All breeds of dog shed their hair, and even short-haired breeds like Frenchies can shed a lot, more so depending on the time of year. But there will be times when your French Bulldog’s hair loss is nothing to do with normal shedding, instead possibly health or stress related.
If you’ve noticed your Frenchie is losing more hair than usual you are naturally going to be worried. I put these notes together for you to act as a primer before you talk to the vet – which of course, you should do any time you notice hair loss patches and unusual bald spots on your Frenchie.
I will explain in as a helpful a way as possible all I know about French Bulldog hair loss and what I have learned about Frenchie alopecia.
Why is my French Bulldog losing so much hair?
Before I get into the reasons for Frenchie hair loss, you need to exclude the possibility that it’s simple the seasonal shedding coming into play. Once you rule that out, you can then explore the possibility of bald spots and alopecia due to entirely different reasons.
It could be just normal hair shedding
French Bulldog’s shed their hair seasonally. When it happens, it looks like a lot of hair loss but shouldn’t be cause for alarm. You can see what it looks like in a video on our French Bulldog YouTube channel.
Why Frenchies lose their hair by shedding
Frenchies will lose their undercoat hair about twice a year; replacing their thinner or thicker coats for summer or wintertime. However, if your Frenchie is losing more hair than is normal, then it could be a sign of a skin condition, allergies or another medical condition.
But how can you tell whether your French Bulldog’s hair loss is caused by natural shedding, or whether it’s an underlying medical issue?
The bottom line is, you should always talk to your vet for a professional opinion, but there are some tell-tale signs that your Frenchie is losing hair for a different reason.
Reasons for French Bulldog hair loss
Perhaps your Frenchie’s hair is feeling more brittle than normal or is simply coming out in larger amounts than you would expect through shedding. It could be that you see bald patches and bald spots that were not there before?
But why is your French Bulldog losing so much hair? Is there anything wrong? And is there anything you can do about it?
There are many reasons your French Bulldog could be suffering from hair loss, all of which a vet would check for during an appointment. These include:
Like humans, Frenchies can also suffer from a range of allergies to different materials, environmental factors, or food. This can lead to skin irritations, causing them to scratch, bite and chewing on their fur, leading to hair loss.
Common allergies include plastic and latex materials, dyeing agents, cleaning products, plants, antibiotics or certain ingredients in types of dog food.
It’s not unusual to see bald spots develop due to an allergy, or the act of your Frenchie scratching at the allergy.
2. Skin conditions
Known as ‘hot spots’, there are a few different types of dermatitis that your French Bulldog could be suffering from; including allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis.
Acute moist dermatitis is often caused by moisture and dampness in folds of skin, especially around the neck area. You might see your French Bulldog losing hair on sides of the mouth and neck area bald spots.
Mange can be a scary word for many Frenchie owners, conjuring images or scabbed and furless dogs, but it is actually quite a common condition, being highly contagious between dogs.
The definition according the Blue Cross animal charity is:
“Mange is a skin disease caused by mites and two types can affect dogs, sarcoptic and demodectic. Sarcoptic mange (or canine scabies) is the most common of the two and is highly contagious. It causes intense itching and, as a result of scratching, dogs suffer open sores, scabs and hair loss.”
The symptoms of mange include rashes, skin redness, hair loss, skin lesions and scaled skin. The good news is, that mange is easily treated using oral antibiotics and topical creams and shampoos.
Your vet will be able to diagnose mange within seconds of seeing your Frenchie, hair loss being one of the obvious signs.
4. Stress related hair loss
When a dog is anxious, restless or just bored, they can find a release of some of that excess energy through licking themselves and things around them. However, excessive licking of their own skin can cause acral lick dermatitis, or ‘lick granuloma’.
Handy Hint: Often Frenchies will create bald patches due to licking when stressed with separation anxiety. Here’s are some signs your Frenchie is left alone too much.
Often found on the lower parts of their legs, it results in a red patch of furless skin, which can often become irritated or even begin to bleed. If you see French Bulldog alopecia on their flanks, this is what the hair loss could be.
The dermatitis and infection can be treated with antibiotics, anti-lick strips and topical medicines, whilst the behavioral and psychological cause can be helped through training, more interaction with the animal and longer walks to relieve their excess energy.
Just like humans, Frenchies can suffer from hormonal imbalances, such as the over-production or under-production of oestrogen, testosterone, thyroxin or other hormones, which can cause hair loss among other symptoms.
One of the most common causes, however, is hypothyroidism, caused through a malfunction in the canine thyroid gland; this can be treated with an oral hormone replacement medication, such as thyroxine.
Hormonal imbalances can result in hair loss patches and bald spots on areas such as the back, tail, around the mouth, sides of the body, and around the eyes.
6. Abnormal organ functions
While it is rarer, other things that causes hair loss in French Bulldogs can be problems with their internal organs, such as kidneys, liver, and intestines.
Health issues like bowel disease, kidney failure, and liver failure can cause dull, thinning hair (liver failure also causing orange-yellow skin, and kidney failure is accompanied by a musty smell to their coats).
7. Bacterial infection
French Bulldogs can also lose their hair due to parasitic infections like as ringworm, or bacterial and fungal infections like folliculitis.
Sometimes caused by previously mentioned forms of dermatitis and immune system disorders, folliculitis shows itself through a collection of red swellings around the hair follicles but can be treated with topical creams and antimicrobial shampoos (as well as treatment to any underlying cause.)
Ringworm appears in lesions on the head, ears, and paws of a dog, and if often picked up when your dog is digging around in the dirt (where the fungus resides). You might see bald spots around your Frenchie’s ears and sides of the mouth.
Ringworm is easily tested for and can be treated with an anti-fungal shampoo and topical medication over the course of a couple of weeks.
