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Hair Loss

Pug Hair Loss


While this breed is a very heavy shedder that will result in fur from the entire body falling off evenly, this section covers the more specific issue of hair loss on a particular region of a Pug's body.

Some Common Issues Seen with This Are:

Thinning hair in specific areas- This will be in one or several specific areas of the body. Owners may notice that the coat looks a bit thin as some skin may show through more so than other areas. 

This may occur just about anywhere including the arm pits, spots on the legs, areas of the back and even on the top of the head.
Thinning hair in specific areas- This will be in one or several specific areas of the body. Owners may notice that the coat looks a bit thin as some skin may show through more so than other areas. 

This may occur just about anywhere including the arm pits, spots on the legs, areas of the back and even on the top of the head.

Irritated skin - Once the hair thins down enough for owners to have a close look, you are often able to notice that the skin underneath the affected balding area is pink, swollen and/or has a rash. This is not always the case, however in most instances hair loss and skin problems go hand in hand.

Scratching - It may be scratching and chewing at himself that causes a Pug's hair to thin in a certain spot or an underlying cause may be causing an intense itch that also triggers hair follicles to fall out.

Odd patterns of hair loss - Unlike shedding in which there is essentially an even loss of fur over the entire body, there may be circular patterns of hair thinning or other unusual shapes where the coat is becoming bald.

The 8 Top Reasons a Pug May Have Hair Loss

There are many reasons why a dog's coat will thin and become bald in some spots, however we are going to discuss the most common reasons seen with the Pug dog breed.

1) Skin Problems - Fur consists of 3 main elements: the follicle, bulb and the shaft. The follicle of fur is what is underneath the skin. The shaft is the strands of fur that you visibly see. The bulb is at the base of the follicle, deep within the skin. If a Pug is having issues that affect the skin, this will have a direct impact on the health of the hair shaft's bulb. In turn, the strength and integrity of hairs can weaken to the point of falling out.

2) Parasites - The most common parasite that causes hair loss with Pug dogs is demodectic mange. There are different types of this mite infestation that may cause hair loss around the eye area, paws or other parts of the body. In some cases, the balding areas will begin to crust over.

Ringworm (which is a fungus) is also a possibility. The telltale signs of this are circular bald spots that appear on the head, paws, ears or limbs. They may have a red spot in the middle and the area may or may not crust over.

Read more about Pug dog skin problems.

3) Thyroid Issues - Both low level of hormones (hypothyroidism) or high levels (hyperthyroidism) can cause hair loss. With this issue, problems are often seen over larger areas of the Pug's coat and are not concentrated in one area. If this is the cause, hair is often dry and brittle.

4) Stress - This is an emotional breed and for that reason the Pug is highly susceptible to stress related conditions. Major changes such as a loss of a family member (human or pet), moving to a new home, severe levels of separation anxiety can really throw the body off kilter. 

When a Pug is highly stressed, a condition called telogen effluvium may develop, in which large number of coat follicles are forced into a prolonged resting phase. One to two months afterward those hairs may then fall out, especially when the dog is bathed or brushed. Since this is a delayed reaction, a Pug that suffered through a bout of stress may only show this symptom of hair loss a couple of months afterward once things have settled down.

When all test results are normal, this is often the cause. If the triggers have been resolved, the coat often grows back to its normal dense and shiny state of health.
5) Allergies - Either seasonal, contact or food allergies may affect both skin and coat. Many allergens cause itchiness and in turn the Pug will scratch to the point of hair loss. Contact allergies from shampoo, conditioner, carpet/floor cleaners and laundry detergent are a typical cause that will directly affect the coat.

6) Diabetes - Seen in both adolescent and adult Pugs, most owners notice the signs of increased thirst, weakness and weight changes first. A thinning or dulled coat is also a sign.

7) Cushing's disease - This is a disease in which the adrenal glands over-produce too much cortisol hormone. This most often affects Pug dogs over the age of 6 but can be seen in younger Pugs as well. Other signs of this include: Bruising, increased thirst, increased urination and weakness.

8) Folliculitis - This is an infection of the hair follicles that may be accompanied by areas of puss, crusting on the skin where the fur is thinning. In some cases, spots may become bald and weeks later the sores and blisters of puss will appear. This is typically treated with a round of antibiotics.

Treatment for Coat Loss with a Pug

First and foremost, it will be important for the veterinarian to run tests to find the underlying cause of hair loss and treatment will vary accordingly.

It is not uncommon for a vet to have an inconclusive finding and this can cause obvious frustration for owners. Many cases of hair loss will resolve on their own, particularly if some steps are taken to help keep the skin and coat healthy and to rule out possible causes of stress and other triggers. Here are some tips:

1) For any hot spots of irritated skin, hair loss patches or both, a concentrated salve to repair damaged skin and most often used in conjunction with melatonin can help restore the coat as well. Once the skin is healthy, the hair follicles can function as they should, re-growing and filling in (see below for recommended products).  
2) Owners tend to shy away from baths for fear that it will aggravate the coat and cause further hair loss. And it is true that a Pug will shed more during and right after a bath. However, if you use a soothing and restorative shampoo and conditioner, it will add needed moisture and offer soothing relief. It is an important part of getting the coat back to health.

Until the area has healed, supply your Pug with extra padding to cushion parts of the body where the coat is thinner. A baby blanket - first washed with hypo-allergenic detergent - is the perfect size for this breed and offers an extra level of protection for sore areas.

4) The supplement of Omega 3,6,9 can help. We recommend the type that comes in capsule form that can be broken open and sprinkled on food.

5) Rubbing vitamin D oil or baby oil into balding areas often does not help; it only serves to clog pores and can impede hair growth.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, you'll really love The GIANT Book of Pug Care.
You may also be interested in:

The best way to groom a Pug - Keeping all areas of the body properly cleaned (eyes, ears, genital area, etc.), nails trimmed, paws & nose protected and the coat clean and shiny will all work together to keep your Pug healthy and happy.
Healthy snacks for a Pug dog - With a tendency to become overweight quickly, choosing low calorie snacks for this breed is an important part of care.
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