Will My Dog’s Bald Spot Grow Back? The Answer May Surprise You

What Causes Bald Spots in Dogs

Some of the most common causes of bald spots and hair loss in dogs include:

Parasites like mange mites or ringworm fungus can burrow into the skin and cause itching, irritation, and hair loss. Mange mites feed on skin cells while ringworm is a contagious fungal infection.

Bacterial or fungal skin infections like folliculitis or dermatitis can also lead to localized bald spots, redness, and inflammation. The skin infection disrupts the normal hair growth cycle.

Allergies to things like food, fleas, or environmental triggers can cause excessive scratching, licking, and rubbing that damages the hair follicles. This can result in bald patches or more generalized hair thinning.

Skin conditions like seborrhea or hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism can also disrupt normal hair growth and lead to bald spots in dogs.

Stress or anxiety can also cause behavioral issues like licking or chewing that can create bald patches on the coat.

Diagnosing the Underlying Cause

diagnose the cause of hair loss

Figuring out the underlying cause of hair loss in dogs typically starts with a complete veterinary exam and medical history. The vet will look for skin lesions, inflammation, parasites, and take samples for analysis.

Common diagnostic tests include:

  • Skin scrapings or cultures to check for ringworm fungus or bacterial infections (Merck Veterinary Manual)
  • Blood tests to check thyroid levels, identify hormonal imbalances, or other systemic issues (WagWalking)
  • Biopsy of affected skin to examine under a microscope for signs of infection, allergies, or autoimmune problems.

Once the underlying cause is identified, the vet can recommend appropriate treatment to address the hair loss and support regrowth.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options that can help manage bald spots in dogs and support hair regrowth:

Medicated shampoos, dips, or ointments may be prescribed to treat skin infections or irritation. These can help eliminate any underlying problems contributing to hair loss.

Antibiotics or antifungals may be necessary if a bacterial or fungal infection is causing the bald spot. These medications treat the infection so the follicles can heal.

Steroids or anti-itch medication can help stop itching and scratching, allowing hair to grow back. Reducing inflammation is key.

If hypothyroidism is the cause, thyroid medication can help regulate levels and reverse associated hair loss.

Allergy management through hypoallergenic diets, supplements, or medications can resolve bald spots triggered by environmental or food allergies.

Seeing improvement often requires determining and addressing the underlying trigger. With proper treatment, the hair follicles can recover and hair may regrow in the bald spot over time.

Will the Hair Grow Back?

will hair regrow?

Whether or not the bald spot will fill back in with hair growth depends on the underlying cause of the hair loss.

In cases of parasitic infections, there is generally a high chance the hair will grow back once the infection has been properly treated (https://www.petcarerx.com/article/alopecia-when-dogs-lose-hair/575). The parasites disrupt the hair growth cycle, so eliminating them allows normal regrowth. However, long-term or recurring infections can sometimes cause permanent damage.

For bacterial or fungal skin infections causing bald spots, there is typically a good chance the hair will return with prompt veterinary treatment (https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/alopecia-dogs-dog-losing-hair/). As the infection clears up, follicles are able to recover and initiate new hair growth.

With allergies triggering alopecia, regrowth is more variable. The hair may fully return once allergen exposure is reduced and inflammation subsides. But seasonal allergies often recur year after year leading to repeat bald spots. Managing allergies long-term is key.

Endocrine issues like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease usually result in regrowth of hair once the hormonal imbalance is treated with medication (https://www.webmd.com/pets/dogs/dog-bald-spot). As hormone levels normalize, dogs typically regain their full coats.

Stress-related alopecia from anxiety, trauma or obsessive licking/chewing tends to resolve as stress is decreased and destructive behaviors are curbed. The hair follicles are undamaged, so hair should fill back in over time.

Supporting Hair Regrowth

There are some natural remedies that may help support hair regrowth in dogs with bald spots.

Adding nutritional supplements with fatty acids like fish oil can nourish the skin and coat. Massaging around the bald spot gently may increase blood flow to stimulate hair follicles in the area. Regular brushing around the bald spot, taking care not to brush directly on it, can distribute natural oils to encourage regrowth.

It’s also important to try to eliminate licking, scratching, or irritation around the bald spot, as this can slow regrowth. Using an Elizabethan collar may be necessary if the urge to lick or scratch is too strong.

Being patient and consistent with natural regrowth methods can help create the right conditions for hair to gradually fill back into a bald spot in some cases. However, if the spot persists or worsens, consulting a vet is recommended.

