There can be a number of causes for hot spots on our pets. These can range from fleas, allergies, or even to stressful conditions. Because of this, there are a couple of variables to evaluate and different strategies to address them.
What is a Hot Spot on a Dog?
Has this scenario happened to you? You look at your dog or cat and notice all of a sudden they have a small area of hair loss, redness, localized inflammation, or even infection. This is a hot spot.
How Long Do Hot Spots Last?
Its not usual for a hot spot to get better quickly and on its own without attention. In fact, sometimes you'll check back later to find it is much worse. Usually this progression continues. This is because your pet is doing this damage to himself by licking, scratching, and biting. But what is it that is driving them crazy? You need to channel your Sherlock Holmes and use the process of deduction.
Potential Causes of Hot Spots
- Invading creatures like fleas, mites, insect bites
- Contact with certain substances: pollen, dust
- Change in environment
How to Treat Hot Spots on Your Dogs
1. Address the Hot Spot Area
- As hot spots are quite painful, for your own protection and your animals comfort be sure to carefully and delicately proceed.
- Dry out the hot spot by shaving the area and letting it air dry.
- Cleanse the area with cool water and if possible with a gentle cleanser.
- Cool compress the area three times a day with a cool, wet washcloth.
- If needed, put a cone or special collar on your animal to keep them from reaching the spot and further aggravating it.
2. Solve the Original Root Cause of the Hot Spot
- In the case of invading creatures, use proper pest control for your animal
- In the case of allergies:
- Food allergies: Remove the offending food. Often pet foods contain grains, byproducts, and fillers that cause problems for pets. Switch to a grain-free food like Nusentia Raw & Grain Free dog food.
- Inhalant allergies: Think about any new chemicals used in the home or especially around where your animal sleeps.
- Contact: Do the hot spots come at certain times of the year? Often animals can get pollen or other substances from outside on their coats and this can cause a reaction. Simply, when your animal comes in, take a wet cloth and run it over the fur in a manner that would wipe off substances on the top of the coat.
- Stress: Pinpoint when it seems to happen. It could be related to separation or changes in their environment, especially living arrangements. Just as in humans, one of the best ways to reduce stress is exercise. Try and get your animal to be active. With dogs, you can take them places and on long walks. With cats make sure they have toys and items/areas that they can explore.
3. Supporting Hot Spot Therapies
In severe infections your vet may want to prescribe antibiotics, and while some circumstances may require antibiotics, we like to take a more holistic approach when possible. A popular topical method of therapy is to apply a tea bag which compresses to dry out the wound. Additionally, amending the diet can help support internal issues to combat the problem.
Nutritionally, a high Omega-3 fish oil like Celavin™ can help the body reduce systemic inflammation. Taking it one step further, Dermix™ skin and coat is great wellness liquid for dogs suffering from these types of skin issues.
The above approaches should work nicely in helping to alleviate and control hot spots and their cause. Happy pets, happy owners!