12 Reasons Poodles Get Bald Spots (and How to Help)

One of the most attractive things about your poodle is its hair. Poodles are unique because they only have one coat. Most other dog breeds have both an undercoat and a topcoat.

Poodles, on the other hand, have natural hair on their coats, meaning their fur continues to grow. Since poodles experience a lot of hair growth, they need frequent grooming to help maintain their coats. Why do poodles get bald spots? 

Poodles experience bald spots because of issues like allergies, hypothyroidism, atopic dermatitis, over-curling, split ends, matted hair, ringworm, and other reasons. You can help alleviate your poodle’s hair problems with help from your vet, proper grooming, and a good diet. 

If you’re not sure why your poodle is getting bald spots, then you’ve come to the right place. Since there isn’t a lot of information available online today about why poodles get bald spots, we created this guide to help you out. We’ll cover the reasons why poodles get bald spots and what you can do to help below.

The Poodle Coat

Since the poodle coat is different than most other dog breeds, your dog needs to be groomed often to help avoid some of these issues.

Most groomers recommend daily brushing, bathing twice a month, and a haircut every six weeks for a poodle. However, even if you maintain a dedicated grooming regime for your poodle, your dog can still experience hair loss. 

When poodles are born, they have a puppy coat. The puppy coat on a poodle feels and looks different when compared to an adult poodle’s coat. A poodle puppy’s hair is soft and wavy. On the other hand, most adult poodles have thicker, curlier coats. 

When your poodle puppy starts its coat maturation, its coat can become very matted as its fur evolves. If you aren’t careful, you’ll wind up with a dog that’s full of large mats you’ll have to cut off because they’ll be too painful to brush out of your dog.

So, while your dog’s cot is evolving, you’ll need to brush its coat often while its hair fully develops. After your dog’s fur has matured, it will be much easier to maintain its coat.

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Miniature Vs. Full-Sized Poodle Coat Differences

Miniature and toy poodles start maturing out of their puppy coats when they are about nine months of age. Once your poodle hits that age, its fur will change from a puppy to an adult coat over the following nine months.

By the time a poodle is about a year and a half old, he already has his adult coat. Some dogs take an additional six months to fill out their adult coats. The speed of the coat maturation process in your poodle will vary slightly from dog to dog. 

Standard Poodles also experience a similar coat maturation process, but the length of time is shorter for them. If you own a Standard Poodle, your dog’s coat will start to mature when your dog is between nine and sixteen months old. It will take about three months for your dog’s coat to fully mature. 

Now that you understand what makes a poodle’s coat different when compared to other dogs, we’ll cover some common causes of hair loss in poodles. 

Poodles and Hair Loss: Common Causes

Poodles experience hair loss for a wide variety of reasons and It’s almost inevitable that your dog will experience a health concern at some point in life.

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Below, we’ll cover some of the most common causes of hair loss in poodles below.

Cause #1: Female Poodles and Hormones

If you own a female poodle, your dog may experience hair issues because of her hormones. Many female poodles experience thinning coats and hair loss when they are in heat, and when they are whelping a litter.

Hormonal changes can alter the appearance of a female poodle’s coat. Increases in your poodle’s estrogen levels happen when she is in heat and when she is whelping a litter. That boost in estrogen makes her hair thin.

Sometimes your female poodle’s hair might thin out so severely that you can see her skin. You’ll probably see patches of skin randomly on her body.

If your dog experiences hair loss because of hormonal issues, it can take as long as four months for your dog’s coat to grow back normally. Unfortunately, once her fur grows back, she’ll be re-entering her heat cycle.

If you aren’t planning on breeding your female poodle, consider having her spayed if she is having problems with hormonal hair loss. By spaying your female poodle, you’ll help her even out her hormone levels, and she won’t experience issues with a thinning coat.

Cause #2: Atopic Dermatitis

Many poodles suffer from atopic dermatitis, which is an inherited issue that makes it more difficult for your poodle to handle environmental allergens like pollen. Since your dog’s immune system doesn’t handle allergens well, your poodle will most likely experience hair loss.

Atopic dermatitis usually affects poodles between the ages of one to three years old. Atopic dermatitis could be a reason why your poodle is suffering hair loss. 

If you suspect your dog might be suffering from atopic dermatitis, then note that your dog will most likely experience this condition at the end of the summer. That’s because plant pollen is massive at that time of year. If your dog suffers from atopic dermatitis, you’ll also notice a few other issues. Those issues include:

  • Scratching
  • Redness around the ears and stomach
  • A runny nose
  • Sneezing. 

If you suspect your dog is experiencing atopic dermatitis, then you’ll need to take your poodle to the vet. Your vet can make a diagnosis by hearing you describe your poodle’s symptoms. However, your vet may also take skin scrapings to confirm the problem. 

Although atopic dermatitis sounds like it could be a severe condition, it only makes your dog slightly uncomfortable. However, since scratching often can cause infections in your dog, you will want to handle the situation.

If your dog suffers from atopic dermatitis, you’ll want to keep it away from allergens and make sure you clean your house and your pooch thoroughly to help your dog deal with this issue. 

Cause #3: Hypothyroidism

If your poodle is experiencing a hormone imbalance, it could also be having an issue with hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism commonly afflicts poodles as a breed. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is a severe condition that also affects your dog’s behavior. If your dog is suffering from hypothyroidism, you’ll notice symptoms like lethargy and mental slowness, as well as coat loss and bald spots.

When a poodle first begins to experience hypothyroidism, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • A brittle coat (increased shedding and hair thinning)
  • Pimples on its skin
  • The skin will seem greasy
  • Dandruff
  • Possible weight gain

If your dog doesn’t get treated for its disease, it may wind up putting on a lot of weight and appearing bloated.

If you suspect your dog might have hypothyroidism, the best thing you can do is take your poodle to your vet. At the office, your vet will take blood and urine from your dog to test out the issue. After that, your dog will get hormone replacement therapy medication is your vet suspects your dog has hypothyroidism.

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Cause #4: Alopecia

If you own a miniature poodle, then your dog could also be possibly suffering from Alopecia. Alopecia creates a lot of coat loss on a dog and is most commonly found in male miniature poodles entering maturity. If you suspect your dog has Alopecia, you’ll need to take your poodle to the vet for a diagnosis.

Once you are at the vet, your vet may do a visual exam to diagnose your dog. Or, he or she may take skin scrapings to make sure your dog isn’t suffering from a similar issue like hypothyroidism.

Unlike hypothyroidism, however, Alopecia won’t affect the health of your dog. Alopecia only affects the appearance of your dog, and your vet may not treat your dog immediately if the Alopecia is temporary.

If your vet suspects your poodle’s Alopecia is temporary, your vet may not treat the condition. Instead, your vet may monitor your dog until it finishes going through puberty and its hormones balance once again.

Cause #5: Sebaceous Adenitis

If your dog is experiencing sebaceous adenitis, then it will have inflamed sebaceous glands. Unfortunately, sebaceous adenitis is hereditary in many poodles. This condition can damage or destroy the sebaceous glands in your poodle.

If your poodle is suffering from sebaceous adenitis, you’ll notice a lack of thickness and curliness in your dog’s hair. Eventually, your poodle’s coat will develop into patchy Alopecia until your dog experiences hair loss.

If your dog is suffering from sebaceous adenitis, it’s best to visit your vet for a diagnosis. Most likely, you’ll wind up using a medicated shampoo and hot oil treatments when you bathe your dog. It’s also a good idea to feed your poodle more omega three fatty acids by adding some oily fish to its daily food.

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Cause #6: Matted Hair

Matted hair is the most commonly occurring coat problem when it comes to poodles. When poodles are puppies, their hair is very delicate and fluffy, so they often develop mats from daily play outdoors.

When your poodle is about nine months old, its fur will change from puppy hair to adult hair. You’ll want to make sure you take care of your poodle’s coat correctly at this stage.

I recommend utilizing a spray-in conditioner to help you remove knots in your puppy’s tangled hair. Also, using a spray-in conditioner will make eliminating the knots easier for you so that it will feel better for your dog.

Also, if you are new to owning a poodle, and you are embarrassed that your dog has mats in its fur, don’t be afraid to take your dog to the groomer. Any local groomer will be happy to service your needs and handle the mats in your dog’s fur. Even better, groomers can help give you tips so that you can avoid the problem in the future.

