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10 Best Dog Foods for Hair loss in Dogs in 2019

Every dog owner knows that shedding is just a fact of life. Some dogs shed more than others and certain breeds shed more heavily a few times a year. By now, you’ve probably gotten used to it and vacuuming up dog hair has just become part of your normal cleaning routine.

But what if you start seeing more shedding than usual? Or what about dog hair falling out in clumps? A sudden increase in shedding or large patches of hair loss is definitely not normal and you should talk to your veterinarian about it. There are many potential causes of hair loss in dogs and some of them can become serious if you don’t get them treated. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it still isn’t worth the risk to ignore significant changes in your dog’s body or behavior.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of hair loss in dogs in greater depth. We’ll talk about some of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs and review the options for dog hair loss treatment. We’ll also talk about the role diet plays in reversing hair loss and how to choose the best dog food for hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss in Dogs?

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If your dog gets in a tussle with another dog and loses a chunk of hair, it’s not something to worry about unless there is a wound associated with it. When your dog’s hair starts thinning or falling out, however, that’s another story. Hair loss is called alopecia and it can affect dogs in many ways.

Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs:

  • Allergies
  • Parasite infestation
  • Skin infection
  • Pressure sores
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Genetics

Causes of hair loss in dogs can be either congenital (genetic) or acquired. Because most causes of dog hair loss are acquired, we’ll quickly talk about congenital hair loss first.

You’re undoubtedly familiar with hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested, the American Hairless Terrier, and the Mexican Hairless (Xolo). These are dogs that have been bred to be hairless, so these aren’t the dogs we’re talking about. Some breeds that are genetically predisposed to baldness include Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, and Doberman Pinschers. For these breeds, hair loss is most common in patches on the chest, back, thighs, lower neck, and ears.

As far as acquired causes of hair loss, these are much more common.

Though food allergies in humans are typically associated with digestive symptoms, allergies in dogs commonly cause skin issues and hair loss. Dogs can be allergic to environmental allergens like mold, dust, and pollen or to parasites like mites and fleas. Food allergies are also a possibility, though early symptoms usually include itching which can lead to excessive grooming or biting the area which may then progress to hair loss.

After allergies, two of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs are infestations and infections. Parasite infestations such as fleas, ticks, and mites typically result in hair loss around the eyes, ears, chest, and abdomen and may be accompanied by inflammation, redness, and itching. Fungal and bacterial skin infections like ringworm are also known to cause hair loss in dogs. Symptoms of ringworm include inflammation, a circular pattern of hair loss, and infected crusts of skin.

Cushing’s disease is another common cause of hair loss in dogs. This is also known as hyperadrenocorticism and it affects the adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease usually happens to middle-aged and senior dogs and it is caused by the prolonged exposure of the skin and tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol. In addition to hair loss, symptoms include darkening of the skin and development of a pot belly. Dogs taking corticosteroid drugs have a higher risk for developing this problem.

The final cause of hair loss in dogs is pressure sores. These develop on the elbows and other bony pressure points that frequently come into contact with hard surfaces. The constant pressure and friction on the skin causes a callus to form which may also result in hair loss, cracked skin, and bleeding. These too are more common in older dogs and in large or very heavy breeds.

What Role Does Diet Play in Treatment?

If your dog suddenly develops hair loss, you should talk to your veterinarian. You may notice other symptoms like those listed in the previous section, in which case you should report them to your vet as well. The more information you can give your vet, the better he will be able to diagnose your dog. Once you have a diagnosis, you can start the proper form of treatment.

For hair loss that isn’t caused by an underlying infection or health problem, it may be an issue of diet. If your dog’s diet is low in moisture and omega-3 fatty acids, it could lead to dehydrated skin. Dry skin becomes itchy and the longer it goes on for, the more your dog will react by scratching, licking, and biting the area – this can lead to hair loss. In some cases, dog hair loss is simply a matter of an unbalanced diet or a food allergy or sensitivity.

In cases like these, here are some of the dietary changes you might make to improve the health and condition of your dog’s skin and coat:

  • Switch your dog to a Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) to minimize the risk of a reaction.
  • Transition your dog onto a new dog food made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate (one he hasn’t had before) to resolve food allergies and sensitivities.
  • Improve the overall quality of your dog’s diet – high-quality ingredients are easier to digest, and your dog will be able to utilize the nutrients better, resulting in better health overall.
  • Consider switching to a wet food or add more moisture to your dog’s diet to improve his hydration for healthier skin.
  • Boost the omega-3 fatty acid content of your dog’s diet to improve skin and coat condition.

