Natural Alternatives for Alopecia in Cats and Dogs
As most pet owners know, cats and dogs shed. However, if your dog or cat is losing large patches or chunks of hair, or has developed black patches of skin, alopecia may be to blame.
Inigo was only 4-years-old when large patches of his thick, black fur began falling out. The 15-pound rescue cat had always been a victim of allergies, constantly going through bouts of sneezing and itching, but when patches of fur were strewn about the carpet, his dad Otis began to worry.
After a trip to the vet, Inigo was diagnosed with a combination of allergic and psychogenic alopecia. His parents were concerned but searched for holistic remedies to help treat Inigo’s condition and found that dog and cat moms and dads everywhere have the same question: what is alopecia and how can I help my pet?
Pictured on the right: Inigo, at 10-years old, after using CBD for his alopecia.
What is Alopecia and What Are The Symptoms?
Alopecia, sometimes called Black Skin Disease, has a few tell-tale symptoms, including:
- Hair loss
- Patches of dark or black skin
- Bald patches that seem symmetrical
- Scaling and redness of the skin
- Inflammation and crusting around the bald patch
Left untreated, alopecia can cause more than just hair loss. According to PetMD, alopecia can affect a dog or cat’s skin, endocrine system, lymphatic system, and immune systems. However, alopecia does not have to mean a lifetime of painful symptoms for your pet. Once you have determined the underlying cause, there are natural options that can provide your furry friend some relief.
Causes of Alopecia in Dogs and Cats
To determine the cause of alopecia, your veterinarian will discuss the animal’s lifestyle, habits, and behaviors and may also request a blood or skin sample. Then, the vet will determine the cause of the alopecia, which may include:
- Congenital alopecia– This type of alopecia is genetic and is apparent at birth. Usually, if you have a pet with congenital alopecia, you are aware of their hair loss or patches of dark skin and it requires little treatment.
- Parasitic alopecia – Parasitic alopecia is caused by fleas, ticks, mites, fungi, or lice. This type of alopecia is temporary and often your veterinarian will discuss lifestyle changes to help get the parasites out of your home and away from your pet.
- Allergic alopecia – Allergic alopecia, like the type that Inigo experienced, is caused by inflammation and is a response to an external or internal allergen. This can be caused by allergens in food, (in the form of animal byproducts) or can be caused by allergens in the environment, like an allergy to a specific detergent or even grass.
- Psychogenic alopecia– Psychogenic alopecia is caused by stress, anxiety, or depression. In Inigo’s case, his behaviors, such as obsessive licking or grooming, caused his alopecia to flare up. This also caused him to ingest more allergens directly from his own fur. For most animals, psychogenic alopecia can be a response to noise anxiety, tension with other pets in the home, or separation anxiety.
- Hormonal disorders or imbalances – Your pet may have a disruption in their endocrine system, which can cause hormonal disorders and imbalances resulting in hair loss. This is most common in senior dogs and cats but can occur at any age.
Home Remedies For Alopecia in Dogs and Cats
Once you have determined the cause of the alopecia, there are some ways you can help the underlying issue and improve your pet’s health at home.
- Remove allergens – If your pet was diagnosed with allergic alopecia, it is important to remove any of the allergens causing inflammation. This may require you to change their diet or even rinse their feet after coming in from outside. If you are not sure what the allergen is, switch your pet to a bland diet with minimal ingredients, and then re-introduce foods and treats to find the cause. You may also need to investigate when and where their flare-ups happen the most to determine what they may be coming into contact with so that you can remove them.
- Find the cause of anxiety or stress – For Inigo, fear of loud noises and tension with another cat in the home were causing some of his stress-related flare-ups. After removing the cause of the stressor, Inigo improved tremendously. If removing the cause of the stressor is not an option, for example, separation anxiety, noise anxiety such as if your pet is afraid of fireworks, other options like CBD oil for dog anxiety and cat anxiety can help manage their anxiety and stress.
CBD For Alopecia in Dogs and Cats
CBD Oil with Frankincense and Turmeric to Reduce Inflammation
Rather than turn to a cocktail of prescription medications, Otis decided to try CBD oil to help Inigo’s alopecia. Within a matter of weeks, he saw improvement. Now at 10-years old, Inigo is able to enjoy relaxing on the porch with his coat intact. Full spectrum hemp CBD oil has numerous benefits for pets, but one of the biggest benefits is that it reduces inflammation. In addition, the essential fatty acids found in hemp seed oil promote healthy skin and coats. We recommend using EASE: CBD Oil for Dogs or EASE: CBD Oil for Cats, specially formulated with our Full Spectrum Hemp Extract as well as turmeric and frankincense. Turmeric and frankincense both have incredible anti-inflammatory properties and have been proven to help with allergies and the immune system.
Topical CBD Salves for Dogs
Another natural way to directly help the affected areas, especially when they are scaly, black, or inflamed, is with topical CBD salves. Our REMEDY: CBD Salve for Dogs combines full spectrum hemp CBD with a variety of other natural ingredients to not only heal the tissue that is inflamed, but to help promote the growth of new, healthy skin. Natural CBD salves are also safe for dogs to lick, so you can avoid putting them in a clumsy cone. For cats, we recommend our SOOTHE: CBD Salve for Pets, formulated with our Full Spectrum hemp CBD as well as natural ingredients including honey and ginger. Our topical CBD salves for dogs, cats, and horses are also formulated with coconut oil, which provides numerous benefits for a pet’s skin and coat. It can aid with skin problems such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin, as well as improving overall skin health.