Dog hot spots often happen during both the spring and fall shedding season and are the bane of many dogs’ existence. Some develop hot spots all year long, especially those with very thick, wooly coats. Have your dogs ever suffered from hot spots, a kind of moist dermatitis in dogs?
Fortunately, hot spots are not a problem for cats. Kitties, though, do have their own issues with shedding and hairballs. Bathing cats can help with that.
When dog hot spots are a chronic problem, it can be aggravating and frustrating for pet owners. And painful for the dog! While severe problems need veterinary attention, home remedies for dog hot spots often help enormously.
I’m sharing this entry about dog HOT SPOTS which is an excerpt from Dog Facts. This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:
Hair, Hair Loss, Heart Disease, Heartworm Disease, Hematoma, Hemophilia, Herbs, Hernia, Hip Dysplasia, Holistic Medicine, Homeopathy, Hookworms, Hot Spots, House Training, Human-Animal Bond, Hunting Behavior, Hyperparathyroidism, Hyperthermia (Heatstroke), Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar), Hypoparathyroidism, Hypothermia, and Hypothyroidism.
I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.
WHAT ARE DOG HOT SPOTS?
Also referred to as acute moist dermatitis, a hot spot is a localized area of self-induced trauma that becomes infected. Dogs suffering from atopy (inhalant allergy) are at the highest risk. But all dogs can develop these sores.
Dog breeds with heavy double coats like Chow Chows and German Shepherds like Magic seem most prone to developing hot spots immediately prior to shedding, when dead hair may be trapped next to the skin. For unknown reasons, Golden Retrievers tend to develop deeply infected hot spots.
These days, Magic is shedding like crazy, leaving drifts of black woolly fur everywhere. If I didn’t constantly comb and pull off the dead clumps, chances are he’d develop dog hot spots, too.
DIAGNOSING DOG HOT SPOTS
Hot spots can appear anywhere on the dog’s body, but the rump, tail, back, and flanks are common sites. Usually, the hot spot appears suddenly as an initially small circular area of hair loss, but they can spread rapidly. Sores can grow to several inches in diameter within a few hours. The infection often smells bad and secretes pus, and hot spots typically are moist due to licking and/or the weeping of the wound, and hot because of infection and inflammation.
No one is certain what causes a hot spot to form, but it’s thought to be prompted by some minor irritation, like a flea bite. Itchiness and discomfort prompt licking and nibbling, and when the dog can’t leave the wound alone, a hot spot erupts.
HOW TO TREAT DOG HOT SPOTS WITH HOME REMEDIES
Treatment consists of getting air to the infection so it will heal and dry, and preventing further self-mutilation. A collar restraint prevents him from licking or nibbling the sore.
Hot spots are both itchy and painful, and often require a veterinarian to sedate the dog before treatment can begin. The fur surrounding the area is clipped away, the skin is cleansed with an antibacterial preparation like diluted hydrogen peroxide, Nolvasan, Betadine, Oxydex or pHisoHex. Pet-formulations of benzoyl peroxide-containing cleansers help reduce the itchiness, dry the lesion, and flush out hair follicles, as well as kill certain bacteria.
Once cleansed, a medication like Burrow’s solution, available at most drug stores or pet stores, may be applied and seems to work quite well to dry the sore. Holistic veterinarians recommend using calendula to soothe the sore. Witch hazel can help cool down the heat of hot spots because it evaporates as quickly as alcohol but without the sting. You can use that two or three times a day.
Another natural remedy for hot spots is the tannic acid found in black tea. This astringent helps dry out the sores so they heal more quickly. Soak a tea bag in hot water, let it cool, and apply the bag directly to the sore for five minutes. You can do this three or four times a day.
VETERINARY TREATMENTS FOR DOG HOT SPOTS
The veterinarian may prescribe ointments like Panalog or Neocort, or short-acting corticosteroids like prednisone that reduce the irritation. Occasionally, antibiotics are required to clear up deep infection. The underlying problem, fleas, allergy, or whatever, must also be addressed.
Since dogs aren’t able to adequately groom themselves, owners must take great responsibility for seeing that coat care is provided. Grooming during shedding season is particularly important and can help prevent problems like hot spots from developing.
How about your dogs? Do they suffer from hot spots? How do you manage the sores?
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
Holistic treatments are always preferred over prescription treatment. Luckily hot spots can treated fairly easily.
Great remedies here, I will have to try these out with my baby Pitbull.
Help! My 6 yr.old kitty is working on a spot, hair is gone & I don’t know what I can use on her. She has never had this problem before. It is not an open sore, just itching like crazy ! She has me wanting to scratch.Can she have anything like Benadryl ? She weighs 13 lb.’s. I’m not physically able to take her into the Vet right now.
So sorry your cat is miserable with an itchy spot. There are SOOO many kinds of things can make cats itch. Where is the spot? on her body? behind an ear? on a leg? that can sometimes point to the cause. Yes, you can safely give Benadryl to cats at a dose of 1 mg for every pound they weigh, once every 8 hours or so. If she weighs 13 lbs, that would be 13 mg. BUT…it’s hard to know if that would help her or not, again, depending on the underlying cause. Even if you can’t take her to the vet, I’d strongly urge you to give them a call, describe what’s going on, and maybe they can offer more specific advice. Good luck!
The itchy spot is on her side. My husband put Hartz UltraGaurd Pro on her & her sister about three wk.’s ago because I found a flea on me !. Haven’t seen another one since. No problems on her sister, her skin is just fine. This is the first problem we have had since I adopted them 6 yr.’s ago. They are my first cats ever. I was hoping to find a home remedy I suppose. We went by the directions on the package. She doesn’t like water, but I’m tempted to try & bathe her.Thank you so much for getting back to me. I am one of your followers !
Awww….every pet is different and some cats are quite sensitive. If it’s been 3 weeks, a bath probably won’t affect the Hartz product. You can bathe, though, or use Witch Hazel on a cotton ball (that might help relieve the itch). Nice to “meet” you!
My parents had a part GSD and evry summer he had reaction to the pollen from the backyard. Ralph llicked and scratched & ended up with no hair at the base of his spine. They took him to the Vet. Every summer he was absolutely miserable and a big bare area. They moved to another house when Ralph was about 3. Before then he never had problems. This went on through the 70’s & early 80’s.
Mary, that’s so frustrating. Our first dog had horrific skin allergies when we lived in Kentucky and Tennessee but curiously they resolved when we moved to Texas. Go figure.
Thanks Amy, These are very useful remedies. I impress from you!