Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Allergies to the environment or foods, skin infections and pain may all cause your dog to lick and chew at an area. Checking for external allergens such as fleas and ticks or grasses and pollens may alert you to a cause. You may also want to check her food for common allergenic ingredients such as wheat, corn or soy. Switching foods or starting a daily allergy medicine may provide her some relief. If you see redness, oozing of debris or pain at the area of the chewing, it may indicate an infection or other problem, and should be looked at by a vet to determine the cause. It is also a good idea to place an Elizabethan (cone) collar on your dog until the problem is resolved to prevent continued chewing and allow the area to heal without more bacteria being introduced into it.

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.
There are many types of parasites and mites that can cause hair loss on the back. Examples are mange (from mites), fleas, ringworm, chiggers, and mosquitos. Another cause of hair loss is an allergic reaction to food, medication, shampoo, or just about anything.
Stress from change or separation anxiety can adversely affect your dog and he may self-mutilate by chewing his fur off. Dogs require companionship and stimulation. If your dog is starting to chew on his fur and no underlying medical condition is apparent, he may be lonely or bored.
Most of the time, it is nothing to be concerned about, but it is still recommended to take your feline friend to a vet for a general health checkup. Reasons your cat may be losing hair could be a poor diet, allergies, fleas and ticks, stress, or even hypothyroidism.
Losing hair on your legs is also connected with a number of health issues, like poor circulation, diabetes, thyroid conditions, fungal infections, folliculitis, hormone changes, and pituitary gland disorders.
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.
One of the most common reasons why dogs eat fur is due to parasites. Ticks, fleas, worms, and mange can all cause itchy patches on your dog`s skin. To get rid of the itch, your dog may excessively groom a specific spot in the hope of ridding themselves of the nasty parasite.
In localized cases, it shows up as patches of hair loss and red, scaling skin. In generalized cases, the entire body may be covered with redness, infections, scaling, swelling, and crusts. Often the dog loses most, if not all, hair.
Swimmer syndrome is a congenital condition that can occur in young kittens, causing the legs (typically the hind limbs) to splay laterally. The kitten may have a frog-like posture, with the hips jutting out to the side of the body and the feet facing sideways, rather than placed underneath the body.
The haunches and back legs are sturdy, poised for running or jumping. The entire rear quarters are covered with fur, which may be sparser in the very last part of the tummy. When walking or running, the rear limbs of younger cats should flow smoothly with no evidence of stiffness or pain.
Human medications such as Neosporin, hydrocortisone, and Vaseline should NOT be used. Topical creams and ointments tend to cause dogs to lick the area even more, so they should be avoided if possible.
To best support your dog and healthy hair growth, feed a diet that`s rich in animal protein. The amino acids and fatty acids present in animal protein play an important role in hair growth and can be extremely beneficial if you want to help you rest regrow his coat. Plus, look for a blend that`s full of antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar is recommended as a natural home remedy for dog hair loss because it has antibacterial and antifungal properties that could potentially get rid of any unwanted organisms.
Postclipping alopecia is characterized by lack of hair regrowth after close clipping (surgical procedures, grooming). This disease usually affects Northern breeds such as Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, but can also be seen in Golden retrievers and other breeds.
Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a component of two important coenzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) [22].
When you remove unwanted hair it does not affect the rate it grows back. For example, if you remove leg hair it will still grow back 0.27mm a day. Unless, of course, you are using a permanent hair removal method that will eventually halt hair growth.
Addison`s disease in dogs (also called hypoadrenocorticism) occurs when your dog`s adrenal glands aren`t producing adequate levels of corticosteroid hormones. If diagnosed and treated appropriately these dogs can live a long, happy life. The adrenal glands are two small glands next to the kidneys.
As the disease progresses, dogs lose muscle and become weak. Owners might notice a thinning of the skin, lesions on the skin, and hair loss on the flanks, neck, and perineum. Obesity and lack of energy are also symptoms.
Sprays and aerosols containing syngergized pyrethrins should kill mites immediately on contact, though the treatment will only remain effective for up to a few hours. Insecticide sprays containing permethrin or bifenthrin are effective against many mites and should retain their killing properties for several weeks.
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.
Signs and symptoms of pica in dogs

When your dog has pica, a clear sign is any complications caused by eating non-food items. Items can get stuck in the throat, stomach, or intestines and lead to symptoms such as: Vomiting. Decreased appetite.

