin darkening (known as hyperpigmentation). The hair loss on Bulldogs is often in the flank area. Seasonal alopecia is not a common condition and usually due to insufficient sun exposure that results in changes to pineal gland function. Many dog breeds can be afflicted with alopecia, with the Bulldogs as one of them.
You can avoid or manage seasonal alopecia by making sure your dog gets ample sunlight exposure. Specific seasons may warrant more of it such as late fall, winter, and early spring. If it truly is alopecia causing the hair loss, the dogs will regain hair within a year. Others may take over 12 months before regrowing hair.
The hair loss generally confines itself to the flanks but can sometimes show in different places on the body. The skin typically is of dark pigmentation in the areas of hair loss and can become dry and crusty. Usually, the dogs will grow their hair back in two or three months. Sometimes the hair re-grows in a different color than the original hair and some dogs never re-grow their hair at all.
Mange and Hair Loss in Bulldogs
Mange is a skin disorder caused by an infestation of mites, tiny parasitic arachnids related to ticks. Two types affect dogs, namely sarcoptic and demodectic. The two forms can afflict an adult or puppy Bulldog and regardless gender. Sarcoptic mange, also called canine scabies, causes itching and hair loss. Demodectic mange also has similar symptoms. It is a common skin issue in dogs that are subject to abuse or neglect. Dogs with mange look terrible. They are almost hairless, have skin sores, crusty patches and it is a painful condition.
A veterinarian can diagnose mange by performing specific tests that include blood and urine samples. These diagnostics also rule out other causes of your dog’s itching and hair loss, like metabolic problems or allergies. Furthermore, skin scrapings and hair follicle examination can confirm the presence of mange and the type of mite causing it.
Thankfully, the two types of mange are treated using medications and insecticidal shampoos. Dogs suffering from any form of mange will get better within several weeks of treatment. Extreme cases of mange take up to eight weeks or more to resolve, but it is well worth the wait.
Black Hair Follicular Dysplasia
Black hair follicular dysplasia is an uncommon cause of hair loss in Bulldogs. It is an inherited skin abnormality in dogs with symptoms of hair loss in black colored areas of a dog’s coat. It is considered a genetic disorder and occurs in both purebred and mix-breed dogs. Black hair follicular dysplasia also known as BHFD can result in permanent hair loss, and can manifest at any age of a dog’s life. The condition oddly causes just black hair loss.
Since this is a genetic disorder, affected dogs and their first-degree kin are advised not to interbreed. Dogs predisposed to this are those with coats of black or combination black and white dogs. Although the coat appears normal during birth, symptoms start to manifest as soon as one month. Bulldogs are not prone to BHFD but still get it on very rare instances. The definitive way to diagnose BHFD is thru a skin biopsy.
There is no cure for the disease. The management of the symptoms and secondary infections is usually undertaken instead. Supplements, shampoos, topical applications, and topical antimicrobials are given when necessary. The treatment is simple requiring fatty acids supplements, shampoos, and topical treatments to avoid infections and sores. Fortunately, the condition does not cause any other health problems.
Stress and Anxiety
This is a commonly ignored and overlooked cause of hair loss in any dog breed, Bulldogs included. Stress and anxiety will likewise result in imbalances to a dog’s health with symptoms of scratching, chewing, and eventual hair loss. Bulldog owners should try to identify stressors and eliminate them. The use of behavior modification strategies to remove stress and anxiety reactions is also effective.
Under extreme conditions medication like sedatives help. You could use commercially available pressure coats known as anxiety wraps. These provide much-needed comfort assurance to a dog in stressful and anxious situations.
Hair Loss in Bulldogs Prevention Tips You Can Do Yourself
Not only is grooming a great bonding activity with your Bulldog, but it also is a good hygiene habit. A dog’s skin has natural oils that aid in keeping the skin protected and moisturized. Unfortunately, these oils do not spread on their own to the coat. Grooming and brushing your dog spreads these natural oils all over the fur, nourishing the skin. You will notice your dog looking healthier thanks to a shinier coat.
Humidify the Air
The culprit behind hair loss is often dry skin and hair. An easy remedy to that is to use a humidifier. This device will retain more moisture in the air, creating a healthy environment for a dog’s skin. Well-regulated humidity in an indoor space prevents skin from turning dry and itchy. If you have a humidifier locate it close to your dog’s bed.
Try Lemon Juice and Apple Cider
Nature’s remedies are many if only you do some research. Apple cider vinegar is great for applying topically on your Bulldog. Its acidic characteristics are excellent against fungus and bacteria. Simply apply it to irritated skin areas to help sanitize any infections or irritations. Gently dab a cotton soaked ball on your dog’s skin. You could also add some apple cider vinegar to the bath solution and refresh their entire body.
Lemon juice likewise yields similar benefits. It is applied topically like apple cider vinegar. They both share acidic liquid qualities that can fight and mitigate bacterial and fungal infections. They also both restore the pH of any skin areas with stubborn issues. Always bear in mind, addressing skin problems prevents itchiness that creates excessive scratching and ultimately hair loss.
Use Olive Oil
This is another wonder liquid that our canine friends can also benefit from. Olive oil is great when applied to your dog’s skin. If your dog already suffers from hair loss, apply olive oil on areas of balding skin. It is very effective at moisturizing rough and dry patches. Also a natural anti-mite fighter it is great since that could be the culprit behind your dog’s hair loss. To apply simply rub a small amount of oil to your dog’s skin with your hands.
Examine Your Dogs Diet
Do this so you can identify any insidious elements that may be in the dog’s diet. Food allergies might be in your pet’s food without you knowing. The process of elimination is often a good way to determine allergic reactions. Simply remove a certain food for a while and observe if your dog’s health and behavior improve.
It will surprise you to learn how dog hair loss is often due to food allergies. Unchecked food reactions can cause all kinds of issues, from irritation to inflammation, causing dry skin, hair issues, and ultimately hair loss. A good place to start is to make sure your dog is not allergic to ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy.
As mentioned earlier, also look into supplementing your dog’s diet. Probiotics are good for balancing the gut and its supply of good bacteria. Since they bring balance to the gastrointestinal tract, this eventually affects everything including skin health. Also try adding some flaxseed to the diet, which is high in fiber and a rich source of omega 3 fats. Consult your veterinarian regarding a good supplementation regimen.
Be Vigilant Against Parasites
As discussed earlier in the article, parasites can cause so much harm and anguish to your pet. Parasitic conditions that result in hair loss are avoidable by employing preventative strategies. If your dog is generally outdoors, you should be even more vigilant. A good first line of defense is flea and tick collars. If you notice the beginnings of an infestation immediately use topical or systemic medications.
Managing mites can be stubborn work for dog owners, but is well worth the effort. It is a common cause of hair loss in dogs, and its control using preventive medications is a smart thing to do.
Know Your Dog Breed and Bloodline
Bulldogs are more or less predisposed to certain conditions when compared to other breeds. If you familiarize yourself with those inherent traits, you will be able to provide a healthy environment. The dog’s bloodline or its parents and descendants can also help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your particular Bulldog.
You will take the guesswork out of determining genetic issues. Educated breeding, spaying, or neutering stops the genetic disorder from proliferating to more dogs.
Make Veterinarian Visits a Routine
Finally, regular veterinary care and examinations are a must to ensure any medical conditions are controlled and detected early. There is no better guarantee for this than to see your veterinarian on a set frequency and schedule. For healthy check-ups, a quarterly annual visit is a good routine to follow. This practice will help ensure that you are vigilant against any health issues that may surprise you. A healthy happy dog means you are also a happy dog owner.