What are Hot Spots? Well, gross for one thing. They are wet, angry looking sores on a dogs skin. The most common places for a hot spot to develop are on the cheeks, at the base of the tail, and on the feet of our furry companions. They usually happen during warm, humid weather, and most often on long haired dogs like Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands and other dogs with a thick coat. When the skin gets irritated the bacteria and fungi that are normally present begin to grow rapidly and create an irritation on their own.
A hot spot the size of a dime can double in size in just a few hours. Hot spots are very painful and itchy, causing a dog to bite and scratch at the area. This works to help spread the bacteria and allows the hot spot to grow.
Recognizing Hot Spots
Usually, you don’t notice a hot spot until it is large and wet. It is a foul smelling patch of skin that is matted with pus and discharge from the skin.
Fortunately, I was scratching or Golden Retriever under his ears and I found this:
I felt some scabs under his right ear – a place he developed a horrible hot spot last year, and started looking. Sure enough, the skin was starting to get red so I jumped right in to action.
Treating a Hot Spot
First thing first, when ever you are treating a moist dermatitis on dogs (hot spot) you MUST shave the hair away from the sore. If you don’t get the hair shaved away any moisture you use to treat the sore will compound problems. This can be painful! So take precautions, and understand that sometimes you may not be able to do this at home. If you are not able to shave the hair completely away from the sore stop reading now and call your veterinarian!!
When shaving the hair away from the sore, make sure you get the entire area that is involved. Often you will be shaving away a lot more hair than you thought. Keep shaving until you find clear skin without any hint of redness, scabs or evidence of irritation. After shaving, wash the affected area with an antiseptic soap. The Freshly Fit bar from Rolling Pines Farm is a great soap to use.
Once the area is shaved it is time to mix up the treatment. Canine Hot Spot Remedy contains bentonite clay – a highly active clay that can draw moisture and toxins from the skin – and a blend of essential oils that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
When mixing the treatment, you can use any liquid you like. Tap water is fine, but I prefer to use strong black tea. Tea contains tannin to help dry out the skin and reduce inflammation. On this sore, roughly the size of two playing cards, I used about 1/4 tsp of the Hot Spot Remedy powder and an equal amount of tea that has had plenty of time to cool.
Applying the Treatment
The product is packaged so you can replace the small lid on the jar of the powder and mix the amount needed for each treatment in the domed lid. Using plastic utensils (the clay will react with metal reducing its effectiveness) mix the clay and your liquid until you have a thin paste.
After the paste is completely mixed apply a light coat to the entire area affected by the hot spot.
Most dogs will like this step. The cool feel of the mixture can be soothing on irritated skin. After the entire sore is covered allow the mixture to dry. This powder will dry much like a clay facial mask. In time, it can begin to tighten and flake on the skin. This doesn’t bother most dogs, but for some it can be irritating. In 20-30 minutes if your dog is irritated by the powder you can wipe it off with a cool, damp cloth. Just remember to dry the area completely!
Repeat the treatment from washing with soap to applying the paste twice daily until the skin is completely healed. Usually around 3-5 days. If you do not see signs of improvement by day 2 make an appoint for your dog to see the vet. The problem may be more than just a hot spot.
Visit the Rolling Pines Farm Online Store to get your Canine Hot Spot Rescue today!
I hope you never have to deal with canine hot spots, but if you do know I will be here to help!