Learn Why Hair Loss Around Dogs Eyes Are (Life Threatening)

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It’s never easy to watch our dogs get older.

Watching them lose a little bit of energy and a little bit of that “lust for life” as they get older and older is always difficult. We like to remember our furry little family members as the energetic puppies they were when we first got them.

Unfortunately, the inevitable slowdown for our older dogs isn’t the only sign that they are getting a bit up there in age.

Sometimes their physical features change, too – especially when it comes to hair loss.

Even worse news, though, is that sometimes a dog losing hair growth around their eyes isn’t always a sign of the natural aging process.

Sometimes it means something a lot worse – a sign or symptom of more dangerous (and potentially life-threatening) health issues that you need to get out in front of ASAP.

Below we breakdown, some of the conditions that can cause dog hair loss, shining a light on the subject so that you know how to best move forward from here.

Why Is My Dog Losing Hair Around Its Eyes?

For starters, the overwhelming majority of dogs that you are going to come in contact with (including the ones you own) are going to deal with hair loss around their eyes and their face as they get older.

Some dog hair loss is expected as our dogs move from puppyhood into adulthood and later on in their senior years. That’s just the nature of life in the cycle that they go through.

At the same time, though, hair loss around the eyes specifically can also be a very real sign and symptom of a skin problem or skin infection – or something else even worse – that needs to be addressed just as soon as possible.

This is why it is so important that you keep your eyes on your dog and really try to spot when they start to lose hair.

You’ll want to know what else is going on in their lives that may be contributing to these hair loss issues, especially since most serious hair loss around the eye problems are linked to other signs and symptoms that something’s wrong “under the hood” of your animal.

What Triggers Hair Loss Around Dogs Eyes?

Close-up portrait of a papillon breed dog

In this section, we are going to break down some of the most common reasons your dog is losing hair, including the reasons that are pretty common and not at all life-threatening as well as some that definitely deserve a call (if not a visit) to your vet.

Let’s get right into it.

Dirt and Debris

Dogs love to play in the dirt, they love to play in the mud, and they get all kinds of things stuck in their hair and stuck on their body that we wouldn’t want anywhere close to our skin.

That’s just the way that dogs are.

Most of the time, anything that gets stuck near a dog’s eyes or attached to a dog’s skin is going to be sloughed off pretty quickly. Usually they shake it off themselves when it becomes a little bit annoying, but it’s always rubbed or scrubbed off in a couple of days – if not even faster than that.

Dirt and debris that is allowed to stick around a dog’s eyes for extended amount of time, however, will always cause some problems.

These foreign substances are going to either take over one of the more sensitive parts of your dog’s skin. That’s going to cause a lot of skin irritation, and the excess irritation will (inevitably) cause some of the hair around the eyes of your dog to fall out.

All you really have to do to stop your dog from losing hair around the eye when it’s caused by dirt and debris is to give them a quick bath!

Responsible pet owners should be giving their dogs a bath every now and again anyway (every couple of months), so dirt and debris should cause hair loss too often.

Demodex Mange Or Demodectic Mange

Dog abandoned stray sick

Demodex mange (sometimes called Demodex canis) is another common reason that dogs our losing hair around their face and their eyes, and it’s something that even otherwise healthy dogs can be afflicted with if you aren’t careful.

Demodex mange is most often caused by tiny little colonies of mites – skin mites -gathering up with one another on an area of your dog (generally around the eyes) and essentially feeding on your dog’s body.

These parasites love to eat dogs hair and skin, causing all kinds of itchiness and irritation that your dog is inevitably going to want to fight back against.

Every time a sarcoptic mange mite bites or demodex mite down on your dog it’s going to drive them crazy. And every time they get a little nuts your dog may want to rub, scratch, and tear at the area infested with these parasites – and that’s generally going to rip hair right out of their itchy skin.

Combine that with the general sensitivity of the eye area and it’s not hard to understand how this condition could cause so much discomfort.

It’s important that you get out in front of these infections like (yeast infection) just as soon as humanly possible.

Mange mites (when left unchecked) can cause a lot of damage, especially if they are able to spread along the hair follicle on your dog – jumping from the eyes to their nose and the mouth of your animal.

A total takeover can happen when pet owner’s are really irresponsible, causing tremendous damage to their pet along the way.

Even worse news is that mange from these mites can be transmitted from dog to dog, making your furry little family member a carrier. That’s big trouble!

Insecticides and other medications from your vet cannot only stop the cause of this hair loss, but can also guarantee that these kinds of infestations and infections don’t flare up again later down the line.

Pink Eye

Pink eye is one of those bacterial infection issues that everyone can pretty much bald spot from a mile away, a fungal infection that you’re going to recognize instantly because you’ve probably seen it in other dogs for people at least a handful of times in your life.

