Top Reasons Why Your Dog Is Losing Hair Around Their Eyes
A sudden loss of fur around your dog’s eyes can have you scratching your head. Ranging from painful eye conditions to skin allergies, there is a list of potential causes of fur loss in our canine friends.
In this article we will get into the details of fur loss in dogs and help you better understand your dog’s sudden hair loss around their eyes.
1.) Skin Allergies
If you have experienced allergies of any kind, you know how irritating they can be. Allergies can lead to itchy and irritated eyes, and they are no different for our canine friends.
These symptoms in our pups can cause them to paw and rub around their eyes, leading to fur loss and irritation. If your dog’s allergies are chronic, this can quickly lead to bald spots around their eyes and other parts of their body.
Dogs can experience environmental allergies, food allergies, and even contact allergies. Some pups can have sensitivities to plant material, dust, fragrances, certain foods, shampoos, and virtually anything in the environment around them.
While hair loss with canine allergies can be a result of constant scratching in the area, it can also occur due to poor skin and coat health that allergies can cause.
Some of the most common signs of allergies in dogs include:
- Redness of the skin
- Eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Chronic ear infections
- Dry skin
- Fur loss
- and even GI upset.
If you think allergies may be the cause of your dog’s hair loss around their eyes, it’s best to speak with your vet about a proper treatment plan.
Fleas are one of the most common causes of itching and fur loss in dogs. Even one flea bite can send a dog into an itching fit, leading to days of skin irritation to follow.
While proper flea prevention can greatly decrease the chance of flea allergies, some fleas can still find a way to bite a dog’s skin and cause serious itching. While flea allergy dermatitis is most commonly seen on the legs and near the base of the tail, fur loss and irritation can occur anywhere, including around the eyes.
A dog with flea allergy dermatitis may experience biting or scratching at their skin, skin redness, fur loss, dry skin and secondary skin infections.
Flea allergy dermatitis can be extremely irritating for our canine friends, so it’s best to speak with your vet if you believe their fur loss around the eyes is due to having fleas.
Mange is another common cause of hair loss around the eyes in dogs and puppies. The most common form of mange that causes fur loss around the eyes is demodex, which is a microscopic mite that is naturally present on a dog’s skin.
Though it is normal for demodex to be present on the skin, an overpopulation of these critters can lead to a serious skin reaction. This overpopulation can occur when a dog is immune compromised, experiencing stress, or has an underlying disease of any kind.
An overpopulation of demodex mites on the skin often begins as fur loss around the eyes, soon making its way around the muzzle and to other parts of the body.
Demodex also causes the skin to become itchy, resulting in even more fur loss over time. Bacteria may also be introduced to injured skin due to constant scratching and biting, often leading to secondary skin infections.
Some breeds are more susceptible to developing demodectic mange than others, but it seems to be most common in young dogs and puppies. Some puppies may grow out of their mange on their own, but most require proper treatment.
This is especially true if your dog develops a skin infection or enlarged lymph nodes as a result of their demodex, as this is a sign of a severe case.
Demodex is diagnosed by performing a skin scraping of the affected areas, and looking at the collected sample under a microscope. Demodex mites can be easily seen under a microscope, and can then be treated appropriately with medicated baths, oral medications, or even injectable treatments.
Some dogs will also require antibiotics if a secondary skin infection has developed. Your dog’s treatment may vary based on the severity of their case, and your vet’s demodex treatment of choice.
4.) Bacterial Skin Infections
Bacterial infections in dogs can lead to fur loss around the eyes in some cases. Skin infections develop when bacteria is introduced to compromised skin, often due to a dog’s scratching.
If your dog is experiencing itching around their eyes or muzzle for any reason, this can cause them to scratch the area to the point of breaking their skin. Once this happens, bacteria can be introduced to the area. Skin infections are usually a result of initial skin irritation, ranging from skin allergies to ectoparasites.
Skin infections in dogs often lead to fur loss, skin redness, wounds on the skin, skin oozing, skin odor, and pain in the area. Skin infections in dogs will often require antibiotic treatment to resolve the issue, making it important to contact your vet if you notice any of these symptoms in your pup.
5.) Fungal Skin Infections
While you may be aware of the fact that bacteria can wreak havoc on your dog’s skin, you may be surprised to learn that fungus can as well. Fungal infections can lead to serious skin irritation and fur loss for our pups, even leading to hair loss around their eyes.
I personally have experience with this issue, as my dog had a nasty case of ringworm that originated around her left eye. This led to a circular lesion of fur loss around her eye, eventually spreading to her muzzle before it was finally treated.
