How to Treat Dog Hot Spots Naturally

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Discover how to identify and treat dog hot spots naturally. Our blog post delves into the causes, symptoms, and natural remedies for this common skin issue.

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As a dog owner, you probably know that taking care of a furry friend can be challenging, especially when they develop skin problems. One of the most common skin issues that dogs experience are hot spots.

These painful and itchy skin lesions can become a real problem if left untreated. Therefore, in this blog post, we’ll discuss what dog hot spots are and how to treat them properly, so your furry friend doesn’t have to suffer.

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are painful and inflamed areas of the skin that can occur in dogs. Several factors can contribute to the development of hot spots:

  1. Moisture and Irritation: Hot spots often develop in areas where moisture is trapped against the skin, such as in thick fur, folds, or areas that are frequently licked or scratched. This moisture can lead to skin irritation and create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
  2. Allergies: Allergies, whether food allergies, environmental allergies (like pollen or dust mites) or contact allergies (such as reactions to certain shampoos or materials), can cause dogs to scratch or chew their skin excessively. This can lead to the development of hot spots.
  3. Fleas and Parasites: Flea infestations or other external parasites can irritate a dog’s skin, leading to itching and scratching. When dogs scratch or bite at these areas, they can break the skin’s barrier, making it susceptible to bacterial infection.
  4. Underlying Skin Conditions: Some underlying skin conditions, such as seborrhea or pyoderma, can make a dog more prone to developing hot spots. These conditions may disrupt the normal balance of the skin, making it more vulnerable to irritation and infection.
  5. Stress or Anxiety: Dogs that are stressed, anxious, or bored may engage in excessive licking, chewing, or scratching as a coping mechanism. This can lead to the formation of hot spots, especially if they repeatedly target the same area.
  6. Poor Grooming: Inadequate grooming or poor coat maintenance can contribute to the development of hot spots, especially in breeds with thick or long fur.
  7. Skin Infections: Bacterial or yeast infections can be a primary cause of hot spots or develop as a secondary infection in an already irritated area.
  8. Trauma or Injury: Any injury to the skin, such as a scratch, cut, or insect bite, can become a hot spot if it becomes infected and the dog continues to irritate it by licking or scratching.
  9. Underlying Health Issues: Some underlying health issues, such as endocrine disorders or immune system problems, can make dogs more susceptible to skin problems, including hot spots.

It’s essential to identify and address the underlying cause of hot spots to effectively prevent their recurrence. If your dog develops a hot spot or is prone to it, consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your vet can also provide guidance on managing any underlying issues or allergies that may be contributing to the problem.

terrier dog looking at camera

What Do Hot Spots Look Like?

You can’t treat hot spots if you don’t know how to detect them. Hot spot symptoms for dogs include:

  • Bright red and moist patches of skin
  • Hair loss in the area of the hot spot
  • Inflammation and swelling of the affected area
  • Excessive licking or scratching in the area

How to Treat Hot Spots Naturally

Treating hot spots on dogs involves cleaning, medicating, and controlling your dog’s environment. Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are painful and itchy skin irritations that can develop on dogs. While it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to properly diagnose and treat hot spots, there are some natural remedies and home care you can consider to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort:

  1. Keep the Area Clean: The first step is to gently clean the affected area with a mild, pet-safe antiseptic solution. You can use a mixture of warm water and mild, unscented soap or saline solution. Be very gentle as hot spots can be painful.
  2. Clip the Hair: Trim the hair around the hot spot to allow air to circulate and help keep the area dry. Make sure you use blunt-edged scissors to avoid injuring your dog further.
  3. Cool Compress: Apply a cool, damp cloth or a tea bag (like chamomile or green tea) to the hot spot for about 5-10 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce inflammation and soothe the area.
  4. Aloe Vera Gel: You can apply a small amount of pure aloe vera gel to the hot spot to help soothe the skin. Make sure it’s 100% pure aloe vera without added chemicals or preservatives.
  5. Calendula Cream: Calendula is known for its soothing properties. Apply a calendula cream or ointment to the hot spot to promote healing.
  6. Tea Tree Oil (Diluted): Tea tree oil can have antibacterial properties, but it must be diluted before use on dogs. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil and apply a small amount to the hot spot. Be cautious with tea tree oil as it can be toxic if ingested.
  7. Oatmeal Bath: Soak your dog in a lukewarm oatmeal bath to help relieve itching and inflammation. Oatmeal has soothing properties for irritated skin.
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar: Diluted apple cider vinegar can help balance the skin’s pH and may have some antibacterial properties. Mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar, and apply it to the hot spot using a cotton ball.
  9. Dietary Changes: Sometimes, hot spots can be caused or exacerbated by food allergies or sensitivities. Consult with your vet about potential dietary changes that might help.
  10. Prevent Further Irritation: Use an Elizabethan collar (also known as the cone of shame) to prevent your dog from licking or biting the hot spot, as this can make it worse.

Remember that while these natural remedies can provide relief, they may not completely cure the underlying issue causing the hot spot. If the hot spot doesn’t improve within a day or two, or if it worsens, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They may prescribe antibiotics, or topical medications, or recommend other treatments based on the severity of the hot spot. Additionally, your vet can help identify and address any underlying causes, such as allergies or skin infections, to prevent future hot spots.

washing a dog in a bath tub

How I Treated Kenzo’s Hot Spots

When Kenzo had hotspots on his front paws we went to a natural pet store in Mequon and purchased: RenuPlex Healing Spray for Dog Hot Spots.

We also gave him coconut oil every day orally via the Healthy & Homemade Peanut Butter + Coconut Oil Dog Treats I make for him.

Why Dogs Get Hot Spots

Finally, a vital aspect of treating hot spots is to address the root cause of the problem. If you think that the hot spot appeared due to allergies or fleas, then it’s important to change your dog’s diet and remove harsh chemicals from their environment.

For fleas and ticks, you should use a natural flea repellent or a veterinarian-approved product.

Reach Out to Your Vet As Needed

Remember that while these natural remedies can provide relief, they may not completely cure the underlying issue causing the hot spot. If the hot spot doesn’t improve within a day or two, or if it worsens, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They may prescribe antibiotics, or topical medications, or recommend other treatments based on the severity of the hot spot. Additionally, your vet can help identify and address any underlying causes, such as allergies or skin infections, to prevent future hot spots.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hot spots are a common skin problem that dogs experience. They are painful, sensitive, and require prompt attention.

Proper wound cleaning, using natural remedies like aloe vera or coconut oil, keeping the skin dry, and using an Elizabethan collar are the key steps in treating the hot spots.

Additionally, addressing the underlying problem is crucial in preventing re-occurrence. By following these tips, you can help your furry friend heal quickly and prevent any complications associated with hot spots.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian before using any product or remedy on your dog’s skin.

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