Hair Loss

Your Bullmastiff and Hair Loss

 In dog show circles there is the saying that all things can be forgiven but a bald spot on the dog’s back. Although this might be a slight case of hyperbole, the fact that hair loss and shedding are concerns for those showing dogs as well as for the average pet owner who is worried about her or his canine companion’s sudden loss of hair, cannot be denied. Before you contemplate going down to the store and picking up some hair loss remedy formulated for human heads, the answer to this consideration must be a resounding “cease and desist” as none of these substances have been put together with a dog’s sensitive skin in mind.The same is true for the myriad of remedies that are for sale via the Internet. Some contain highly questionable ingredients, while others are pretty much useless compilations of common household items, such as cornstarch and vitamin E lotion. Even if they do not harm the dog in any way, the odds of these potions and lotions actually affecting a positive change of the dog’s coat are highly questionable!

Instead, treating suspicious canine hair loss needs to begin at the veterinarian’s office. Here are some ideas and suggestions to discuss.

Consider the seasons. Is it possible that the hair loss might be seasonal and the dog is simply losing its winter fur? If there are actual bald spots on the animal, this is highly unlikely, but it is a good question to ask.
How is the animal’s overall health? Has it been listless, eaten less, does not enjoy playing as much as it did before? If so, the odds are good that there is an underlying physical condition that requires treatment and rather than worrying about the hair loss – which is little more than a secondary symptom – it is vital to find out what it wrong with the dog with respect to illness.
Could it be mange? It shows up in small patches but can be treated quite easily and effectively if caught early.
Check the dog’s nutrition. Are you using the kind of food that is good for your dog? Is it cheap, generic store brand food or is it organic or high quality chow? You might need to consider a dietary supplement to make up for the nutrients lost during the food’s manufacture.
Rule out skin allergies by having the vet take a very good look at the entire animal and not just the affected area. Remember that in the case of allergies, the bald spot you see today may just be the beginning! Your dog may be allergic to the food and something as simple as switching dog chow could rectify the situation.
Could it be stress? As odd as it sounds, but pets suffer from stress just like humans. If you recently brought home a new family member – either a child or another pet – or if you moved, are going to move and are in the process of packing and thus the dog’s environment is changing, the odds of there being some shedding are quite high!