A Dog Hot Spot is Due to a Bacterial Overgrowth, but why is the Question…
A dog hot spot is when the dogs own skin bacteria over populates a certain area. This suggest that the immune defences are down, and something is happening to deplete the bodies resources that would normally keep this in check. The most common reasons are food sensitivity, periodontal disease and underlying illness.
The solution to hot spots on dogs is three fold: Firstly, the hot spot needs to be treated. Secondly the immune system needs to be supported and boosted back to full capacity. While the treatments are being applied you are going to find out what caused this condition in the first place so that it doesn’t happen again.
Treating A Dog Hot Spot
1. Disinfect The Wound
We recommend clipping the hair away from the wound all the way to the good skin. Wash the raw wound in an anti-septic, such as diluted iodine or hibiscrub (available in most pharmacies and is great at killing many of the skin bacteria’s as well as most viruses, yeast and some fungi). This can then be washed away with some green tea (a teabag in a cup of warm water is fine), as it is great for skin. If the wound is constantly oozing then you may need to be constantly disinfecting it, as much as every 2-4 hours.
2. Treat The Damaged Skin
Next, either apply some aloe vera (pick up a real plant, cut a stem and squeeze the goo right on there, no need for products here) or a thin layer of manuka honey (supermarket), on to the wound. Personally we prefer to use the former if it is available (you can use aloe vera on everything from cuts to rashes to burns, it is THE skin healer) as it is not as messy nor as tasty!
Take note, it may be necessary to stop the dog from licking the hot spot if it’s on their foot (put a sock on it and tape it on) or with a lampshade collar should the hotspot be on their chin or side. Don’t worry, it’s only for a couple of days while the hot spot dries up and the issue with the diet is taken care of. The licking is more habitual than anything, so don’t worry.
3. Boost The Lowered Immune System
Now the immune reserves need to be back to fighting fit. To do this add some natural immune boosting substances to the dog’s diet, such as a nice natural multivitamin like kelp, brewers yeast or spirulina, and a good oil, such as, cod liver oil or even vitamin E from a natural health shop (dose according to body size as per human guidelines).
Finally, the microbiota that govern the whole process need to be improved. This can be done by adding a dollop of plain pro-biotic yoghurt or kefir to every meal. Better still find pick up some canine probiotics like Hyperbiotics which are designed with dogs in mind (their flora is different to us omnivores and their gut acids dissolve all the good stuff, good canine biotics are in time-release capsules that open in the intestines where they’re needed).
4. Remove the Cause of Hot Spots on Dogs
The number one cause for hot spots on dogs is food sensitivity, with the number one food item to cause hot spots in dogs being wheat gluten. By removing wheat-based foodstuffs from the dog’s diet the issue of hot spots can usually be cleared up. So no more dry food, dental sticks, bread, pasta or cereal-based dog treats – not a crumb. This is not the only food that can cause this problem to arise and we have covered other food-based allergies in the article Allergies in Dogs.
Next check the teeth and gums. Work on getting them nice and clean using raw meaty bones.
Not All Hot Spots on Dogs are Hot Spots
Not all hot spots are created by food, some are emotional / stress related so make sure to have a good think over what’s changed in the last few days. Others can indicate pain or discomfort somewhere else in the body, somewhere is accessible that they can’t lick so they lick their paws as they’re accessible. One poster on Facebook mentioned that, unbeknownst to the author, her dog had Cushing’s and had licked herself raw in one spot (something like a hotspot) until she was diagnosed and treated. If you can’t cure it yourself take them to the vet.
Click for more on itchy skin conditions in dogs.