Sources:

https://www.pawcbd.com/blogs/posts/dog-hair-loss-home-remedies-causes-and-diagnosis

https://miraclevet.com/blogs/news/7-home-remedies-for-dog-hair-loss

When to See the Vet

If your dog develops a bald spot suddenly, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical issue that needs prompt treatment. According to WebMD, you should also see the vet if the bald patch seems irritated, oozing, or infected, which may indicate a skin condition or infection

Additionally, bring your dog in if they are excessively scratching, licking, or biting at the bald area, as this can worsen irritation and damage the skin. The vet can provide medication or recommendations to manage this discomfort or compulsion.

You’ll also want the vet to examine any bald spot that does not improve after a month of at-home treatment such as medicated shampoos or supplements. Persistent hair loss likely requires a diagnosis and prescription medication from the vet (Source).

Catching the underlying cause early maximizes the chances of restoring hair regrowth and preventing complications or recurrence. Don’t delay – schedule a veterinary exam as soon as you notice any unusual bald patches on your dog’s coat.

Preventing Recurrence

The key to preventing bald spots from recurring in dogs is to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations closely. Medications may be prescribed to manage underlying conditions like allergies or thyroid disorders. Be sure to give any prescribed medications consistently and as directed. Your vet may also recommend certain baths or topical treatments to soothe the skin and support hair regrowth.

prevent bald spots recurring

It’s also important to avoid known triggers that could cause flare ups. For dogs with allergy-related hair loss, this may mean steering clear of certain foods, grasses, or environments. Reduce stress by providing daily exercise, mental stimulation, and a predictable routine. Training and enrichment activities are great for bonding while lowering a dog’s anxiety.

With diligent management of any underlying conditions and by minimizing exposure to triggers, you can help prevent bald spots from recurring. But be sure to keep up with regular veterinary checkups so your vet can monitor skin health and adjust treatment plans if needed. Consistency with prescribed care is key.

Coping Tips for Owners

If your dog has developed a bald spot, it’s natural to feel concerned. However, the most important thing is to remain patient, as regrowth takes time. In the meantime, here are some tips for coping with your dog’s bald spot:

Try putting a dog sweater or shirt on your dog to protect the bald area from sun damage or irritation. Avoid shaving the hair around the bald patch, as this can delay regrowth.

Reinforce training to discourage your dog from excessively licking or scratching at the bald spot. Licking and scratching can slow healing and regrowth.

Focus on supporting your dog’s overall skin and coat health, not just the bald spot itself. Make sure they are getting excellent nutrition and supplements like fish oil. Regular bathing and brushing promotes skin health too.

Remember that the bald spot does not define your dog. Focus your attention on enjoying activities and quality time together, not just the cosmetic flaw of a bald patch. This will help keep your dog happy and feeling loved.

With the proper care under your vet’s supervision, most bald spots will regrow fur over time. Be patient and keep your dog’s spirits up until the hair returns.

When to Consider Other Options

If the bald spot persists despite treatment efforts, it’s time to reassess. According to the American Kennel Club[1], treatment failure warrants a follow-up vet visit to explore other potential causes. Consider advanced treatment if:

  • The bald spot does not improve after 6-8 weeks of treatment
  • The bald patch is very large or covers a joint, which can lead to sores or abrasions
  • The hair loss significantly impacts your dog’s quality of life

In these cases, discuss options like biopsy, allergy testing, thyroid screening, or medication trials with your vet. They can help determine if an underlying disease is causing the stubborn bald spot. With proper diagnosis and care, most dogs respond well to treatment. But if hair regrowth remains elusive, your vet may recommend long-term management focussed on your dog’s comfort and skin protection.

The Outlook for Regrowth

The prognosis for a dog’s bald spot regrowing hair is typically excellent if the underlying cause of the hair loss is identified and properly addressed [1]. In the majority of cases, dogs will see full regrowth of hair over time with proper treatment and care [2]. The key is to start treatment as early as possible and remain diligent with the vet-recommended care plan. Be patient – it can take weeks or months for visible regrowth, but remaining consistent with medications, supplements, diet changes, or other interventions will give your dog the best chance of getting their hair back.

outlook for hair regrowth

It’s understandable to feel concerned when your dog starts losing hair. But try to stay positive and focus on providing the care and attention they need to support hair regrowth. Work closely with your veterinarian, follow their instructions carefully, and with time and persistence, the bald spot should begin to fill in with healthy new hair. Don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at first. Hair growth is a gradual process. If you address the underlying issue and stick to the treatment plan, the outlook is very hopeful for your dog’s bald spot returning to its former furry glory!

Scroll to Top