This kind of inflammation can be caused by a couple of different triggers, including:

Luckily, no matter the cause of pinkeye with your pets the problem can be treated pretty quickly – especially if you schedule a call with your veterinarian.

Bacterial pinkeye infections are usually combated with antibiotics, antibiotics prescribed by a quality veterinarian that recognizes the problem at hand and helps you attack it head on.

Allergic and viral conjunctivitis issues can be a little bit more difficult to get a handle on (if only because of the novelty of each condition), but they too can be brought under control with the help of your vet.

Atopic Dermatitis

It’s one thing to watch as your dog suffers from hair loss issues that make them look a little silly as they get older and age, but it is something else altogether to watch your dog not only deal with here loss problems around the eyes but also watch them deal with a lot of pain and discomfort, too.

Some hair loss around eyes issues is going to be caused by something called atopic dermatitis.

Extreme and fast hair loss is generally a sign of this condition. Other symptoms include flaky skin, extreme itchiness, rubbing, redness – all of which usually first show up around the eye before spreading elsewhere.

This condition is super uncomfortable, similar to the kind of allergic dermatitis that humans get, and is generally going to include symptoms that include extreme hair loss around the eyes in dogs.

Your vet will probably want to take dry skin scraping to properly diagnose atopic dermatitis. They’ll definitely want to make sure this isn’t just allergies, especially given how serious this skin condition can be.

Allergies

Your vet will tell you that most of the time dog’s hair loss around the eyes is triggered by an allergic reaction – generally, to the food your animal is eating, but sometimes to environmental factors or environmental allergy they are exposed to on a regular basis, too.

It’s important that you diagnose things correctly ASAP (especially if you are dealing with food allergies that might not just be causing hair loss, but other serious health issues).

The best way to overcome food and skin allergy problems that are making dogs losing hair around their eyes is to go with elimination diets.

You slowly take things away from their diet to see what causes the reaction to disappear, making notes to find the common causes and confirming that you never feed them that kind of food again!

Flea Activity

If the problem is caused by fleas, you generally don’t have to worry about your pet’s immune system getting attacked – but you will have to worry about the spread of this nasty little bugs.

Flea bite or flea allergy issues usually require a bath to get rid of, but there are a lot of dog safe products out there that can help you with that. A quick dip or two with some flea killer shampoo is usually enough to get the job done!

If the flea infestation has spread before you called the vet and gave your dog a bath, though, you might have to fog or flea bomb your home to clear this problem up permanently.

Ringworm

Ringworm problems can present themselves in a couple of different ways, not the least of which is causing hair loss around eyes, nose, and mouth areas of your pets.

Not only will ringworm be one of the causes of hair loss that your dog has to fight through, but it will also usually cause redness, skin lesions, and extreme itchiness to spread throughout the body of your animal as well.

The really nasty thing about ringworm is that it’s also contagious for human beings.

Yes, you’re reading that right – your dog may actually give you ringworm if you’re not careful!

All you have to do is pet your dog’s hair on a regular basis (something every pet owner does all the time) and the ringworm fungal infection can jump from the dog to you before you even know what’s going on.

In those circumstances isn’t just going to be the dog that’s suffering!

Ringworm is best treated with topical therapy solutions and other medications that get right down to the underlying cause and make sure that the infection is destroyed completely.

Is Dog Hair Loss Around the Eyes a Treatable Problem?

Husky eyes

In the overwhelming majority of situations, hair loss with your dog is definitely going to be a treatable problem – even if it is localized to the area around eyes for the most part.

Sure, you need to properly diagnose the conditions and causes that are triggering your dog’s to lose hair in the surrounding area. Sometimes you’ll be in a fight against allergies, sometimes a fight against bacterial infections, and sometimes you’ll just be in a fight against Father Time.

The important thing to remember here, though, is that there are ways you can combat these hair loss issues (even if the allergies or bacteria look insurmountable at first).

Thankfully, for the most part, the skin problems your dog is fighting through aren’t going to be life threatening.

Yes, any issues causing hair loss (especially around a sensitive area like your dog’s eye) are going to cause some discomfort. And your dog is going to want to dig their eye problem like crazy when fighing through these kinds of cases.

But most of these skin or allergies cases are going to present umissable signs and sympots of an issue to be treated way before things progress to life threatening stages.

That gives you a little bit of extra time to really study what’s going on with your pet’s eye and come up with a plan of action to treat the issue you wouldn’t have had with other canine health emergencies

You’ll generally have time to talk to your vet and figure out the underlying cause triggering these allergies or infection and a plan to boost the immune system of your animal to fight (and beat) before things get rough.

Just make sure you put in a call to the vet as soon as you notice the hair loss, allergies flaring up, or any signs of infection/ear infection. If your dog is suffering you’ve waiting way to long and need to act NOW!

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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.