Cause #7: Allergic Reaction

If your poodle has any allergies, they can also cause skin problems and hair loss. If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, you’ll probably notice that your pooch is biting and scratching more often than usual.

If you suspect your dog might be experiencing hair loss because of an allergy, you can take your dog to the vet to get an allergy test.

Your vet can also help you determine what allergens can be creating the problem. Also, I recommend using all-natural cleaning products around the house and keeping your dog indoors to curb its exposure to allergens.

You should also wash your dog’s bed with an allergy-safe detergent, and take a look at the food you are feeding your poodle. Sometimes, trying a grain-free diet can eliminate allergies in poodles. The most common types of allergies in poodles come from:

  • Mold
  • Chicken
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollen
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Cleaning products
  • Corn
  • Wheat

Cause #8: Fleas, Mites, and Ticks

Another reason why your poodle could be experiencing hair loss could have to do with fleas, mites, and ticks. Some dogs are more affected by these pests than others. Typically, fleas, mites, and ticks don’t cause significant issues unless your dog has a severe infestation.

However, fleas, mites, and ticks will cause your dog to bite, scratch, and pull out its hair. Some dogs even draw blood when they scratch at these pests. If you want to alleviate your dog’s issues when it comes to pests, you can try a flea color or a flea and tick medication like Frontline.

Cause #9: Ringworm

Some people confuse Alopecia and ringworm in poodles. However, ringworm occurs because of a fungal infection and usually causes ring-shaped hair loss. Ringworm is not, in fact, any worm.

Ringworm is caused by three types of fungi:

  • Microsporum Canis
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • Microsporum Gypseum

Ringworm is also highly contagious and can be passed onto other pets and children.

So, if you suspect that your dog is suffering from ringworm, you’ll need to take immediate action. You’ll need to start sterilizing dog beds, bowls, and anything else your dog might have used. Then, you’ll need to take your poodle to the vet to get some treatment.

Once at the vet, your poodle will probably get both topical and oral medications. After a couple of weeks of treatment, your dog won’t be contagious anymore, and the problem will dissipate.

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Cause #10: Bacterial Infection

Another reason why your poodle could be experiencing hair loss could have to do with a bacterial infection. If your dog is going to have healthy hair, then its skin needs to be healthy, too. That’s why a bacterial skin infection can cause hair loss.

Since poodles have thick and curly coats, it can be difficult to notice that your dog’s skin is irritated in the early stages.

If your dog has a skin infection, it usually starts with some irritant that makes your dog scratch often. If your dog starts scratching so severely that it breaks its skin and draws blood, then it can pick up a bacterial infection.

If you suspect that your dog has a bacterial infection, then you should take your poodle to the vet and seek treatment. Most likely, your dog will be given oral and topical antibiotics that will help curve the itch and help your pup heal.

Cause #11: Over-curling

You should also do what you can to avoid over-curling your poodle’s coat. After you bathe your pooch, don’t let your poodle’s coat dry naturally. Instead, towel dry your poodle as much as possible so that his hair doesn’t over-curl after a bath. When you leave your poodle to air dry, its coat can over-curl. 

If your poodle’s hair is over-curly, it’s much easier for your pooch to develop knots and mats. So, it’s best to make sure you don’t air-dry your poodle and instead towel dry your pup. 

Cause #12: Split Ends

While you do need to make sure you brush your poodle’s coat to keep it healthy, over brushing your dog’s fur can create split ends and brittle hair. So, you should frequently groom your poodle, but only in small doses. 

Also, don’t brush a Poodle’s hair when it is wet. If you do, you’ll wind up splitting a lot of ends on your dog’s coat. Instead, towel dry your pooch and then use a spray in conditioner to help detangle the mats and knots.

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Final Thoughts

If your poodle is experiencing hair loss and getting bald spots, here are twelve possible reasons why your dog could be losing its hair. Your poodle could be experiencing a medical condition like hypothyroidism or Alopecia. If you feel your dog may have a medical issue, make sure you take your pooch to the vet for treatment.

Many poodles experience hair loss because their long, luxurious, curly coats become matted and tangled when they play. To help your pooch out, correctly groom your poodle often, and use a spray-in detangler to help with the tough mats.

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Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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