As our dog Elsie’s allergy sensitivities increased, her fur became dry and brittle. Her hair became thin around her neck, behind her ears, above her tail and on her hips. Much like an aging, old man, it got to where you could see through her hair to her skin. It was a pretty sad scene.
I recall one spring day (at the height of allergy season), I took Elsie for a walk and ran into an acquaintance. Elsie was young and excitable at the time and started marching around in circles, pulling on her leash – as she would often do when I’d stop to chat with someone.
As we exchanged small talk, this fellow looked at Elsie and his face morphed into a concerned, almost angry expression. I looked down too, to make sure she wasn’t doing something embarrassing. She was just wiggling and wagging from what I could see – nothing unusual. He then said, “You really should loosen her collar. It’s making all of her hair fall out.”
I recall being shocked at his statement; an emotion that was immediately followed by anger. I tried to explain that she had allergies that were causing the hair loss, but my efforts were a waste of time and energy. He just nodded and continued on his way. I’m sure it was much easier for him to believe that I was an uncaring dog owner, rather than try to understand the frustrating complexities of dog allergies.
Hair loss is a common symptom of dog allergies. Although seasonal hair loss and shedding is normal for dogs, if your pup’s hair is thinning in patches, be sure to have them checked out. Be aware that hair loss can also be related to mange, ringworm, or other non-allergy problems, so visit your vet before jumping to any conclusions.
I’m happy to say that with Elsie’s current allergy treatments (allergy testing & allergy shots), her hair has grown back wonderfully. Her bald, thinning coat is now plush and glossy – well, at least as plush as a Boxer can be. I’m also happy to say that I don’t run into that know-it-all fellow on walks anymore. I’m sure if I would, he’d take a look at Elsie’s plush coat and pat himself on the back for giving me such good and effective advice!