The most common health concern in dogs is skin disorders. Hot spots are particularly common, and they can be easily treated if done so immediately.
A hot spot is a self-inflicted wound caused by compulsive itching, biting or licking of an area of the skin that is irritated. Skin irritation can be caused by environmental or food allergies; poor diet; prior wounds; behavioral issues such as stress, boredom or anxiety; neglectful grooming; fleas and other dermatological parasites; insect bites; and internal issues like ear or anal glad infections.
Ridding your pet of hot spots cannot be done overnight. The healing process may take several weeks and eliminating the risk of future hot spots may take months, depending on the underlying cause.
There are multiple types of medications for treating hot spots on dogs. You can get these medicines from your veterinarian or local pet store. Some of these are:
- Topical antibiotic ointments, sprays or creams such as Vetericyn or Betagen, which will clean the wound while killing the bacteria.
- Oral antibiotics
- Medication to prevent skin parasites
- Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, for reducing inflammation
- Antihistamines to relieve itching
The most effective way to heal the wound is to rid it of any bacterial infections. Clearing out the bacteria will relieve the dog’s pain and itching.
To clean the area, trim the fur around the sore and clear away any excess matting or clumps. If the area is large, shave it carefully. Removing the surrounding fur is vital for allowing air to reach the hot spot.
Once the hair around the hot spot is removed, wash it with any of the following: diluted hydrogen peroxide, gentle non-irritating shampoo, water-based cleanser, or a salt water solution. Rinse the area and dry it gently. Do not allow the dog to lick, scratch or bite the sore.
Take your pet to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet can show you how to properly care for a hot spot, administer proper medication and discover why the hot spots are occurring.
Holistic medicines and home remedies are a great way to keep your pet comfortable and can be used as an alternative and natural way of healing hot spots on dogs.
- Desenex – A foot powder spray that kills fungus and dries out the hot spot.
- Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – Antibacterial solution used as a cool compress with a clean cloth or gauze multiple times a day.
- A & D – A petroleum-based ointment that promotes healing with vitamins A and D.
- Black Tea – The tannic acids found in tea can be used to help heal sores.
- Witch Hazel – Witch Hazel can soothe and cool the skin and/or infected area, as it contains high amounts of tannins, a chemical which helps to repair open wounds, fight bacteria and reduce swelling.
- Burow’s – Over-the-counter products like Burow’s solution, made with aluminium acetate, helps to dry out the infected area.
- Vicks VapoRub – The menthol in Vicks VapoRub relieves itching of the infected area.
- Gold Bond Powder – Keeps the sore dry and relieves itching.
- Homemade Spray – Combine one part water, one part unscented baby oil and one part original Listerine. Place in spray bottle and spray the dog’s hot spot several times per day.
These remedies may not always cure hot spots on dogs, as they could continue to occur if your pet is not taken to a vet to determine their underlying cause.
Prevention Is the Best Cure
To avoid future hot spots on dogs, as well as other skin and health problems, feed your pet a well-balanced diet and supply a dietary supplement of omega fatty acids. This will give your dog a healthy coat while avoiding further skin irritation.
If your dog’s hot spots seem to appear often after eating, your pet may have a grain-based or other food allergy. Switch them to either a hypoallergenic or grain-free diet, and see if the hot spots diminish.
A common cause of hot spots on dogs is flea bites. Administer a monthly flea and tick medicine to avoid any issue with these or other dermatological parasites.
Keep your pet stress-free and provide them with adequate stimulation, exercise and attention to help avoid hot spots due to boredom.
Regularly groom your pet, especially if they are thick-coated. Neglecting to do so may result in matting of the fur, dirt getting trapped in the skin, uncomfortable nail length, etc. Take the dog to a professional groomer or maintain and clean your dog’s coat yourself.
To find out exactly what prevention method works best for your canine friend, take them to a vet.
Hot spots are an easily treatable disorder, which can become painful and unhealthy if ignored. As long as you notice the signs and take the necessary steps, you can cure your dog’s hot spots by learning how to best prevent them.