Eating hair or fur is something that is not healthy. This kind of behavior is actually quite dangerous to your dog`s health. Aside from the chronic hair loss that might happen, pulling out and eating their own hair can lead to something that is called acral lick dermatitis which is also known as lick granulomas.
Symptoms of mange in dogs

Sarcoptic mange: Intense itching, hair loss and skin infections. Demodectic mange: Hair loss, skin thickening and skin infections. Otodectic mange: Scratching around head and ears, head shaking, dark discharge and unpleasant odour from the ears.

Initially, a dog with sarcoptic mange scratches constantly, making the skin under the fur red and irritated. Over time though, sarcoptic mange leads to hair loss, open sores or scabs, and crusting or thickening of the skin. The open sores may get infected and become smelly.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My sister’s dog is digging the hair off from his legs. Any advice?
ANSWER : A. Biting and chewing to the point of hair loss can be caused by a number of things. Allergies, skin infections, and even metabolic illnesses can all cause the skin to become bothersome, or hair to be lost. In some cases, the behavior of licking or chewing at the hair can become chronic, and lead to infections or sores on the leg.

It is best to have your sister bring her dog in to have the legs looked at. Your vet can check for any signs of infection, allergy or even external parasites and provide treatment for relief. If there is no apparent cause, your vet may also recommend a blood test to check for internal illness as the cause.

Until you can get to the vet, it is best to prevent the dog from licking or scratching at the area. An Elizabethan collar (cone) is best to stop the behavior and allow the legs to rest some until they can be examined. If there is any dirt or debris in the area, a warm clean washcloth can be used to keep the area clean and prevent secondary infection until it can be examined.

Q. My golden bit off the hair on her hind legs and she cannot find any relief.
ANSWER : A. Allergies to the environment or foods, skin infections and pain may all cause your dog to lick and chew at an area. Checking for external allergens such as fleas and ticks or grasses and pollens may alert you to a cause. You may also want to check her food for common allergenic ingredients such as wheat, corn or soy. Switching foods or starting a daily allergy medicine may provide her some relief. If you see redness, oozing of debris or pain at the area of the chewing, it may indicate an infection or other problem, and should be looked at by a vet to determine the cause. It is also a good idea to place an Elizabethan (cone) collar on your dog until the problem is resolved to prevent continued chewing and allow the area to heal without more bacteria being introduced into it.

Q. Russian blue mix cat – usually velvet soft coat but hair on back hind qtrs. is thinning, remaining hair seems less velvety than normal
ANSWER : A. Changes in coat appearance can be caused by a number of things. In older cats, hair loss or changes in coat and skin confirmation may indicate a metabolic issue such as thyroid problems. Cats can begin to lose hair and may also show other changes such as weight changes or appetite changes. Blood work is usually done to check for this, and most pets do very well with a daily medication treatment.

Hair loss can also be caused by mites on the skin, external parasites or even skin and fungal infections. These may cause red bumps or sores to appear on the skin in addition to the hair loss and coat changes. Your vet can take a skin scraping of the area to check for mites and infections, and a preventive flea treatment can remove any external parasites. If an infection or mites are present, your vet can also prescribe an antibiotic or topical cream to treat.

After any treatment it may take a month or two for completely bald patches to grow back in. This is normal as the skin and follicles need some time to heal prior to beginning the hair growth cycle again.

Q. Year 3 my dog loses patches of hair on back, stomach and neck. Vet has tested, but has not found anything. Patches are a red and scaly by hair lin
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. Dachshund has symetrical hair loss since aged 6 mth now 1 treated for mange had testicle removed from abdo still no better what’s next best step ?
ANSWER : A. Has hormonal disease like hypothyroidism been ruled out? That is a hormonal disease that is common causes of symmetrical hair loss, and it can be genetic, so you would see it in a dog that’s very young like yours. I agree that treating for mange was also a good idea, since that can cause hair loss as well and sometimes we can’ actually find the mites on a skin scraping.

Was a biopsy performed on the testicle? Because intra-abdominal testicles frequently turn into Sertoli cell tumors, which also cause symmetrical hair loss. If a biopsy was performed you should know for sure whether that was the cause of the hair loss or not. If the testicle wasn’t cancerous and removing it did not resolve the hair loss then the next step is a skin biopsy, unfortunately. Sounds frustrating – good luck.

Q. Cat has very tiny scab like attachments to hair of under neck. Some attachments are golden in color and some are reddish in color. Cat scratches some
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. My chocolate lab keeps biting at her legs until the hair has disappeared .I’ve change her diet completely .I now cook her food and she is still bi
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. For the past few months my dog has slowly licked most all of his hair off his legs and lower belly. The skin is now dotted with red sore spots.
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.