Hot Spot Horror!
Last week, my brother took my three dogs out for a long hike on a mountain trail that runs alongside a shallow river. Every now and then he’d throw a stick into the water for the dogs to dive in after so that they could cool off a bit. Needless to say, they all arrived back home tired and smelling like wet dogs.
A couple of days later I noticed that one of my dogs, CJ, kept scratching and licking himself in one particular area on his stomach. He seemed to obsess about it so much that I decided to take a look myself. I rolled CJ over onto his back and noticed that he had a small cut on his belly and the surrounding skin was red and swollen. He had licked at it so much that his hair had fallen away around the wound.
After talking with my brother, we deducted that my dog must have scratched his belly on a rock or stick while jumping in and out of the river when they were out hiking. That, coupled with his fur remaining wet for such a long period of time, had caused a hot spot.
Hot spots are also referred to as moist eczema and can be small abrasions on a dog’s skin that are caused by damp moisture. In CJ’s case it was the river water staying on his fur and skin for such a long period of time before he came home. The bacteria in the river water had stayed on his skin long enough to form a tiny bacterial colony. This colony then irritated my dog to the extent of him scratching and licking at the spot for relief, although he was merely making things worse for himself.
Hot spots can be caused by anything that either irritates or breaks the skin, and not just by excess moisture. Dogs can get hot spots from being accidently clipped by the groomer or by being shaved too close to the skin. Other causes are allergies and bug bites, such as from fleas and ticks.
These hot spots may appear as painful, swollen, smelly, areas on your dog’s skin that sometimes will ooze liquid as well. The edges are often red with an oozing center and are sometimes covered with a yellow plaque. Most of the time, their fur would have fallen out around the area due to your dog incessantly licking, scratching and biting at it in an attempt to get relief.
Hot spots can occur on any part of the body but the most common locations are the side of the face, top of neck , rump or base of tail.
While almost any dog can get hot spots, those dogs that have long coats or a history of allergies, ear infections, and flea infestations are most susceptible. Dogs that reside in climates that are warm and humid may also have trouble with hot spots when their undercoats are shed.
If left untreated these hot spots can became progressively worse and spread wider across the dog’s body. ith CJ I used Itchin’ for Relief because it contains a combination of Oat Extract, Litchi and Aloe, which all work together to provide soothing relief from the itchiness. It also contains Neem and Grapefruit Seed Extract which have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, as well as Calendula and Boswellia Serrata for their anti-inflammatory properties too.
Six Ways You Can Treat Your Dog’s Hot Spots, Now!
1. Clip away hair on and around the hot spot.
2. Kill any surface bacteria as soon as possible by using a product like Itchin for Relief which is hypoallergenic and soap-free. This will also provide some temporary relief
3. Wash your dog with an oatmeal shampoo . Oatmeal is an excellent way to break the itch cycle and provide relief. Click here to read more about why oatmeal helps to relieve itchy skin.
4. If possible cover the hot spot. You can put a tshirt on your dog to prevent direct access to the wound, or, put some soft booties on his feet. You can also try Lick Strips which is a little adhesive you place on the hot spot to deter licking and biting of hot spots. Finally, in lieu of those awful Elizabethan cones try a . Services the same purpose but is much more Comfy!
5. If your dog is prone to hot spots try a nutritional supplement like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
6. For deeper, internal bacterial conditions put your dog on an immune support product. Try either Healthy Skin Shiny Coat which is a liquid elixir or Eyemunity which is a very effective all natural powder you sprinkle onto your dog’s food. Building your dog’s immune system will help to prevent hot spots for good!