Skip to Main Content
  • Comprehensive Veterinary Dermatology in Orange Park
Ask About Financing

Hypothyroidism in Dogs: Treatment Options

Hypothyroidism can cause numerous changes in a dog's body, and negatively affect their skin and coat. In this post, our Orange Park veterinary dermatologist talks about treatment for hypothyroidism in dogs, including medicinal and natural remedies. 

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

A dog's thyroid gland is located in its neck and produces hormones that help to regulate several important bodily functions. If the thyroid is unable to produce enough of these hormones, it's considered underactive, which can lead to serious health issues. This internal condition is referred to as hypothryoidism. 

The Boxer, Beagle, Maletese, Havanese, Dalmation, and Pitbull are believed to be prone to hypothyroidism, which is also frequently seen in dogs between 4 and 10 years of age. 

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism 

Since thyroid hormones help to maintain a health immune system, normal tissue repair levels, and a normal metabolism, a lack of these hormones in the bloodstream can cause many changes in your dog's body, including changes that can affect their skin and coat. 

Dogs with hypothyroidism often display some common symptoms, including:

  • Sores and scabs on skin 
  • Repeated superficial skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Black patches on skin 
  • Excess scaling or shedding
  • Excessive dandruff
  • Darkening of skin 
  • Flaky, itchy skin 
  • Thinning of fur
  • Toenail infections
  • Rough, dull coat
  • Skin infections that do not clear up
  • Weight gain without increased appetite 
  • Muscle loss 
  • Slow heart rate
  • Drooping facial muscles
  • Infertility in male dogs 
  • Inability to tolerate cold temperatures 
  • Reduced physical activity 
  • Lack of coordination 
  • Lack of heat periods or miscarriage in females 
  • Fatty deposits in eyes 
  • Head tilt

Diagnosis & Treatment of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

If your vet suspects your dog has hypothyroidism, they will perform a full physical exam and run a series of blood tests to assess your dog's levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

Since other conditions can mimic hypothyroidism, diagnostic testing may be fairly extensive so symptoms can be thoroughly assessed and a definitive diagnosis can be made. 

You may come across many sources on how to treat hypothyroidism in dogs. That said, it's important to always consult your primary vet before administering any treatment to ensure these don't interact with medications your dog may currently be on or aggravate other health conditions. 

While hypothyroidism is not life-threatening, your pup will need lifelong treatment with synthetic hormones such as levothyroxine.

It's important to keep an eye on your pooch's health and schedule an exam with your vet if you notice any of the above symptoms, as untreated hypothyroidism in dogs can shorten your dog's lifespan. This is because almost every organ in the body is impacted by the thyroid hormone and by your pup's metabolism. 

Dogs with untreated hypothyroidism develop a slowed heart rate, neuromuscular symptoms such as unsteadiness, head tilt and seizures, high cholesterol and decreased immune function.

Along with administering daily medications, your vet may also recommend changes to your dog's diet and you may want to consider natural remedies. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment of any skin conditions related to hypothyroidism. Let's break these down below:


To help improve the overall absorption of nutrients and reduce strain on the organs due to filtering impurities, feeding your dog minimally processed, whole foods can help. 

For a dog with hypothyroidism, their diet should include balanced levels of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, iodine and amino acids. 

Natural fibrous nutrients such as carrots, green beans, mushrooms, cooked broccoli and cucumber may be on the menu. 

In some cases, homemade food may be recommended. If this is true for you and your dog, your vet can provide you with recipes to ensure your pooch gets all the balanced nutrition they need.

Your vet can provide you with instructions for the best food to feed your dog with hypothyroidism and make recommendations based on their specific needs. 


Part of treatment will likely include the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (L-T4), which will need to be taken orally on a daily basis for the rest of your dog's life. 

Natural Remedies

Your veterinarian may prescribe nutraceuticals or glandular supplements such as iodine, selenium or zinc, which all support thyroid health. Zinc and selenium help convert T4 to T3, while iodine is important to a properly functioning thyroid. 

Low-dose natural hormone replacement, homeopathy, fluoride-free filtered water and increased exercise in nature may also be recommended. 

Regular blood tests may be needed to monitor your dog's treatment progress. Once hormone levels have stabilized (which can take some time), your dog will remain on this prescription for life. 

Dermatological Care

Depending on your pet's needs and treatment plan, your vet may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist to have any skin or ear conditions diagnosed and treated. Treatment may include prescription medication, an ear flush, or other options. 

Hypothyroidism in Dogs Treatment Costs

Hypothyroidism tends to be relatively inexpensive to diagnose and manage compared to other health conditions dogs may acquire, such as Cushing's disease. 

Your veterinarian can provide an accurate cost estimate for treating your dog's condition, depending on their medication, diet, ongoing care needs and other aspects of their treatment plan. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing symptoms of hypothyroidism? Contact us. We can perform an exam, identify potential causes and provide treatment. 

New Patients Welcome

Animal Friends Dermatology is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(904) 215-9293 Contact