Before you make any changes to your dog’s diet, check with your veterinarian. If your veterinarian suspects that a food allergy might be to blame, take a look at the ingredients list for your dog’s current food. When shopping for a new recipe, you’ll want to avoid the primary protein and carbohydrate – look for something your dog hasn’t had before or something he hasn’t eaten in a while. When you do find a new dog food, take a good 7 or 10 days to transition your dog onto it to minimize digestive upset.

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food for Hair Loss

All dogs require a balance of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients in their diet. Protein is best from animal sources because it is more digestible and biologically valuable – it also contains all of the essential amino acids your dog can’t synthesize on his own. Healthy fats are best from animal sources as well, though plant oils can be used to balance out the omega-3/omega-6 content. Carbohydrates should be limited and highly digestible with synthetic vitamins and minerals for balance.

Here are some things to look for in a good dog food for hair loss:

  • Rich in high-quality animal protein. Your dog requires a minimum of 18% protein in his diet, but something upwards of 20% is better. Make sure it comes from high-quality animal sources.
  • Blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fatty fish are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs and you can find omega-6s in eggs, poultry, and seeds. Look for a balance of these and consider adding an omega-3 supplement to your dog’s diet.
  • No low-quality fillers or artificial additives. Low-quality grains like corn, wheat, and soy are common food allergens for dogs and artificial additives like flavors, colors, and preservatives can trigger a reaction as well. The more natural your dog’s diet, the better.
  • Complete and nutritionally balanced. Balanced nutrition is essential for optimal health and if your dog’s diet is nutritionally deficient, his skin and coat will show it. Look for the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy on the label and check the ingredients list for quality.

When shopping for dog food, be sure to keep your dog’s individual needs and preferences in mind. If you have a large-breed dog, for example, start with a recipe formulated for large dogs. For puppies, plan to feed your dog a puppy food until he is at least 10 to 12 months old. Senior dogs may have different nutritional needs as well, so keep these things in mind!

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Hair Loss

The best dog food for your dog’s hair loss is one made from wholesome, high-quality ingredients that is complete and nutritionally balanced. A healthy diet is essential for overall health and wellness which manifests in many ways, including the condition of your dog’s skin and coat. Take what you learned from the previous section to shop smart for a new dog food or try one of our suggestions.

Ollie Fresh Food Delivery

Overall Best Dog Food for Hair Loss: Many pet experts agree that fresh food is best for dogs. Because it is prepared fresh and not subjected to high-heat processing like traditional kibble, it retains more of its original nutritional integrity. That means higher-quality nutrition for your dog which contributes to improved overall health and wellness as well as skin and coat health. Ollie is an excellent fresh dog food brand that sends shipments of fresh dog food right to your door. Choose from four vet-crafted recipes made with premium animal proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Each recipe is customized according to your dog’s calorie requirements to ensure that he gets the proper nutrition – all you have to do is open the bag and feed the recommended amount. You can switch recipes or adjust your shipment at any time while resting assured that your dog is getting the best nutrition possible.

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, premium animal proteins, high-quality natural ingredients, customized to your dog’s needs, choose from four recipes
  • Cons: Significantly more expensive than kibble, only four recipes to choose from

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food

Most Popular Dog Food for Hair Loss: Because there are so many dog food formulas out there, it can be hard to choose just one. When you’re not sure where to look, you can always trust Taste of the Wild. This is a reputable pet food company that uses premium-quality ingredients in nutritious formulas designed to nourish your dog’s whole body, inside and out. This Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food is a particularly good choice for dogs suffering from hair loss because it features real salmon as the main ingredient. In addition to being a premium source of animal protein, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. This recipe also contains powerful antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables like blueberries, tomatoes, and raspberries for strong immunity and overall health. To ensure balanced nutrition, you’ll also find vitamin supplements and chelated minerals. You couldn’t ask for more!

  • Pros: Rich in omega fatty acids, several premium sources of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, prebiotic fibers and probiotics, complete and nutritionally balanced
  • Cons: Some dogs don’t require a grain-free diet, somewhat more expensive than average

American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe

Most Affordable Dog Food for Hair Loss: High-quality dog food can get pretty expensive, but American Journey is a brand dedicated to affordability. Unlike many low-cost brands, American Journey still uses high-quality ingredients like real animal proteins, healthy fats, and digestible whole-grain carbohydrates. This American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe is a great choice if you’re trying to help your dog regain his skin and coat health because the first ingredient is real, deboned salmon. This formula is packed with premium protein for lean muscle maintenance and is balanced with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. You’ll also find that this formula contains plenty of natural fiber from sources like carrots, flaxseed, blueberry, oatmeal, and brown rice for encourage healthy and regular digestion. This recipe contains plenty of antioxidants as well as vitamin supplements and chelated minerals to ensure balanced nutrition and optimal nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: Rich in omega fatty acids, premium sources of protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, prebiotics and probiotics, chelated minerals
  • Cons: May be too high in fiber for some dogs, contains some plant protein as a main ingredient

Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal LID Formula

Best Dog Food for Hair Loss and Sensitive Stomach: If you suspect that your dog is suffering from food allergies as the cause of his hair loss, you might want to switch to a Limited Ingredient Diet. A LID will reduce the risk of triggering food allergies and sensitivities because there are fewer ingredients involved. This Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal LID Formula is a great choice because, in addition o being a LID, is packed with premium animal proteins that are rich in omega fatty acids. This recipe is made with trout and salmon from the cold waters of the northwestern USA, so you know it is full of natural flavor and healthy nutrients. It contains grain-free carbohydrates like peas, chickpeas, and flaxseed as well as a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, it contains a total of 30% protein and 14% fat with just 418 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Limited number of ingredients, high-quality animal protein, blend of omega fatty acids, highly digestible, complete and balanced, high in protein (30%)
  • Cons: Not a single source protein recipe, not all dogs require a grain-free diet

6 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Hair Loss

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the right fit for your dog, don’t worry – there are plenty of other options out there. Here are several more high-quality dog foods that can help your dog regrow a healthy and shiny coat. Check them out!

Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dry Food

If you like the idea of feeding your dog fresh or raw food but you don’t have the budget, there might be an alternative that is a little more affordable. This Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dry Food is still pricy when compared to the average kibble, but it is not as expensive as raw food. It consists of high-protein kibble infused with freeze-dried raw ingredients to deliver a powerful punch of protein and natural flavor, not to mention premium-quality nutrition in a highly bioavailable form. This recipe is grain-free to reduce the risk of allergies and sensitivities and is uniquely formulated to support skin and coat health. It contains several premium sources of animal protein including cage-free chicken, menhaden fish meal, and chicken liver as well as a whole host of natural ingredients like flaxseed, chia seed, cranberries, and pumpkinseeds. It is also a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble with freeze-dried raw ingredients, multiple sources of premium protein, rich in omega fatty acids, highly digestible formula, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Expensive compared to average kibble, higher in calories than average (529 per cup)

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula Grain-Free Dry Food

High-quality nutrition doesn’t always have to come with a high price tag. If you’re looking for a recipe formulated to resolve your dog’s hair loss but you don’t want to spend a fortune, consider this Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula Grain-Free Dry Food. This formula features wild-caught salmon as the main ingredient supplemented with fish meal as a concentrated source of animal protein. It contains a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as digestible carbohydrates. You’ll find that this formula contains supplemental fiber as well as naturally occurring microorganisms to support healthy and regular digestion and it is supplemented with prebiotics. Overall, this formula is a rich source of high-quality animal protein, healthy fats, and fiber but still low in calories at 337 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Wild-caught salmon first ingredient, more affordable than many recipes, low in calories, blend of omega fatty acids, highly digestible ingredients, supplemented with fiber and probiotics
  • Cons: Contains an unnamed source of protein (fish meal), not all dogs need grain-free diets

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe

The key to a healthy dog with a healthy coat is a wholesome, balanced diet. That is exactly what this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe provides, and it is full of flavor too! This recipe features fresh salmon as the primary ingredient supplemented with chicken meal as a concentrated source of protein. It contains whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice and sorghum with supplemental sources of fiber like rice bran and flaxseed. This recipe contains natural sources for key nutrients like dried apples, blueberries, and carrots but is still fortified with essential vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Overall, it provides a total of 22% protein and 14% fat with 3.5% fiber and just 338 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for whole body health, fresh salmon first ingredient, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, natural sources for key nutrients, blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Cons: Fairly expensive compared to average kibble, not a single source protein recipe

Authority Skin, Coat, & Digestive Health Fish & Potato Formula

If you’re looking for a recipe specifically formulated for your dog’s skin and coat health, consider this Authority Skin, Coat, & Digestive Health Fish & Potato Formula. This recipe features deboned whitefish as the first ingredient, a natural source of premium animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It is made with plenty of natural fiber as well to ensure complete and balanced nutrition as well as optimal nutrient absorption. You’ll find that this recipe provides a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with a unique blend of antioxidants as well to support strong immunity and overall health. This recipe is completely free from low-quality fillers and artificial additives but rich in real meat flavor.

