Does your dog suffer from hot spots and itchy skin?
Ever seen your furry companion compulsively bite or worry a part of the body and leave a reddish patch behind? The skin irritation, if not treated in time, can fester and grow and turn into a full-fledged skin condition
called a hot spot.
It’s not really a critical condition if you catch and treat it well in time. Let’s read and understand a little more about this common ailment.
What are hot spots?
The medical term for a hot spot is moist dermatitis. It is seen in many pets, but it is mostly dogs who suffer from this condition.
These spots can appear almost suddenly and the surrounding area can get affected pretty quickly. Also, because it annoys the dog, he keeps licking and biting at it, worsening the situation.
There are several causes for the condition, but the main culprit is usually bacteria.
What causes hot spots on dogs?
When your dog’s skin is irritated or even slightly broken, it creates the right environment for bacteria to grow. And if the skin is even slightly moist, like after a bath or a swim or even from a walk in the wet grass, it can be a warm welcome to bacteria.
If your dog itches and scratches or licks himself excessively, it forms a wet scab. There is more licking and biting, and it gets into a vicious circle.
Hot spots usually start off as an allergic reaction, an insect bite, lack of grooming or an underlying disease. There have been cases of dogs getting hotspots because of boredom or stress. More often than not, it is the thick or long haired breeds that get affected the most.
Here are some physiological causes for hot spot:
Could there be an emotional issue?
- Could your dog have been bitten by an insect?
- Is the coat matted around the hot spot not letting the skin underneath breathe?
- Did he eat something unusual?
- Has your dog been exposed to grass, pollen, molds, or stagnant water?
- Does he have a sensitive spot, perhaps an aching hip or knee that he’s always licking?
- Could he have fleas? Flea allergy dermatitis has been known to cause hot spots.
- Is your dog getting enough exercise and mental stimulation? Could your dog be bored?
- Does your dog stay at home alone a lot and get upset? Has the home situation changes in any way?
How to treat dog hot spots?
After you’ve identified that your dog is suffering from a hot spot, it’s time to begin treatment. Most hot spots respond quickly to oral and topical antibiotics. If you’ve caught the hot spot early, you can do the treatment at home. If the wound has been festering for a long time, it’s best if you let the veterinarian treat it.
- Start by trimming the hair around the hot spot. You can use dog clippers or shave it.
Wash the area with a mild water-based astringent or antiseptic spray. Pat it dry.
- Ask the veterinarian for the medicines and apply those. Most of them help in stopping itching and encourage healing.
- If your dog is still licking or biting the area, you might want to consider using an Elizabethan collar (a plastic cone) to keep him from reaching the hot spot.
- Hot spots can spread quickly, so you need to keep an eye on the area to ensure it is healing properly.
- You will have to to clean the spot every two hours or so for the first few days. Once you see that the wound has stopped oozing and looks dry, then you just need to keep it clean. Hair will grow back, sometimes of a different color within a few weeks.
Hot spots in summers, and how to prevent them
While a dog can get a hot spot in any season, summertime seems to make them more vulnerable. That is also when they run around in the water. Summer is also breeding time for ticks. It is still unclear why some ticks can cause a hot spot, and why some don’t. We should just be glad that not all tick bites can lead to this skin condition.
Groom your dog regularly. Brush and remove any matted hair. If your dog is long or thick-furred, shave him closely (not fully) in the summer. He will feel cooler and he will not stay damp after a swim in the lake.
If you suspect your dog’s hot spot started because of a food allergy, consider changing his diet. A natural, species-appropriate diet will keep most skin and health issues at bay.
While on the subject of species-appropriate food, have you considered BARF?
Have you given thought to BARF
– Basic Ancestral Raw Food?
The best way to help keep hot spots, allergies and skin issues away, feed your dog a balanced, species-appropriate food. And the best option is raw. A part of the wolf family (yes, even your sweet Lab or lap-sized Apso), your dog needs and will thrive only on a raw diet.
Raw food is a natural food and it contains the exact mix of all the nutrients and goodness that a dog would get if it were a wild creature. More importantly, it doesn’t have any of low quality protein that is not good for your dog.
You can make your own raw food in the right proportion, or you can buy commercially prepared raw food for your diet. Whatever you do, eliminate or limit the amount of bad protein from your dog’s diet. And watch your furry companion fight the infection better.