I am not talking about seasonal shedding or excessive shedding. I am talking about your Chihuahua losing so much hair that it leaves bald patches on its skin.
There are 7 reasons why this happens.
While these reasons are not life-threatening, some of them can make your dog’s life a nightmare. Constant scratching can only lead to more trouble.
So, in order to help our Chi, we have to go through all 7 reasons as to why bald patches happen. In other words, we have to know why a Chihuahua is losing hair in order to know how to help it.
Why Is My Chihuahua Losing Hair?
If you notice your Chihuahua is constantly scratching or licking certain body parts, take a closer look at that part. Is the skin dry, flaky, or is it red or inflamed?
Maybe there are even superficial wounds from your dog’s excessive scratching. The skin is usually either darker or it might have red dots like pimples.
All of these things tell us that a dog has Alopecia – losing hair. It can either be permanent or temporary. However, it is not just one disease, but more like a clinical picture that can be caused by numerous reasons.
So, let’s help your Chihuahua. It’s time to find the reason why your Chihuahua is losing hair.
Let’s start with the obvious reason if you have a dog that is already in its senior years. A Chihuahua’s average lifespan is around 18 years. They can live much longer – some say more than 20 years.
However, according to the American Kennel Club, they can live up to 16 years. This means your dog will become a senior when it enters its 10th year of life.
If you notice your Chihuahua is losing hair, but you see no other symptoms like scratching, redness of the skin, etc., then it is possible that it’s the normal process that happens during old age.
Just like humans, dogs can go bald or get gray hair.
However, no matter if your Chi is 10 or 15 years old… just to be sure, take it to the veterinarian. We want to make sure it’s not some of the other symptoms we are going to talk about.
2. Parasitic Infestations
One of the most common reasons for bald patches (or Alopecia) is parasitic infestations. This means your Chihuahua might have:
Flea bites and saliva can cause allergic reactions in dogs. This allergic reaction can present itself as bald patches, itchiness, and redness of the skin. A dog will try to lick, bite, or scratch its body in order to relieve itself from the discomfort.
Look into your dog’s fur and see if you can find tiny black spots at the root of the hair. This is a positive sign of fleas.
Also, your dog might be infected by mange mites – microscopic animals that normally live on an animal, but cause infestation when an animal has a weak immune system.
The most common body part for mite infestation is a dog’s ears.
Another possibility is that your dog got infected with lice. This infestation presents itself the same way – hair loss, redness and itchiness of the skin, dry and rough coat, flaky skin, etc.
If you suspect your Chihuahua might have any of these parasitic infestations, the best option is to take the dog to the vet. They can recommend proper treatment for your dog.
Read Next: How To Get Rid Of Mites On Dogs?
3. Insect Bites
Apart from parasitic infestations, other organisms can be the reason why your Chihuahua is losing hair. This time, it’s the non-parasitic organisms, or simply said – insects.
One of the most common insects that bite our doggies are:
Any of these insects can cause an allergic reaction, which can lead to the loss of hair. However, you will most likely see a bite somewhere on the bald patch of your dog’s skin.
4. Food Allergies
Another reason for Alopecia in dogs is food allergies. The tricky part is knowing which food is the cause of the allergic reaction. But, you can talk to your vet about how to determine which food it is.
You can narrow it down by thinking about the food you have introduced to your Chihuahua in the past month. And, of course, there are tests that can be done to determine the cause.
Just like other reasons for Alopecia, food allergies can also present themselves as bald patches, dry, flaky skin, redness, etc.
5. Not Enough Nutrients
Now that we are talking about food, there is another reason for your Chihuahua losing hair. It could be that the food you are giving your dog is not rich in nutrients.
We’re not saying you are giving your Chi bad food. Sometimes, dog food companies sell the name and not the quality.
This means they are not so honest when it comes to the ingredients. Shocking… I know!
Sarcasm aside, check your dog’s food, whether it’s kibble (dry food) or canned.
High-quality food will have a high percentage of proteins and a low percentage of carbohydrates. High-quality food will also have enough vitamins and minerals.
6. Vaccine Reaction
Rarely, a dog can have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. It is usually a rabies vaccine, but it can be any other type.
The symptoms are the same as in other reasons: losing hair, followed by itchiness or redness of the skin. Sometimes, a dog’s entire behavior can change following the vaccination.
If you can’t find any signs that your dog has an insect bite, fleas, or mites, or you know it’s not the food, and your dog did receive a vaccine shot recently – take it to the vet and ask about this possibility.
7. Underlying Medical Condition
And, the last reason is the most serious one. Sometimes, the reason why your Chihuahua loses hair is because of some health issue.
The most common health problems connected with hair loss in dogs are:
- Endocrine problems
- Cushing disease
- Bacterial infections
- Yeast infections
If your dog has these issues, he will most likely exhibit other signs, too. The common signs telling us our doggo’s health is in trouble are:
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t jump to any conclusions – take your Chihuahua to the vet where you can get a professional opinion.
One More Thing
There is another reason that doesn’t quite fit other groups. It is called seasonal flank Alopecia. This refers to hair loss on the flanks. It can also show up on the nose, base of the tail, or chest.
This type of alopecia usually happens in winter, and it goes by after a month or two. However, sometimes it lasts longer, and it can also happen in the fall.
In both cases, this condition repeats seasonally – every winter or every fall.
This health condition is not dangerous, and it only has a cosmetic issue.
The reason behind seasonal flank alopecia is still unknown.
So, the question is: Why is my Chihuahua losing hair?
There are 7 possible reasons. We talked about all of them, but the most common ones are parasitic infestations and allergic reactions.
Whether you suspect it is something more serious or not, or if it’s a small bald patch or a bigger area, taking your dog to the vet is the only way to know for sure what is happening.
We can’t cure our dogs on our own. We need professional help that comes from clinical examinations.
This means a vet will need to personally examine the dog to make a proper diagnosis. Only then will the treatment be adequate, and your dog will have a higher chance of having a positive outcome.
Of course, if it’s seasonal flank alopecia, there isn’t much you can do.
It looks worrying, but it’s not a danger to your dog’s health.