Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Hair loss is caused by many things, you will need to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to figure out what is going on. It could be ringworm, fleas, mange, allergies, or something else. Seek help from a vet.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

The 5 most common causes of bald spots on dogs include allergies, Cushing`s disease, pressure sores, genetics, and infection or infestation.
Fleas, allergies, dry skin, insect stings – even boredom and anxiety can all cause intense scratching. Don`t wait until the area is raw. Check your dog`s chin and neck to see if anything seems peculiar. If it`s nothing you can remove right away, such as an insect or a twig, give your vet a call.
Worms can cause hair loss in dogs by interfering with the dog`s ability to process nutrients. Worms live inside the dog and can be transmitted from dog to dog through sniffing or licking each other`s anuses.
Skin infections can cause red, inflamed skin that is itchy and hair loss can occur. Infections include ringworm, yeast, folliculitis and bacterial. Pus and/or hot spots are usually good indicators that an infection is present.
Mites are tiny spider-like creatures that can typically only be seen with a microscope, but sometimes they may be visible as tiny orange, black or white dots moving on your dog`s skin.
If you take good care of your pet`s wound and help them heal quickly then it`s very likely that their fur will grow back normally.
Flea allergy dermatitis, seasonal allergies or atopy, food allergies, contact dermatitis (e.g., soaps and perfumes), and sarcoptic mange (mites) are some of the most common causes of pruritus in dogs. “Pruritus due to skin disease is one of the most common reasons dog owners seek veterinary care.”
It`s normal for dogs to scratch themselves occasionally, but if you notice your dog scratching nonstop, this may be a sign of a problem. There are many reasons your dog may be itchy. Scratching is often caused by fleas or other parasites, but it can also be a sign of an underlying disease like hypothyroidism.
When your dog is nervous on a car ride or is fearful at the veterinarian`s office, you may have noticed that they shed a lot. But why is this? When your dog is stressed, a release of epinephrine — also known as adrenaline — releases the hair.
Endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), Cushing`s disease (high cortisol), or reactions to rabies and corticosteroid injections can also cause alopecia. Additionally, an established yeast infection on the skin weakens the immune system and causes digestive issues, inflammation, and itching.
Although there are a number of other more likely causes of itchiness in your dog, intestinal worms could be one of the potential causes. Behaviours that could link to itchiness caused by the presence of worms include any scratching of the rear end or rubbing or dragging their bottom on the ground.
Your vet will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the cause of your pet`s itching, but anti-itch medications, such as Oclacitinib (Apoquel), and Prednisolone may be prescribed to reduce the itching. Antihistamines can also be used in some cases, as well as medicated shampoos and topical ointments.
It is important to visit your vet if you suspect that your dog has mites. Your vet will need to examine your dog and possibly perform tests to confirm the diagnosis, and determine whether any secondary problems are present (e.g. a bacterial skin infection).
The main difference between dust mite allergy and other causes of itchy skin (dermatitis, dry skin, fleas) is that with dust mite allergy your dog will also have sneezing, runny eyes and nose, a cough, and possible wheezing.
Demodex and Sarcoptes mites live within the skin and are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Ear mites are also so small that it`s unlikely you will be able to see them. Your vet can examine samples under the microscope to look for mites.
“Early-stage sarcoptic mange usually starts out as an itch around the ear flaps and the elbows,” Taylor says. But mites also like living on a dog`s belly, armpits, and legs. Initially, a dog with sarcoptic mange scratches constantly, making the skin under the fur red and irritated.
However, when something – such as stress, illness, or old age – weakens your dog`s immune system, the mites can multiply out of control and cause demodectic mange. Puppies are also most commonly affected while their immune system matures.
In some cases, such as those caused by infections or allergies, the hair may grow back once the underlying issue is addressed. However, in other cases, such as those caused by immune-mediated diseases, hair loss may be more difficult to manage and may not fully resolve.
It`s normal for dogs to scratch, but constantly chewing their feet, flapping their ears or biting their behinds definitely isn`t part of their usual behaviour. If you think you`ve identified excessive itchiness, a vet visit is advised strongly.
Insects like fleas – which are actually considered parasites – are only one potential cause. The dog might have one of any number of other parasites, a bacterial infection, a yeast infection on the skin, an allergy, or even stress and anxiety manifesting as a physical problem with itching as a symptom.
Stress or Boredom

Although uncommon, some dogs can develop an obsessive compulsive behavioral disorder that is causing them to scratch or lick when they are stressed or bored. Anxiety can also be a reason, and the excessive licking and scratching can cause bald patches to form.

