Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Close-up of dog head.
Image Credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The only thing sadder than your dog's big puppy dog eyes is hair loss around his pretty peepers. The reason your dog is losing hair around his eyes may have something to do with his diet -- though probably not the way you think -- or parasites. Your dog's age and food dishes will provide the clues you need to figure out what's happening to his hair.


Video of the Day

Plastic Food Dishes

If your pup's hair loss is confined to the area around his eyes, one of the first things to consider is his food dish -- yes, his food dish. When your dog eats, his face is making contact with his dish, and if your dog's food dish is plastic, he may be having a reaction to the food dish. Just like humans, dogs are prone to developing contact allergies, experiencing a reaction when he comes in contact with an irritant. The Animal Medical Hospital notes plastic food dishes are among potential triggers of contact allergies in pets. Try switching to a stainless steel dish and see if his hair begins to grow back.


Demodectic Mange

Virtually all puppies acquire the parasite Demodex canis from their mother as they nurse. Usually, a dog will co-exist with these tiny parasites none the wiser, unless his immune system is compromised or immature, resulting in demodectic mange. Typical signs include skin scaling and hair loss around the eyes, mouth and front legs, scratching and occasionally pimples, thick skin and pus. Your vet may choose to treat your dog's demodectic mange with a combination of topical medication, shampoo and oral medication. Puppies generally aren't treated since the condition clears up on its own in six to eight weeks.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.