Bald Spots on My Dog

bald spot dog
bald spot dog
Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Help! My dog is going bald!

Dogs losing hair is normal. Shedding is common for most dogs. Some dogs will even go through intense shedding periods where they are losing clumps of hair. But there is a difference between shedding and balding. There are lot of reasons why your dog may have alopecia (hair loss):

 

What do you call it when your dog won’t stop licking a spot? It is called worrying the spot. It is called this because it is often a sign of anxiety or has become a habit. However, worrying can also be a symptom of an underlying problem. The biggest problem with worrying is that it leads to bald spots and the creation of sores. Your dog will lick and nibble a spot so much that they create a sore. Since it is in their nature to want to clean and sooth the sore by licking it, they continue to worry the area which gives it no ability to heal.

 

Reasons for Hair Loss in Dogs

Allergies- Having an allergic reaction to food or the environment can trigger hair loss, or can cause itching that leads to your dog worrying the area.

Fleas- Fleas are the primary cause of hair loss in dogs. If your dog has a flea infestation this not only itches but because of the scratching can create sores. Your dog can literally scratch their hair off or worry it off through licking and nibbling on itchy areas. If your dog is allergic to fleas their reaction to a bite might be stronger and sometimes it only takes one bite to trigger an allergic reaction that can lead to a bald spot. The best way to treat fleas is to use Frontline Flea and Tick treatment. This is also the best way to prevent fleas.

Cushings Disease- Cushings Diseases is caused by the overproduction of cortisol. It is not an overly common disease and is typically seen is dogs over the age of 6. Hair loss is a primary symptom. If the condition of your dogs hair suddenly gets really bad and starts falling out you should have the vet test for Cushings. 

Ringworm- Ringworm is a fungus that causes hair loss around the spot of infection. This is treated with a cream to kill the fungus. Once the fungus is cleared up the hair will grow back.

Mites- Mites like to bite on areas with thin skin such as around the ears and eyes. Their bites both irritate and itch and can lead to hair loss in those areas. Often times treating mites requites an oral or topical medication.

Pressure Sores- Pressure sores are more common on older or overweight dogs. They will get bald spots on their elbows or other more bony parts of the body that come into regular contact with the floor. Over time, the regular pressure on those spots cause the skin to thicken and that is when hair falls out. If the skin is really thick and dry you can apply moisturizer to the spots, but it is not likely the hair will grow back.

Anxiety- There are a lot of dogs that will worry a spot bald due to anxiety habits. This is more common in dogs that are left alone or in single dog households. If a dog had a regular sore in one spot they can also develop a worrying habit. If your dog is worrying from anxiety try giving them some rescue remedy to help quell their anxiety, a toy to play with, more regular exercise, or take a look at these great tips for helping your dog manage anxiety. If your dog won’t stop worrying a spot you may want to try a Elizabethan collar. This will prevent them from being able to lick.

 

If you have any sudden hair loss in your dog it is a good idea to contact your Albuquerque veterinarian. Unless you know this is from anxiety it is typically a symptom of something else going on and you will want to make sure to get your dog treated.

 

 

Why is My Cat Mad?

aggressive cats
Image by christels from Pixabay

We all talk about how cats are crazy. How many meme’s have you seen about crazy cat behavior? But what happens when typical crazy behavior changes to actually aggressive behavior? Why does a perfectly sweet cat become not so sweet?

There are few different reasons why a nice cat can become a mean cat:

  • Illness is one of the biggest problems. Cats can’t tell you when they are feeling poorly. They can’t come up to you and say hey mama I don’t feel good, or something hurts. You know how we get cranky when we don’t feel good or when we are in pain, they are the same way. In fact, being aggressive is often their way of telling you, hey! I don’t feel good.
  • Unaltered males can be more aggressive. Unaltered males are males that have not been neutered, meaning they still have their testicles and can still breed. This is also known as being “intact”. Intact males have more hormones running through them and these hormones can cause them to be more aggressive towards other cats. Even having one intact male can affect the behavior of all your other cats. This means that one intact male can cause your neutered males, or females, to become more aggressive. Neutering your cat will fix this pretty much immediately, at least for your other cats. However, if you wait until a cat is older before neutering them their personality can get set in place and neutering may not get rid of all the aggressive behavior and you may have to look at doing some behavioral work with them.
  • Amenities. Cats have high standards. They will not graciously put up with substandard amenities. Your cat may be acting aggressively because there aren’t enough litter boxes, or water dishes, or places for them to sit. If you give them more space and access to their needs they will often calm down.
  • Socialization. A big reason for aggressive cats is lack of socialization. Have you ever met a feral cat and noticed that they do not seem to want your attention. This is because they have not been around people enough, or they have not received enough positive attention from people. If your cat is primarily aggressive when someone tries to touch them, it could be that they need to be more socialized.

How to Deal with Aggression in your Cat

A lack of socialization or bad experiences with people is the primary reason for aggression in cats, especially if you are seeing it in a cat you just adopted. Your cat needs to learn to trust you. Part of doing this is not forcing the cat to be with you. Show them that you are a safe place to be. NEVER HIT THEM! Even if they are being aggressive, do not hit them. This will not teach them to be less aggressive and can make them more aggressive. At best hitting them will teach them to fear you and then they will still be aggressive when they are cornered.

If you have put up a second litter box and another water dish, you have tried being gentle and building trust, they are neutered, but they are still being aggressive, it is time to take your cat to the vet. Aggression is always a sign that something is wrong the hard part is figuring out what is wrong. Often times a health issue can be the root of the issue. At any time if your cat goes from being nice to regularly aggressive it is a good idea to take him to the vet. Your vet will also have tips to help deal with behavioral aggression if the aggression is not health related.

Vetco in Albuquerque offers low cost spay and neuter as well as low cost well animal veterinary care. Take a look at our pet care promotions page for extra savings on our veterinary services.

Why Do Cats Lay on Paper?

cat on paper
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Cats are known for wonderfully weird behavior. Its part of the reason we love them. They are weirdos! One of the more inexplicable is why they lay on paper? It seems like every time there is a paper on the floor on on a table, and I don’t mean paper in a box, they are going to sit on it. What is that about?

Despite this seeming like weird behavior there is one good reason and one very cat reason for this sitting.

The good reason:

The good reason is that paper is a natural insulator. This means that wherever you have paper sitting, that spot is a little bit warmer than the other spots in the surrounding area. Cats love to sit in warm spots. How often do you find your cat laying in a sun spot, no matter how awkward a place that sun spot might be? A cats comfortable temperature is warmer than ours by about 15 to 20 degrees. This means that your cat is always a bit cold. So it makes sense that if they are always cold, why they would seek out the warm spots.

Where this theory falls apart is that a cat will sit on a piece of paper instead of a warm blanket.

The silly reason:

So maybe it is attention seeking? When they sit on the paper we look at them like they are weirdos and give them some attention. We especially do this if they sit on a paper that we are reading.

Another theory is that the paper is an invisible box and we know how much cats love boxes.

Ultimately, we don’t know the real reason. Temperature is the most likely reason but ultimately cats are fabulously weird and that is what we have to chalk it up to but it doesn’t hurt anything so let them sit.