Itching may be caused by several disorders, such as contact dermatitis, allergy, and infection. The itching can also be caused by parasites, such as fleas or mites. Inflamed skin caused by chewing or licking is common in dogs.
In the dog, the signs of a food allergy are usually itchy skin, paws, or ears or digestive disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea. Other more subtle changes can also occur, including hyperactivity, weight loss, lack of energy, and even aggression.
An apple cider vinegar bath can help get rid of the mange mites. Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of Borax and warm water. Be sure the Borax is fully dissolved before sponging the mixture on your dog`s skin and coat. Also make sure your dog does not lick the mixture, as ingesting Borax can be harmful.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. My Beagle listens to me, but cries & whines when I’m gone & doesn’t listen to my parents. I adopted him just a couple days ago. Any tips for my folks?
ANSWER : A. I really highly doubt that your Beagle listens to you and has formed a connection with you in just a couple of days. It takes months to build up any kind of serious connection with your dog. You need to work on communication with your dog through training them to understand different cues. For instance the Leave-It cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

You have to work on bonding with your dog through mental stimulation. Training is very important. Luring each new behavior from scratch, and training using treats is how you form a strong bond with your new dog. No scolding is ever necessary… work on being calm, and positive, all the time.

If your dog is crying/whining when you leave, this may be separation anxiety. You’re going to have to separation train this dog from scratch. This dog needs to learn that separation can be a good thing! Tell your “folks” to NOT scold the dog when he is crying/whining after you leave, because that will make your dog MORE anxious when you leave next time. Your dog will be dwelling on the negative if your parents fuel your dogs negative feelings towards you leaving. FUN things should happen when you leave. Your parents should pull out the treats and start doing some basic obedience training with your dog. Your parents should stuff a Kong filled with awesome treats (peanut butter) and give it to him so he feels happy when you leave.

I have some excellent separation anxiety exercises you can work on. If you’d like, you can purchase a consultation with me, and I will go over how to separation train from scratch. It will make your dog comfortable being alone, guaranteed.

Read Full Q/A … : I Don't Like My Mother

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. My dog licks his feet and legs and they are turning brown. He is a white dog. Can you help?
ANSWER : A. Licking the feet and legs can be caused by a number of things in dogs including allergies, illness or even stress behaviors. Allergies are the most common in dogs, with yeast infections coming in second. Allergies can cause the area to become red and itching, making your dog want to lick and chew on them. Over time, the area may become stained from saliva, especially in lighter or white-coated dogs. Yeast infections are also common between the toes, and may cause a smelly “corn chip” smell to appear near your dog’s feet. Again, dogs will attempt to lick and chew to relieve the itch. Keeping the feet clean and dry can help relieve both allergies and infections and pet wipes or a baby wipe of all paws when your dog comes in from outdoors may also help. Keeping your dog from licking the space with either dog booties or an Elizabethan collar is also good as it will prevent secondary infection and staining of the paws and legs. If your dog is determined to keep licking and keeping the feet clean and dry do not help, then your vet can help by providing a medication to treat any infection or provide relief of allergies.

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!

Q. Want a pet cat companion for my dog Lucky, who is 5. The problem is that I’m somewhat alergic to cats. So, not sure what to do!
ANSWER : A. Dogs can make friends with lots of species, including cats! If you are heart-set on a cat, allergenic breeds are available such as hairless or lesser haired Sphinx and Devon-Rexes. However these breeds can be rare and hard to find at times. A short-haired cat that is brushed regularly may also cause less allergies. Many people with allergies are also able to take medications such as a daily allergy medication or spray like Nasocrom which can make living with a cat much easier.

If your dog is very friendly with other dogs, then getting him a dog friend may be an option! That would keep you from needing to get a cat and having an allergic reaction. Looking at your local animal shelter may help you to find a dog for adoption that is similar in personality and play style to your current dog. Many shelters will also let you introduce your dog to the one you are interested in adopting to see if they will be a good fit! If you can’t get another pet at this time, taking your dog to a local dog park or dog meetup can help him to get more social interaction and get out extra energy without the need for caring for another pet.

Q. My dog has no fleas, but is scratching and licking continually. He has been through a round of prednisone and it hasn’t helped. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. Itching can be caused by more than just external parasites, and if your dog is already on a flea medication, then it is possibly not the case. Itching can indicate anything from allergies to even minor skin infections causing problems. If your dog has been treated with prednisone (a steroid that inhibits the immune system) and it did not help, then looking at other options may help.

Food allergies are very common in dogs and can present with itching and licking all over the body rather than on just one spot. Common food allergens include ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy products, however dogs can be allergic to almost anything! Starting a food trial of an allergen-friendly diet from your vet or pet store that avoids these common ingredients may help. The food should be switched over a period of 7-9 days and then given about a month to decide if it is helping.

Small skin infections or yeast in the skin can also cause itching, however this itching is often more specific to a certain area of the body (such as the toes, or base of the tail). Your vet can perform a skin scraping of the area to be cultured at a lab to look for any yeast or bacteria. If they are present, a medication given either orally or placed on the affected area can clear up the infection.

In some cases, licking and chewing can actually be due to a boredom or anxiety behavior. Dogs may lick one spot obsessively to the point of creating sores or wounds in the area. Stopping your dog from licking and chewing either through the use of dog booties, no lick strips, T-shirts or even Elizabethan collars can break the habit and give the area time to heal. Licking and chewing can also cause the spread of bacterial infections so should be deterred even if not behaviorally caused.