As ringworm is highly contagious, it is recommended that you follow your vet’s instructions closely to avoid reinfection, and wash all bedding, toys and any rugs or blankets that are commonly used by your dog in a bleach solution (or replace them, if they do not have any sentimental value).
If you are concerned that your dog may have any of the above conditions or are just worried about possible causes of French Bulldog hair loss, always visit your vet for a proper, medical opinion and diagnosis before taking any steps to treating your pet yourself.
How to treat hair loss in a French Bulldog
Some of these conditions, when left untreated, can cause harm to your Frenchie. In more serious cases, hair loss can often be the sign of a fatal disease so needs to be checked out by a professional.
Once you have a diagnosis from a licensed vet, they will often prescribe a medical hair loss treatment for your Frenchie, ranging from topical creams and hydrocortisone shampoos to hormone treatment and antibiotics.
However, alongside these standard canine hair loss treatments, there are other ways you can help treat your Frenchie’s hair loss or skin irritation.
Disclaimer: Always check with your vet before using any of these home remedies, as they can sometimes affect or be affected by your dogs’ prescribed treatment.
1. Change their diet
If your Frenchie has an allergy to a particular ingredient in dog food, then the obvious remedy is to change what you are feeding them.
Check the ingredients on tins or packets of dog food, and make sure that your dog isn’t eating any scraps of food from around the home that may be triggering their allergies.
You can get your vet to do an allergy test to check if your Frenchie’s hair loss is caused by something they eat, come into contact with, or environmental factors.
2. Natural topical remedies
There are some common kitchen ingredients that you might already have that can help relieve the itching from dry skin conditions. By relieving the itching, you can reduce the hair loss and bald patches from scratching and licking.
Some dog owners say lemon juice helps. It contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, as does apple cider vinegar, which can also help to boost the immune system.
To use it, simply dilute the lemon juice or vinegar in warm water, before dipping a cotton ball into the mixture and applying it to the affected bald patch.
3. Brush your Frenchie regularly
Your Frenchie’s skin has natural oils that are designed to keep their fur protected and moisturized. By brushing your dog’s fur, you can help spread it around and bring it out into the longer areas of fur.
Regular brushing will help to keep the hair healthy and could lead to a reduction in how much hair your French Bulldog loses each day. Here’s a brush on Amazon we use with Claude the Frenchie. It will remove loose hair but does encourage re-growth and healthy fur so don’t worry about using it.
4. Use a humidifier
Room humidifiers can really help a dog with dry and itchy skin, meaning less scratching, thus reduced hair loss. By placing a humidifier near your dogs’ bed, the night moisture in the room will help to rehydrate and soothe your dog’s skin.
More about French Bulldog bald spots
French bulldogs with hair loss behind ears
Mites are a common cause of hair loss in Frenchies, even those with shorter fur, and one of the common symptoms of a mite or tick infestation in your dog is fur loss behind their ears.
Ear mites are an extremely common and highly contagious species of mite in cats and dogs, causing scabbed skin around the back of their ears, as well as lesions from your pet constantly scratching to relieve the itching sensation.
These open wounds can also lead to bacterial infections, resulting in crusting and discharge of pus, which may have to be treated separately.
It is important that the mite infestation is treated, as it is the root cause. Once the mites have been got rid of, the scratching and skin lesions will often resolve themselves with a little topical treatment.
After a few weeks you might then see the hair loss behind the ears grow back to what it used to be before the mites took hold.
French bulldog hair loss around eyes
Along with hair loss around their ears, hair loss around your Frenchie’s eyes can also be a sign of mites. However, it can also be a sign of allergies. Often, allergies or skin issues can begin around the eyes and ears of your dog, before spreading outwards around the body.
Common signs of discomfort around their eyes include rubbing their faces against things, excessive scratching of a particular area, eye-watering, sneezing and a runny nose.
If your Frenchie is losing patches of hair around their eyes, be sure to check for any open sores and raw skin (which can be a sign of dermatitis), as well as lesions and scaly skin in localized areas (a symptom of ringworm).
If you are concerned that your Frenchie’s hair loss around the eyes, it’s important that you check with your vet for a diagnosis before seeking any treatment options.
The definition of French Bulldog alopecia
While it may sound like a terrible skin condition, alopecia is actually just the name for seasonal baldness. Often found in breeds of French, American and British Bulldogs, this type of hair loss is completely natural and is caused by changes in the seasons.
Shorter periods of sunlight during the day triggers their hormones to regrow their fur into a thicker coat, ready for the approach of winter, and then back again for a thinner summer coat.
Because of this, French Bulldog baldness and hair loss does not result in any skin conditions, dryness or itching, and is purely just a change in outward appearance and over time the hair will grow back.
When seasonal baldness comes into effect, you may notice these bald patches are far darker than the rest of their skin, resulting from hyperpigmentation. This is usually seen around their flanks and hind legs, but after a while, the hair will regrow and cover the area.
However, some Frenchie’s bald patches will remain indefinitely, with only some of the lost hair returning. This is also natural and shouldn’t be worried about, as it is not a sign of any kind of medical issue; in fact, some regrowth can skip a year and regrow during the next bout of seasonal baldness.
If you are concerned about your French Bulldog’s bald patches, then it is recommended that you consult a vet before pursuing any treatments for mites, allergies or dermatitis.
Despite Frenchies only having a very short, fine coat and only losing their undercoat a couple of times a year, they do produce a lot of hair.
This will often be mistaken for problematic hair loss – which instead is typically when you see patches and bald spots in isolated areas rather than uniform hair loss with natural shedding.
The bottom line is if you’re worried at all, please talk to your vet as often hair loss can be the sign of a more serious problem.