Why is my Indoor Dog Losing Hair?

Hi there Dr. Barchas, I have been reading through your website and learning new things and I have a question for you that I was...


Hi there Dr. Barchas,

I have been reading through your website and learning new things and I have a question for you that I was wondering if you can help me with. I have a 13 month old malti-pom-poo mix that has been with me since 10 weeks. She has had her shots, she never goes outside, she is litter trained, she is never around other dogs except for grooming every 8 weeks with oatmeal shampoo.

Over the last month she has suddenly developed scattered areas of bald spots in her coat. There are no signs of redness flaking or scabs. My first thought at the cause would be her diet because we cook food for her. Fresh meats and fruits and vegetables. I think she may be lacking something in her diet that caused this but I am not sure and that is what my question is…what would you think this could be and should I put her on a multi vitamin? Any one in particular?

Thanks so much.


Severe malnutrition certainly can cause hair loss, but I’ll bet that diet and nutrition aren’t playing a role in your girl’s bald patches. Her age, combined with your description of the patchy hair loss, makes her a prime candidate for puppy mange, also known as demodectic mange.

Demodectic mange occurs most often in dogs 6 – 18 months of age, with a peak incidence (in my experience) of around 12 – 13 months. Its most common form causes patchy hair loss without redness, scabbing, or itching.

You may wonder how a dog with such a quiet lifestyle could have contracted mange. The answer is that the organisms that cause puppy mange live in the skin of all dogs. The organisms cause hair loss in dogs whose immune systems are not fully mature.

Mild cases of puppy mange do not usually require treatment. My pal Buster went through several rounds of mild demodectic mange, and his hair grew back without any intervention or diet changes. Go to my website for more information on the syndrome.

That said, you should take care to confirm that the food you’re offering is complete and balanced. There are countless web resources available for those who wish to make their dog’s food.

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