The large dark and luminous wide set eyes, the very prominent large and erect ears that flares on the sides of the apple dome skull at about 45° angle and the compact little body are the benchmark of the smallest natural toy breed of dog in the world… the Chihuahua. Popularly known as the little dog with the big personality, the Chihuahua is a gentle, affectionate and loyal lap dog. For its diminutive size, a Chihuahua makes a dependable watch dog. This hardy breed though is prone to skin disorders. A Chihuahua can be smooth or long coated. Bald patches and coarse hair would certainly mar the appearance of this cute pocket sized dog.
Something is certainly wrong if your Chihuahua sports a moth-eaten looking coat. Bald patches and coarse coat are the most common concern of owners of this breed. The dull coarse coat can be attributed to nutritional deficiency. Chihuahuas don’t really need a special diet but these dogs are noted for being finicky eaters. Thin, dry and coarse coats can result if the dog does not get sufficient protein and fatty acids from its diet. As mentioned, these dogs have strong personalities and if allowed, the pet will manifest a will that is stronger than the owner’s. Owners of this breed must therefore exert more effort to ensure that the dog consumes high quality food. Skin parasite infestation can be a dog owner’s nightmare as it can make a pet miserable. Fleas, ticks, lice and ear mites would cause severe itching so that the pet’s incessant licking, biting and scratching would result not only to dull and coarse coat but also to the development of other skin problems. Demodex mites are tiny parasites that thrive on the hair follicles of the dog. Hair loss that often starts on the eyelids, on the mouth and on the legs of the dog would cause inch-wide bare patches that would eventually enlarge. Because of the incessant scratching, the bald patch will get infected.
There are a number of reasons why a dog would have bald patches. Skin reddening and irritations that results to hair loss can be due to allergic dermatitis. Food allergies, pollen and mold in the environment that were inhaled by the pet would cause severe itching. The reddened skin that is continuously scratched by the dog will be irritated causing hair to fall off. The Chihuahua’s bald patches can be due to contact dermatitis. Unlike allergic dermatitis, the bald spot will be localized in the areas that get in contact with the irritant. The dog may have bald patches on the neck or on the body where the skin comes in contact with the collar or with the harness.
Chihuahuas are prone to fungal infections. Ringworm is a type of fungus is characterized by red or crusty circular patches on the skin. Ringworm is most often seen in cats but because this fungal infection is easily transmitted from pet to pet, the dog’s bald patches can be associated with this fungal infection too. Seborrhea, a condition that results from the abnormal secretion of the oil glands of the skin can be the reason for the bald patches on the dog’s coat. Due to the overreaction of the glands, the dog would have foul smelling greasy fur and very itchy skin. The scratching of the dog would also result to bald patches.
Although not very common, the coarse coat and the bald patches can be due to hormonal imbalance. Thyroid hormone deficiency will be the cause of the hair fall. On the other hand, high level of estrogen can also cause copious hair to fall so that the dog would have bald patches.