If you’ve ever seen your dog relentlessly scratching, biting, or licking a specific area of their skin, you may already be familiar with the issue of ‘why do dogs get hot spots.’ Also known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are common but troublesome skin conditions in dogs. The sudden nature of their appearance can leave many pet parents feeling puzzled and concerned.
What Are Hot Spots?
Hot spots, scientifically known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin condition in dogs that appear as localized, inflamed, and often infected areas on the skin. They are characterized by redness, swelling, hair loss, and a moist, oozing surface that can be extremely itchy or even painful for your pet.
Dog Breeds Prone to Developing Hot Spots
Certain breeds with dense undercoats are more prone to hot spots, especially during hot and humid conditions. Here are some breeds that are often more susceptible:
- Golden Retrievers: Their thick, water-resistant coats can trap moisture, making them a breed often prone to dog hot spots.
- Labrador Retrievers: Like Goldens, Labs also have dense coats and a love for water, which can lead to the development of hot spots on the dog’s body.
- Rottweilers: This breed can develop severe hot spots, often as a result of allergies.
- German Shepherds: Their thick double coats can provide an environment for hot spots to develop.
- Saint Bernards: They have dense fur and are prone to several skin issues, including hot spots.
- English Bulldogs: They have sensitive skin that’s prone to many conditions, including hot spots.
- Boxers: Allergies and skin sensitivities can make this breed more prone to hot spots.
- Shih Tzus: Skin problems, including dog hot spots, are common in this breed due to their long, dense coats.
- Shar Peis: Their unique skin folds can trap moisture and create a conducive environment for hot spots.
- Basset Hounds: Their droopy skin can trap moisture, leading to potential hot spots.
Why Do Dogs Get Hot Spots?
While some breeds may be more prone to hot spots, remember that any dog, regardless of breed, can develop this skin condition due to a wide range of causes. The reasons why dogs get hot spots include the following:
- Allergies: Many dogs suffer from allergies, which can be related to food, environmental factors like pollen, or flea bites. These allergies can cause itching and discomfort, leading a dog to scratch or lick the affected area excessively, creating a hot spot.
- Parasites: Flea or mite infestations can lead to intense itching and subsequent hot spots.
- Insect bites: Insects, like mosquitoes, can cause itchy areas on your dog that can lead to the itch scratch cycle.
- Skin irritations: Certain bacterial or fungal infections can cause itching and irritation, leading to the development of hot spots.
- Poor grooming: If a dog’s coat is not regularly groomed, mats and tangles can form, which trap moisture against the skin, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Underlying medical conditions: Some underlying causes can result in skin irritation, leading to hot spots.
- Psychological stress: If your dog scratches or licks in response to stress, behavior, or boredom, it can lead to the formation of hot spots.
Certain breeds with dense coats or those prone to skin issues, such as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, are more likely to develop hot spots. Hot, humid weather conditions can also exacerbate the problem.
Managing Hot Spots with Home Remedies
Your veterinarian may prescribe topical or oral steroids, or oral antibiotics, for infected skin to promote the healing process. In the meantime, there are a few natural ways that may help heal hot spots at home:
- Clean the area: Gently wash the affected area with a mild, non-irritating skin cleanser or antiseptic solution. Pat the area dry afterward – don’t rub, as this may increase irritation.
- Apply a cool compress: Apply a cool compress to the dog’s hot spot for 5-10 minutes a few times a day. This can help promote normal inflammatory responses and provide some relief from itching and discomfort.
- Use an herbal or natural remedy: There are some natural remedies, such as aloe vera or chamomile tea, that can help soothe irritated skin. However, ensure that these products are safe for dogs before use, as some ingredients might be toxic if ingested.
- Prevent excessive licking and scratching: It’s important to prevent your dog from licking or scratching the hot spot, as this can worsen the condition. Using an Elizabethan collar (E-collar or “cone”) can be very helpful.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Providing a balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids can help keep your dog’s skin healthy and provide nutritional support for healthy coats.
Antioxidants to Support Dog Skin Relief
Earth Buddy offers a variety of antioxidants that work at the cellular level to help with irritated dog skin. Here’s how antioxidants might help with dog hot spots:
- Encapsulated or Liposomal Glutathione: promoted at the cellular levels as the ‘master antioxidant’ that helps with the body’s natural detoxification process. Produced mostly in the liver, this antioxidant will help your dog’s natural immune response to skin irritations.
- Quercetin: found in most fruits and vegetables, this potent antioxidant can help manage normal histamine levels associated with seasonal or environmental allergies.
- Coconut Oil: coconut oil is a phenomenal topical option for dogs with hot spots. It can help soothe irritated skin and acts as an antimicrobial for the itchy dog skin.
How Medicinal Mushrooms Can Help
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine and, more recently, are being investigated for their potential health benefits for both humans and pets. They are rich in antioxidants and have immunomodulatory effects, meaning they can help balance the immune response.
Here’s how medicinal mushrooms might assist in managing hot spots in dogs:
- Promoting the immune system: Mushrooms for dogs such as turkey tail, agarikon, lion’s mane, and reishi are known to maintain a normal inflammatory cytokine cascade. A balanced immune response can help the body better handle skin irritations that lead to hot spots by promoting a healthy skin barrier.
- Supports a healthy inflammatory response: Some medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps and reishi support a normal inflammatory response.
- Promotes the body’s innate resistance to pathogens: Certain mushrooms like reishi have been found to promote the dogs’ innate resistance to pathogens, which may assist in fighting the issues associated with hot spots.
How to Prevent Dog Hot Spots
Although you can’t completely prevent hot spots, there are ways to reduce your dog’s risk of developing them. Preventing hot spots in dogs involves addressing the underlying causes and maintaining good general skin health. Here are several steps you can take:
- Regular grooming: Regularly brush your dog’s fur to prevent matted hair and tangling, especially in breeds with thick coats or long coats. Cut out any matted fur you notice the moment you find it, especially around the ears to not only prevent hot spots but ear infections as well. This can help air circulate to the skin and prevent excess moisture that could provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Keep them dry: After a bath, swimming, or a walk in the rain, make sure your dog is thoroughly dried, particularly in the dog’s skin folds and under the fur.
- Tick and flea prevention: Control fleas and ticks to avoid infestations that can cause itching and lead to a dog’s hot spots.
- Allergy management: If your dog has allergies, work with your vet to manage them effectively, whether it involves dietary changes due to food allergies, medications, or environmental modifications.
- Mental stimulation: Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. This can prevent hot spots caused by stress or boredom.
- Regular check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify potential health problems before they lead to hot spots.
- Address underlying health conditions: If your dog has recurrent skin problems, there may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. Regular communication with your veterinarian can help identify and manage these conditions effectively.
For further reading, we recommend:
You Might Also Enjoy
You’re crunching into a juicy apple, and suddenly, those puppy eyes are on you, full…
What you may think are strange behaviors in your dog could be completely normal. To…
One of the most common questions among dog lovers is, ‘why do dogs bark at…