Fungal conditions like yeast infections and ringworm can occur anywhere on a dog’s body, leading to fur loss in many cases. Fungal infections can also cause skin irritation, skin oozing, crusty lesions, dry skin, and other changes to skin and coat appearance.
Fungal infections can either be diagnosed through a skin scraping of the infected area, or performing a culture of a sample of skin. If you think your dog’s hair loss around their eyes is due to a fungal infection, it’s best to speak with your vet.
6.) Eye Injuries
Eye injuries can lead to fur loss around the eyes in some canine companions. Dogs can experience eye injuries due to foreign objects in the eye, pawing at the eye, or even due to contact with other canine friends.
These injuries can lead to serious irritation, causing a dog to paw at their eye in an effort to relive their discomfort. Pawing at the area can often lead to fur loss around the eyes.
A dog with an eye injury may have discharge of the eye, swelling around the eye, redness of the eye, facial sensitivity, and even fur loss around the eye.
These pups will often frantically paw at their face and squint, ranging in frequency based on their level of discomfort. Eye injuries can lead to lasting eye damage in dogs, so it’s important to always seek veterinary care if you think your dog has an eye injury of any kind.
7.) Eye Conditions
Eye conditions can be very painful for our pups. Our dogs can suffer from eye infections, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, dry eye, and many other conditions that can lead to serious pain. Uncomfortable eye conditions can cause a dog to paw at their eye, resulting in fur loss around their eye in some cases.
Eye conditions can be diagnosed through eye exams, eye staining, and eye pressure tests. Symptoms of an eye condition in dogs include squinting, eye discharge, cloudy appearance of the eye, change in eye appearance, eye redness, swelling around the eye, and any other visible changes.
If you think your pup may have an undiagnosed eye condition, it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately.
When Should You Worry About Fur Loss Around Your Dog’s Eye?
If your dog is losing fur around their eyes, you may wonder when it is time to seek veterinary care for this odd occurrence. Fur loss of any kind is usually a symptom of an underlying cause, meaning you should always contact your vet to get to the bottom of it.
Pups with healthy skin and coats should not lose fur around their eyes, and should always receive vet care to determine their source of irritation.
While you should always seek veterinary advice for hair loss around a dog’s eyes, it’s even more critical to do so if your dog is showing any sign of eye injury or irritation.
Eye injuries can lead to lasting damage and vision loss in dogs, and this possibility increases the longer you wait to seek treatment. When it comes to maintaining our dog’s eye health, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How To Diagnose Fur Loss Around Your Dog’s Eyes
If your dog is losing fur around their eyes, there are a few tests that your veterinarian may perform. While this will range based on your dog’s symptoms, there are a few standard go-to’s in terms of diagnostics.
- Skin scraping of the area where the fur is missing
- Skin culture if your vet is fearful of a fungal infection
- Eye staining to the eye to rule out any injury or ulcers
- Eye pressure tests if your vet needs to rule out any underlying eye conditions
Every situation will vary, so it’s best to speak with your vet about which diagnostics they deem necessary.
Treatment Options For Hair Loss Around The Eyes
If your dog has hair loss around their eyes, there are a few ways that your veterinarian may treat the issue. Because there are a few potential causes of your dog’s fur loss, their treatment will vary based on what is diagnosed.
To help you better understand what you can expect, let’s discuss some treatment options for each potential cause.
Allergies in dogs can be treated with daily antihistamines, oral or injectable allergy medications, elimination of the irritant, or with the use of steroids during flare ups. This will vary based on what type of allergy your dog is experiencing, and how severe their case is.
Flea allergy dermatitis can be treated by ridding your dog of their current flea infection, keeping up to date with monthly flea and tick prevention, and treating any secondary skin infections if they are present.
Mange in dogs can be treated with medicated shampoos or dips, oral or injectable anti-parasitics, and treating any secondary skin infections with antibiotics.
Bacterial Skin Infection
Bacterial skin infections in dogs can be treated with appropriate antibiotics, medicated shampoos, and by treating the initial cause of their skin irritation.
Fungal Skin Infections
Fungal skin infections in dogs can be treated with medicated shampoos, antifungal oral medications, or with topical medications.
Eye injuries in dogs can be treated by keeping your dog from pawing at the eye, with medicated eye drops, and with oral medications if needed. This will vary based on the type of eye injury your dog has.
Eye conditions in dogs can be treated or managed by keeping your dog from pawing at the eye, with daily eye drops, and with oral medication if needed. This will vary drastically based on the eye condition your dog has.
Dogs can experience fur loss around their eyes for multiple reasons. Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can better understand your dog’s hair loss going forward!
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.