Why Is My Old Dog Losing Hair On Its Tail

Why Is My Old Dog Losing Hair On Its Tail?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
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Identifying the cause of an old dog losing hair on its tail can be difficult without the assistance of a veterinarian. Veterinarians can, however, take into account certain things. Watch how your senior dog behaves. Does it seem like he always chews off his tail? If so, his tail most likely has frizzy, rough, or broken hair. Especially if he is biting it aggressively, the area could be inflamed or sore and have bald spots. Flea bites could cause all of these symptoms.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Is My Old Dog Losing Hair On Its Tail?“.

Are you aware that a dogs hair is 15 times denser than that of a human? Thats why they shed so much! Dr. Kathryn Primm has observed that ALL dogs experience some degree of hair loss throughout the year especially those who stay indoors most of the time and are less exposed to extreme temperatures. If your pooch is losing hair in such a way that he is balding on some parts of his body that is another matter.

Why Is My Old Dog Losing Hair On Its Tail

What about dogs that lose their tail hair as they age? Do you need to worry about that? Read on to find out.

Why do old dogs lose hair?

When you see that your old dog is losing hair you should be concerned as a pet owner. It is important to realize however that this can be caused by various factors. Dogs’ hair also undergoes certain processes just like humans. When it becomes damaged and old it falls out. There is nothing to worry about since this is a normal process.

Conversely if your senior dog is experiencing excessive hair loss it could be due to health issues. This is when you should take it to a veterinarian to find out whats causing it.

Lets explore why dogs lose their hair as they age.

Seasonal shedding

Your senior dog may experience seasonal shedding due to how much time it is exposed to light including artificial light. There may also be hormonal changes and changes in temperature involved. There may be a dramatic change. During a short period of time your pet may lose lots of fur. This is known as ‘blowing coat’. In the aftermath of a hair loss your old dog may appear to have less fur than before. However patches of baldness will not appear.

Moreover you can expect your older dog to lose a lot of hair during the spring season but it should grow back in the summer. Normal shedding should result in uniform hair loss without bare patches. It is highly recommended that you have your dog checked immediately if this is not the case.

Hormonal abnormality

Additionally female dogs may lose a significant amount of hair after giving birth especially if they are nursing a number of puppies. It is caused by hormonal changes the same thing that happens when women give birth and breastfeed.

It is important to address hormonal abnormalities in older dogs as well. Cushings disease is an example of this which occurs when a senior dogs cortisol levels rise too high. As a result there is a lot of hair loss. Alopecia or baldness can result as a result.

The condition of hypothyroidism also causes abnormal hair loss in old dogs. It occurs when the dogs’ thyroid levels are too low.

In conclusion if you notice that your senior dog is losing too much hair it could be a hormonal issue. You should consult your veterinarian immediately.


Various ailments can affect old dogs and some of them can cause excessive hair loss. The dogs hair follicles may be infested with bacteria or mange mites which can cause infections which can lead to excessive shedding and balding. The same applies to dogs suffering from ringworm or other fungal infections and allergies.

Nutritional deficiencies

As with humans dogs need certain nutrients so that their fur can grow properly. As a result their hair will start falling out and may even get worse if not treated immediately. Dogs’ nutritional needs change as they age so you should make sure your senior dog is getting all the nutrients he needs. Your diet may need to be adjusted and supplements may be necessary.


When your senior dog is losing hair in patches and some body parts are becoming bald that could be due to parasites. Some parasites such as fleas and ticks can be seen on the skin while others such as skin mites cannot. In either case you will experience some symptoms. Infested dogs often scratch and bite their irritated skin when they are infested with parasites.

You can cause irreversible damage to your old dogs hair and skin by exposing it to fleas. When your dog is bitten by this type of parasite allergic reactions may occur. Not treating the problem immediately can result in permanent baldness and inflammation of the skin.


In older dogs the coat can thin or become alopecia. Aging affects the body in the same way it affects humans. It may or may not be a sign of an underlying hormonal condition.

How is this different from why young dogs lose hair?

All normal dogs regardless of age may experience hair loss at some point in time primarily because of seasonal shedding and the natural process of hair falling out and being replaced by new ones. Neither young nor old dogs are immune to shedding due to certain illnesses allergies and nutrient deficiency.

There are some reasons however that are more common in older dogs and those have something to do with the aging process.

What causes bald spots/ patches and clumps with hair loss?

It is normal for a senior dog to shed uniformly throughout its body leaving no area of its body bare. When you see bald spots or patches and clumps its a sign that something is off especially if it happens suddenly.

It is possible to develop bald patches due to allergies. Unfortunately you might not be aware that your senior dog has an allergy. Young and old dogs both can develop allergic reactions to flea bites which are the most common cause of allergic reactions.

In addition to pressure sores scarring from injuries and reactions to vaccinations diabetes thyroid issues and skin cancer can cause bald patches. It should also be noted that some breeds are predisposed to developing bald spots genetically.

Why do dogs lose hair on their tails?

Identifying the cause of an old dog losing hair on its tail can be difficult without the assistance of a veterinarian. Veterinarians can however take into account certain things. Watch how your senior dog behaves. Does it seem like he always chews off his tail? If so his tail most likely has frizzy rough or broken hair. Especially if he is biting it aggressively the area could be inflamed or sore and have bald spots. Flea bites could cause all of these symptoms.

It is important for you to know that even a single bite can drive your dog insane. In fact flea allergy dermatitis is the leading cause of dogs chewing their tails and it is crucial that it is treated as soon as possible with antibiotics and in some cases steroids.

Other causes of hair loss on the tail region include atopy or environmental/food allergies. Anal gland problems or intestinal worms could also be responsible for this. In addition if your dog has arthritis in its tail a broken tail or a foreign object on its tail it will respond to the pain by excessively chewing it off resulting in hair loss. Other behavioral disorders such as anxiety fear and emotional distress may also result.

If your senior dog is not actively chewing his tail it could mean that he is suffering from another health condition. Its best to speak with your veterinarian so that a proper diagnosis can be made.

What are some of the other places that old dogs lose hair from?

An old dog usually loses hair on the tail around the eyes and on the trunk of the body. The hair thinning can be so extreme that you can almost see the skin or if there is no hair at all then you should schedule a vet visit so the actual cause can be determined.

What are the best ways of treating hair loss at home?

What causes hair loss in senior dogs will determine the best treatment. Daily brushing and bathing with a moisturizing shampoo can help if it is due to seasonal shedding.

It is also important to understand that as your dog ages his nutritional needs increase so you should feed him healthy food. If necessary supplements can also be given to promote healthy hair growth.

Alternatively if the hair loss is caused by certain health conditions you should take your senior dog to the vet so that he can receive the proper medications.


It is possible for older dogs to experience hair loss at any time. If you notice excessive shedding and it leaves bald spots you should consult your veterinarian to find out what is going on. Your dogs coat should be brushed every day and he should eat nutritious foods. However if hair loss is caused by a medical condition consult your vet and ask for the right medication.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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