Does your furry friend suffer from hot spots?
Formerly known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are moist and irritated patches on your pet’s skin caused by a bacterial infection. Left untreated, they can grow quickly and become quite painful, making early diagnosis especially important.
Hot spots are often found on the neck, hips, belly, and limbs of cats and dogs. Unfortunately, your dog or cat will naturally bite, chew, lick, or scratch the hot spot, making symptoms worse. In fact, licking and chewing on the affected area can create sores that invite bacteria under the skin.
In this post, we’ll explore the symptoms and causes of hot spots, as well as give you some tips on how to prevent and treat hot spots in cats and dogs.
How to Recognize Hot Spots
If your cat or dog has hot spots, you’ll notice the following symptoms:
- Constant licking or chewing the same spot on their skin
- Obvious signs of pain or discomfort
- Raw spots that scab, weep, or pus
- Lesion that appears red or raised
- Unexplained swelling
- Unpleasant odor emitting from the affected area
What Causes Hot Spots in Cats and Dogs
Essentially, anything that irritates your pet’s skin causing them to constantly chew or lick, can cause a hot spot. Primary causes include insect bites, poor grooming, allergic reactions to food ingredients or fleas, and aching joints.
In addition, particularly hot or humid weather can cause excess skin moisture which can lead to the development of hot spots. This explains why warm seasons tend to make hot spots worse. That being said, hot spots can occur at any time of the year.
A pet’s behavioural issue may also cause them to unnecessarily bite, scratch or lick their fur, leading to hot spots.
Lack of exercise or mental stimulation, as well as separation anxiety when you leave the house can contribute to excessive licking and, in turn, the development of hot spots as well.
How to Prevent and Treat Hot Spots
The best way to prevent hot spots in dogs and cats is to keep your pet’s skin as healthy as possible. In addition to regularly grooming their fur which will prevent matted fur from trapping moisture and attracting parasites, we recommend using natural and safe products to protect their skin or soothe symptoms.
This Organic Paw Salve for Dogs is one of our favourite dog rash creams. An oil-based balm made with therapeutic herbs that are safe for your dog to lick at, it’s great at gently soothing itchy hot spots or any angry skin problem your furry friend may be suffering from - such as eczema. Please note that since it contains essential oils, it is NOT safe for cats. For cats we recommend using aloe vera straight from the plant.
This unscented Natural Pet Shampoo Bar for cats and dogs both is made with a natural base of nourishing organic oils and coconut milk to soothe the skin. For dogs only, we also love this Organic and Natural Dog Shampoo Bar made with soothing oats and honey.
Diet for Dog with Eczema
Just like diet can trigger eczema with humans, the food your dog eats might be contributing to an eczema flare-up.
Ingredients such as wheat, corn, soy, rice and beet pulp tend to be common culprits for triggering a reaction. To determine your dog's food sensitivities, consider trying an elimination diet. You can try home cooking for your pet to easily identify which proteins or grains are causing their skin issues. Since it can be hard to ensure you're pet is getting proper nutrients when cooking for them at home, we suggest looking into these veterinarian created supplements to add to your pet's meals.
For dogs, try this Supplement for Homemade Dog Food.
For cats, try this Homemade Cat Food Supplement.
Be sure, however, to work with your veterinarian as changing your furry friend's diet can cause issues with skin, indigestion, and even vomiting.
Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes.