There are numerous reasons dogs lose hair, including seasonal shedding and health issues. The good news for the dog and his owner is it generally grows back. Unfortunately, too many factors, such as the length of the dog’s hair, affect the growth to determine exactly how long it may take. Understanding the growth process, however, helps clear up any doubt that he will have hair again.
Dog hair grows in four stages called the anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. The rate at which dog hair grows is based on whether the dog is a long- or short-haired breed and other factors, such as the season. For instance, longer days in the spring stimulate hair growth, making hair grow faster than in the winter. During the anagen stage, the hair grows continuously and the growth terminates during the catagen stage. The telogen stage is the “resting” period and the shedding stage is the exogen. Generally, new hair growth is visible within a week or two. However, depending on the dog breed, the anogen or growth stage may last from one month to one year.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are several reasons your dog may lose hair and leave you praying it grows back fast. They include vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, parasites and skin irritations. Allergies to common things, like fleas and grass, or food additives and preservatives may also cause your dog to lose his hair. Internal factors, such as an impaired thyroid function and stress, are also common culprits of hair loss. Taking your dog to the veterinarian is the only way to accurately pinpoint the cause of his hair loss and effectively treat it.
Speed Up Hair Growth
Keeping your dog healthy on the inside may help speed up the hair growth on the outside. This includes feeding him a healthy, well-balanced diet containing vitamins A, E, C and zinc. If he is lacking in these vitamins a supplement may be necessary as directed by your vet. Also, add omega-3 and omega-6 supplements to his diet to help fight inflammation of the skin.
Care for the Hair
External coat care helps prevent excessive shedding and skin diseases that may lead to hair loss. Bathe your dog in a natural oatmeal shampoo about once a month. Bathing him too often may strip his coat of the natural oils and cause skin drying. Spray a mixture of vinegar and water on your dog’s coat after bathing him to prevent the growth of bacteria. Control external parasites, like fleas and ticks, to prevent pruritus, or excessive itching.
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