If your dog’s collar is rubbing its hair off, the first thing you should do is check to see if the collar is too tight. If it’s too tight, the collar will cause chafing and irritation, which will lead to hair loss. If the collar fits properly but hair is still falling out, your dog may be allergic to the material.
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is common in dogs. It’s unsightly and can often indicate a bigger problem. If the hair around your dog’s neck (specifically under their collar) is falling out, here are a few reasons why.
Common Causes for Hair Loss Under The Collar
The Collar is Too Tight
The first thing you should do if you notice your dog is losing hair under their collar—either through itching or balding—is to check if the collar is too tight.
If it is, your dog simply might try to loosen it and scratch out its hair in the process. Or, if it is too tight, the chafing of the collar might wear away at their fur. You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar. If you can’t fit two, the collar is too tight.
It is important to make sure that the collar is clean and washed frequently. A dirty collar (especially one that is often wet) can grow bacteria and mold that causes skin irritation for your dog.
Similarly, make sure the area around their collar is checked frequently for any scrapes or wounds. Leaving injuries untreated could cause an infection that could lead to hair loss.
There are various flea and tick prevention methods out there, all with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Flea and tick collars are one of them, and while they are usually highly recommended by vets and pet owners alike, they can cause some issues.
Collar brands such as Seresto have been reported to cause hair loss under the collar. This hair loss can be moderate or severe.
It’s important to notice whether the hair is simply rubbing off or if the exposed skin is raw and irritated.
If you notice your dog is losing hair under the flea and tick collar, consult with your vet for other flea and tick prevention options.
It could be an issue of simply wearing the collar too tight, or your dog might be having an adverse reaction to the chemicals.
Your dog’s hair will most likely grow back, and they rarely experience any pain at the bald spot.
Your dog might be experiencing an allergic reaction to the material of the collar. They could even be allergic to the metal of their dog tags.
Try switching to a hypoallergenic collar, or one made from all-natural fibers to see if the hair grows back.
Other Causes For Hair Loss Under The Collar
Dogs have skin, just like we do. Skin has the potential to be itchy, and dogs are not fortunate enough to have soft fingers to gently scratch that itch.
If they feel the need to scratch, they’re using their sharp claws to do it, and that is bound to lead to hair loss if it is continued long enough.
If your dog has chronically itchy areas—sometimes referred to as hot spots—then you should try using a topical ointment to soothe the area and give the hair time to regrow.
This is normal and the most common cause of hair loss in dogs. Some breeds shed in the spring after growing their winter coat, other dogs shed year-round. Frequent brushing can reduce your dog’s shedding to get rid of any excess hair.
Infections and Mange
Ringworm, as well as bacteria and types of fungal infections, can cause hair loss in dogs. Related symptoms also include bumps, scaly patches, itching, redness of the skin, and odor at the site of the hair loss.
Mange is caused by mites, which are microscopic creatures that live on our dog’s skin and in their hair follicles. Demodex mites are a common cause of hair loss. Thankfully, they are not contagious, but other types of mites and fleas are highly contagious and can be a huge problem.
Allergies, Stress, and Hormonal Changes
Food allergies are usually expressed through consistent itching and biting of paws. Environmental allergies, however, can cause hair loss and skin irritation.
Dogs who are under a lot of stress or have anxiety issues can lose hair as a result. Similarly, lactation, pregnancy, and a decrease in testosterone after neutering have also been noted to cause hair loss.
Various medical issues could lead to hair loss. Lack of proper nutrition is the first. Dogs can also suffer from folliculitis or cellulitis, both of which can lead to hair loss.
Folliculitis refers to the infection of hair follicles. In contrast, cellulitis refers to the infection and the skin and tissue beneath the hair.
Cushing’s disease, which is the overproduction of cortisol, is a condition that is common in dogs over 6 years of age and frequently results in hair loss.
Hair loss is often a sign that another organ is struggling. Hair loss can occur because of cancer, adrenal gland disorders, and liver or kidney disease.
Some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to bald spots. Common breeds who suffer from this are chihuahuas, dachshunds, and greyhounds.
Methods of Identification and Treatment
The vet usually only needs a few simple tests to get to the root of your dog’s hair loss problem. Recovering from and preventing hair loss can be as easy as a new shampoo or as complex as many medications.
When you notice your dog is losing hair under their collar, it is important to take note of a few different things.
Your vet will need all the information possible to properly diagnose them. For instance: When did the itching/hair loss start? Is your dog taking any medications or herbal supplements? Has anything new been introduced to their diet? Is their diet consistent? What environments have they been exposed to? Have they been around other pets or people with similar symptoms?
To get to the bottom of the issue, your vet will compare their history to the results of a physical exam. Physical exams can include procedures such as skin scrapings, blood screenings, fungal cultures, and biopsies.
If your vet believes your dog’s hair loss to be a result of a food allergy, they will begin the process of food trials.
In this process, your dog is given a hydrolyzed diet. A hydrolyzed diet is devoid of all proteins and carbohydrates that are common allergens for dogs.
During this process, which can take months, it is important for your dog to only eat their special hydrolyzed food. Eating something as minuscule as a carrot slice from the dinner table can skew the results, and the food trial will need to start all over again.
If this is an allergy to a specific substance, immunotherapy might be suggested. Immunotherapy refers to the process of continuously exposing your dog to a small amount of the allergen over an extended period to build up an immunity.
Hot spots and local infections can be treated by a topical antibiotic, a steroid injection, or even anti-itch medication. Betadine, Epsom salt soaks, and medicated shampoos are all easy treatments for itchy skin and hair loss that have remarkably successful results.
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