If you are loved by a dog suffering from allergies and itching, it is likely that you have been treated for one (or two) hot spots. Dogs experience hot spots when they scratch, bite or chew their fur on a concentrated area of the skin. Itching is usually caused by food or environmental allergies. However, local irritants such as insect bites, burns and chemicals can be sufficient causes to cause this discomfort. Skin health-issue caused by nails and teeth can often cause secondary bacterial infections. This makes the skin even more itchy and the cycle continues. In this article, I will describe how to prevent and treat hot spots in your puppy.
Prevention of hot spots
Most hot spots result from food or environmental allergies. If an allergy (itching) in your dog occurs in certain seasons or if it improves after bathing, it is very likely that your dog is allergic to the environment. If your puppy is itchy all year round, it is possible that your dog has food allergies, environmental allergies, or both. It is important to learn how to distinguish food allergies from environmental allergies and consult a veterinarian.
If you find that your puppy has a food allergy, eliminating some food allergens will be enough to avoid other hot spots. However, if your dog is allergic to pollen in the spring or moldy leaves in the fall (examples of environmental allergies), you can follow these steps to avoid hot spots.
How to prevent hot spots
Immunotherapy. This treatment consists of weekly injections or drops under your dog’s tongue. Don’t worry, the injections are small and applied directly under your dog’s skin. Immunotherapy trains your dog’s immune system to be less reactive to common environmental allergens such as grass, dust, trees, etc.
Controls itching. If you know that some months are difficult for your dog, you can give her medication at that time to reduce the itching she feels. Traditionally, veterinarians used steroids to reduce itching and, fortunately, we now have much safer and effective alternatives. Talk to your veterinarian about your puppy’s abilities.
Bathe regularly and clean your paws. Regular bathing of a dog removes allergens from its coat. Be sure to avoid using hot water and hair dryers, as they can make the itching worse. In addition, brushing your dog’s paws before he goes outside can reduce the amount of allergens on his paws.
Treatment of hot spots
The sooner you can eliminate the hot spot, the faster it will resolve. If you see your puppy scratching, biting or chewing aggressively, intervene as soon as possible. You can follow these steps to remove the hot spots.
Do not let the dog lick/scratch. This is usually best achieved with an Elizabethan collar, also known as an electronic collar or “cone of shame”. If the electronic collar does not work, you can wear t-shirts, socks and baby overalls to protect this place.
Shave. If you cut the hair away from this area, it will help to visualize the ulcer and keep it clean. If your dog often suffers from hot spots, consider buying a hair clipper. To avoid cutting the puppy’s skin, avoid using scissors.
Clear the area. I like to use chlorhexidine-based products like these wipes to clean the area twice a day. You can also use warm soapy water. If the skin is infected at a deep level, antibiotic treatment at the veterinarian may be necessary. The daily striking of an access point can be useful to monitor its progress or resolution in the first days of medical care.
Additive. Make sure your puppy is taking high-quality probiotic and fish oil supplements that promote skin health as the wound heals.
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