Boxers have a variety of predispositions that lead to hair loss, and your loveable pal’s short coat makes any bald spots stand out even more. Most of the time, your puppy will be unfazed by her hair loss, but it can a headache trying to determine the underlying problem.
Seasonal Flank Alopecia
Losing hair on his sides can be a sign that your Boxer baby has seasonal flank alopecia. Boxers represent a large portion of pets diagnosed with this type of hair loss, which points to a likely genetic component. It's more common in adults but can be seen in puppies. The exact cause is unknown but hormone changes are a likely culprit, especially in relation to seasonal changes in light. If your Boxer lost her hair in the fall, it might happen again a year later. Your veterinarian will take skin biopsies or perform blood work to look for underlying problems. Your veterinarian can determine a plan, which might include a melatonin supplement to regulate hormonal cycles. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Young Boxers are prone to developing histiocytomas, which are benign skin tumors. After a rapid appearance, your Boxer’s very red mass is likely to go away over the course of several months. Removal is possible, although you and your veterinarian might elect to monitor the mass instead. Your veterinarian also might prescribe medication, such as steroids or antihistamines, to decrease the immune response.
Has your Boxer puppy developed bald spots around her face or paws? Demodex, a skin mite, might be responsible. “Mange,” as you might hear it called, occurs when these microscopic mites inflame the tissue around hair follicles, which causes your puppy’s hair to fall out. Your veterinarian usually diagnoses this based on looking at skin cells under a microscope. Boxers appear to have a genetic propensity toward demodicosis, and a nursing mama dog can pass on the parasites to her puppies. Poor nutrition might be an underlying factor, which can be addressed with your veterinarian to help treat the problem.
Your large Boxer puppy can develop a callus -- or a thickened spot with hair loss -- on spots such as his elbows. They're caused by body weight applied to pressure points. Adequate bedding, including deep padding, can minimize the formation or slow the development once it starts. Your friendly canine might get a secondary infection from the irritation, so careful monitoring is important. Treatment options should be reviewed with your veterinarian and can involve antibiotics, steroids, or keratin-dissolving topical products.
Large breed dogs, like your Boxer, should be fed a large breed food to meet their nutritional requirements, and puppies should eat puppy food. Your puppy needs very specific amounts of nutrients such as calcium and protein. If she alters this by eating other food, such as stealing the cat's kibble, metabolic and growth problems can occur. Poor hair coat and skin quality can develop rapidly. Hair breakage and secondary bacterial or fungal infections also may develop. Putting her on the right food -- and your veterinarian can help decide which choice is best -- can reverse hair loss.
Boxers are also prone to food allergies, and itching and hair loss can be signs. You might see your puppy chew at her paws. Grains and proteins are common allergens, and changing your pal’s diet can eliminate the problem. Allergy testing or a diet trial might be recommended by your vet to determine the cause. In addition to hair loss caused by itching, secondary infections can lead to alopecia.
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.
Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.