Hot spots are a pretty common problem, but dog owners often have trouble to identify them. You might not even be aware that your pup has this issue, especially if he belongs to a breed with a long coat, e.g. Golden Retriever or St. Bernard.
So, the big question is how to find them? Well, the clue is in the name. Look for red spots on your dog’s skin. The spots might be tiny, but you will notice that there’s something wrong because they clearly differ from healthy skin. The affected area is usually moist and the dog reacts when you touch it.
If the infection is still in its early stages, there might be hair growing out of the hot spot. At that point, it’s difficult to notice that there’s something wrong going on. But, if left untreated, hot spots can turn into an even more severe issue for the dog.
The good news is that there are several ways to treat them successfully. Still, the best way to deal with hot spots is to deal with their cause.
Finding the Root of the Problem is Essential
The thing about hot spots is that they’re just a manifestation of another health issue. Hot spots are basically infections caused by scratching. Finding out why your dog is scratching is the key to solving the problem.
Some of the most common reasons why dogs scratch so vigorously that hot spots appear to include the following:
1. Fleas or Lice
The number one cause of the problem is flea infestation. These tiny parasites thrive in the dog’s coat. They consume blood by piercing through the skin and sucking it out.
Although they can be as small as 1/16 of an inch, fleas do cause pain to dogs. The pain is not severe, it is more of an itching sensation.
But, itching can be really annoying to dogs and they deal with it by scratching themselves vigorously. And dog nails are very sharp. The result is that by scratching, dogs can inflict themselves skin injuries, which can quickly turn into hot spots.
2. Allergic Reaction
Your dog might be allergic to certain types of foods, e.g. chicken or pork. In fact, about 2 percent of all dogs have some kind of food allergy.
The problem manifests itself in rashes on their skin, which you, of course, cannot see because of their coat. But, the dog can feel them.
3. Ear Canal Infection
In many cases, it’s not a skin problem that’s causing hot spots. It might be an ear infection. Such infections hurt and itch, but because the dog can’t reach the affected area, they scatch the part behind the ears and on the neck.
And because scratching doesn’t solve the problem, the dog might decide to take it up a notch, thus inflicting himself wounds that would later turn to hot spots.
4. Anal Sacs Diseases
Similarly to ear canal infections, anal sac problems can also produce itching sensation. And because dogs can’t reach the area that itches, the will scratch their side or rub their tail and their back over a wall.
If they do it persistently, the chances are high that they will cause themselves some skin wounds.
5. Yeast Infection
Another common cause of hot spots is a yeast infection, which similarly to flea infestations, also make dog’s skin irritable. Yeast infections can happen on any part of their body, but because these organisms prefer damp environment, infections often happen in dog’s ears.
6. Hot and Humid Environment
Some dogs are just not made for hot and damp weather. With their long and thick coat, they don’t feel too great in such environments.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ship your Yorkshire terrier to Alaska, it means that you need to help him out with proper coat care. By this, we mean that you need to have his hair cut on a regular basis.
Photo credit: vetwest.com.au
Best Ways to Treat the Symptoms of Hot Spots
Even if you manage to treat the cause of hot spots, it doesn’t mean that they will miraculously disappear overnight. An infected hot spot can leave a scar on their skin, from which the hair will never grow again. To prevent such a scenario from happening, there are some things you can do.
First of all, the fact that it’s infected means that you got to treat it with an antiseptic. Sure, dogs’ bodies are great at fighting off infections, but if your pup has been struggling with severe disease (or if he’s just old), the infection might refuse to go away easily.
Unfortunately, using simple antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide might not do the work. It will probably kill the germs that are causing the infection, but it will cause irritation to the dog. And that means that he’ll start scratching the same spot all over again.
That’s why it’s best to go for a product that also acts like a cooling agent, e.g. the Banixx remedy for hotspots. Such a product will not only treat the infection but will make the pain and itching go away.
Final Word on How to Keep Their Skin Healthy and Their Coat Shiny
Most of the potential causes of hot spots can be prevented with proper care and diet. To prevent flea infestations and yeast infections, you need to take good care of your fog’s hygiene as well as use anti-parasite products on a regular basis.
To prevent hot spots emerging as a result of an ear infection or an anal sac disease, you need to make sure your dog gets to eat a well-balanced diet.
But, even if your dog’s foot is rich in nutrients, it doesn’t mean it is good enough for him. Actually, it might be making things even worse – he could be allergic to some of the ingredients.
This is why the very best thing you can do to prevent hot spots is to pay regular visits to the vet. After all, it’s their job to ensure your four-legged friend stays healthy.
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