Dog Hot Spots & Home Remedies
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!