When Goldie starts to lose some of that beautiful flaxen hair, whether one strand at a time or in bunches, a skin condition might be the culprit. Dry skin could be the cause of the hair loss, or it might be a symptom of some other underlying condition.
One of the most common causes of both dry skin and hair loss in golden retrievers is allergies. An allergic reaction can cause Goldie to scratch at itchy spots on her skin or even to chew the inflamed areas. Unfortunately, goldens are prone to skin allergies. You might also notice changes in the color or thickness of the skin, and the hair loss might begin quickly or increase over time. If you suspect Goldie suffers from a skin allergy, make an appointment with a veterinarian to diagnose and treat the problem.
Underactive thyroids are common among golden retrievers, and both hair loss and dry skin are possible symptoms. Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder found in goldens, and it requires diagnosis by a veterinarian. Depending on the severity of Goldie's case, she might require medication, diet changes and other treatments to reverse the symptoms and restore her health. Hair loss caused by hypothyroidism usually occurs behind the ears and along the flanks, and is often accompanied by obesity, lethargy and infertility.
Owners of golden retrievers dread finding hot spots; sadly they are common in this breed. If Goldie scratches herself because of dry skin, the breaks in the skin could lead to the bacterial infections that case hot spot lesions. As soon as you notice patches of hair loss, bleeding, red skin or unpleasant smells, make an appointment with Goldie's vet.
Goldie requires regular grooming and bathing to keep her coat healthy. If you notice dandruff, dry skin patches and hair loss, brush her more often with a bristle brush and help her remove dander with an undercoat rake. These tools help increase circulation and expose the surface of the skin to air, which might reverse the problem.
Dry skin often causes itchiness in golden retrievers. Goldie will scratch if she feels the need, and this will loosen hair. Even if she shows no other symptoms, have her evaluated by a veterinarian. When you have determined no serious underlying condition is present, you can use a shampoo formulated for dry skin to help ease the problem.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Laura College is a former riding instructor, horse trainer and veterinary assistant. She has worked as a writer since 2004, producing articles and sales copy for corporations and nonprofits. College has also published articles in numerous publications, including "On the Bit," "Practical Horseman" and "American Quarter Horse Journal."