Hot spots are extremely frustrating for your dog; they are skin lesions that can quickly become red, oozing and itchy patches that can drive your dog demented with trying to stop the itching. In some cases a dog will start to self-mutilate as he bites and scratches at the affected area.
Common causes of hot spots are flea or insect bites that become infected and bacteria that grows on a moist area of your dog's skin. They are not lethal but can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation and will only get worse if not treated. Long haired dogs tend to suffer more because moisture gets trapped in the coat against the skin and dries in clumps, causing itchy patches.
If you groom and bathe your dog regularly you will pick up on any problems he may be having quickly and can treat the area accordingly. Treatment for a hot spot is not difficult but it is essential to stop it getting any worse. First you should clip the hair around the area and wash it gently with cool water. Do not use water that is too hot or too cold as this only further irritate the area. Pat the affected area dry, do not rub it as this will hurt your dog.
You should use a medicated shampoo to bathe your dog in, no more than twice a week. The shampoo should contain ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal as this will help to soothe skin and are gentle; oils such as Aloe Vera, tea tree and spearmint are also excellent ingredients as these have been proven to be beneficial to the health of your dog's skin. These ingredients help to heal the affected area and reduce the risk of further problems.
A topical spray, containing the same ingredients should be used between baths. As the ingredients are natural and organic you should be able to use this spray every day. They will be gentle on your dog's skin and will not strip the natural oils form his coat. Another excellent ingredient is Zinc PCA. This is used to help repair your dog's skin and stop further problems.
You may also have to purchase a cone collar for your dog to stop him getting at the affected area and irritating it more. Grooming your dog twice a week at the minimum is essential, especially if your dog is a long haired breed. This serves to remove dead hair and skin from his coat and stop irritation. This also helps to distribute the natural oils through your dog's coat and over his skin, stopping it from drying in itchy dry clumps.
Another way to treat and stop potential hot spots is to make sure your dog is eating a healthy balanced diet. If necessary add supplements to his food that will help his skin to repair and build up against further infection. A dog with a well-conditioned coat and skin and a good immune system is likely to succumb to these irritations and infections in the long run.
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