  • Pros: High in animal protein, balanced with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, formulated for skin and digestive support, limited number of primary ingredients, highly digestible
  • Cons: Somewhat expensive compared to average, somewhat higher in calories than average kibble

Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe Dry Food

Petcurean is known for creating high-quality product lines with a particular focus. The Go! Solutions line is designed to address specific issues like, in this case, skin and coat problems. This Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe Dry Food features premium-quality salmon as the primary ingredient and a single source of protein. It also contains unique carbs like oatmeal, whole oats, and potatoes to further minimize the risk for triggering an allergic reaction. This recipe is packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber which is a powerful recipe for balanced nutrition. You’ll also find that it is fortified with vitamins and chelated minerals but still contains natural sources for key nutrients as well like apples. Overall, this recipe provides 22% protein and 12% fat with 4% fiber and 427 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Single source of animal protein, high in omega fatty acids, highly digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, supplemental fiber and probiotics
  • Cons: Somewhat higher in calories than average kibble, expensive compared to most kibble

Blackwood 5000 Catfish Meal & Pearled Barley Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula

Though you may not have heard of it until now, Blackwood is an excellent brand of dog food and one you should remember. This brand offers a variety of holistic, natural recipes prepared in small batches to ensure nutritional quality. All of their formulas are hand-crafted in the USA using all-natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals. If your dog suffers from hair loss, we recommend this Blackwood 5000 Catfish Meal & Pearled Barley Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula. This formula contains 23% protein and 12% fat with 4% fiber. It features a blend of catfish meal and chicken meal to deliver a powerful punch of premium animal protein and natural flavor. It is supplemented with whole grains like barley, oats, and millet to deliver plenty of fiber for healthy digestion. It contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health, plus it is fortified with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure balanced nutrition and optimal nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: Formulated for sensitive skin, rich in premium animal protein, natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, balanced with omega-6s, complete and balanced formula
  • Cons: Somewhat high in calories for low fat content, fairly expensive compared to some dog food brands

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the deal with dog hair falling out in clumps? There are many potential causes for hair loss in dogs, but large patches of hair loss may be cause for concern. For many causes of hair loss, it develops slowly in several parts of the body or starts with an overall thinning of the hair. When if you notice dog hair falling out in clumps, it could be due to a skin infection or a condition like Cushing’s disease. Talk to your veterinarian.
  • Can dogs lose hair from stress? Even though your dog doesn’t work a 9-to-5 job and then come home to feed the kids, he can still be affected by stress. Sudden changes to your dog’s routine or environment can trigger stress, as can physiological changes like pregnancy or a parasite infection. Sometimes a sudden change in your dog’s diet can cause digestive and psychological stress, leading to physical symptoms. For pregnant and nursing dogs in particular, stress and nutritional deficiency can lead to widespread hair loss known as “blowing the coat.”
  • What does mange look like in dogs? Mange is a type of skin disease that is commonly seen in dogs who are stray, neglected, or abused. It is caused by two types of mites – scabies and demodex mites. Sarcoptic mange or scabies is caused by an eight-legged, circular-shaped mite called Sarcoptes scabiei and it is highly contagious. Female mites burrow into the dog’s skin to lay eggs which hatch after about 3 weeks and feed on the dog’s skin cells. Symptoms include extreme itchiness, redness and rash, thick yellow crusts, and hair loss. Demodectic mange is caused by a cigar-shaped mite called Demodex canis. These mites are found naturally in a dog’s skin but the immune system generally keeps them in check. When the dog gets sick, the mites have an opportunity to reproduce which can lead to a painful skin reaction.
  • Are there any dog hair loss home remedies? If your dog develops hair loss, you should talk to your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t some underlying issue. In some cases, it may be due to nothing more than a skin sensitivity or dry skin. Increasing the moisture and fat content of your dog’s diet may help and there could be some dog hair loss home remedies to consider. Using a humidifier at home can increase the moisture content in the air and brushing your dog more often will help distribute the natural oils produced in his skin that help keep the hair hydrated and conditioned. You might try giving your dog an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or could even try applying a light layer of oil. Coconut oil for dog hair loss is a good option.
  • What is the best dog hair loss treatment? If you’re wondering how to get a dog’s hair to grow back, your veterinarian is the best person to talk to. Your vet will be able to diagnose any underlying conditions causing your dog’s hair loss and will help you find the best dog hair loss treatment to remedy the problem. Different causes for hair loss require different treatments, so don’t try something without your vet’s approval. In addition to treating the underlying issue, you might make some healthy changes to your dog’s diet as well to support his skin and coat condition.

Dog hair loss is generally nothing to worry about when it takes the form of normal shedding. If your dog suddenly starts losing clumps of fur, or if you notice patches of hair loss, it might be time to go to the veterinarian. Your vet will help you determine the cause of your dog’s hair loss and will tell you whether it’s something to worry about or not.

You can also think about switching to a better dog food for hair loss. Take what you’ve learned here to start shopping around or simply choose one of our top picks above. Best of luck to you and your dog!

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