A protection dog is more than just something to add a sense of security to our lives. He becomes a part of our family and, just like any loved one, we want to make sure he’s happy and living the best possible life. That’s especially true when it comes to ensuring the new addition isn’t suffering, as dogs tend to do with conditions such as hot spots. In this article, we’ll take a look at what hot spots are and how concerned pet owners can treat them naturally and safely.
Understanding Why Dogs Get Hot Spots Is The First Step Toward Relief
Hot spots don’t just appear. They’re instigated by an external factor, like a flea, mite, or insect bites. Allergic reactions and sensitive skin can also cause a hot spot flare up. Anything that serves to cause the dog to scratch himself may create a perfect storm for a hot spot. Even boredom, which can cause the dog to lick and chew himself for no real reason, can initiate the condition, or exacerbate it even further.
Once continuous scratching, chewing, or licking begins to occur, the area will become red and irritated, sometimes with a skin lesion also appearing in the area of the redness.
Hot spots should be treated as soon as possible, once they have been observed, because the area may spread and create a larger problem. In any case, it’s important to keep our personal protection dogs happy and, if they’re irritating their skin to this extent, there is some underlying problem.
Before considering a course of action for treatment, the first step should be to isolate the specific cause. For instance, consider whether or not your protection dog has gotten into something unusual. Could he have disturbed a bees nest and gotten stung, or stirred up mites in an area of tall grass?
If nothing of that nature seems likely, check to see if there’s matted hair around the area of the hot spot. If the dog’s skin couldn’t properly breathe, that might have been enough to instigate the hot spot.
Also, consider the dog’s diet, especially if he receives table scraps. His food, or something else that he’s eaten, may be causing an allergic reaction. A similar reaction might have been instigated by grass, mold, or pollen.
Additionally, a careful examination of your dog’s mental state may reveal some clues. Has his behavior changed? A change in lifestyle can cause personal protection dogs to experience higher levels of stress and can even lead to depression. For instance, if you worked at home and now suddenly have a job outside the home, this may lead to heightened stress for your pet. While you’re away, the pet may spend his time alone scratching and chewing his fur.
There Are Options For The Treatment Of Hot Spots
As is the case with almost anything, there are multiple treatment options available for the hot spots on your dog. The first inclination may be to visit the local veterinarian, but, as hot spots don’t pose an emergency situation, it may be preferable to consider alternate treatment options. If the hot spot can be eliminated naturally, that would certainly be better for the dog.
Most places that offer personal protection dogs for sale generally offer resources and products that may help cure your pet of his condition. Even in those circumstances, be wary of what commercial products you consider using on the dog. Even the best antibiotics or antifungal ointments or sprays may not permanently alleviate the condition.
Referring back to the previous section, if you haven’t identified and eliminated the root cause of the hot spots, they may return even with medication.
Among the natural remedies available, Calendula (marigold) is the preferred method, proving effective as a cream, lotion, ointment, or salve. The properties in Calendula have proven effective in the reduction of an animal’s itching and skin irritation. It also contributes to the healing process. Calendula can be found in a variety of health food stores.
As a natural substance, Calendula is safe in the event that your dog licks it off his body.
Hypericum (St. John’s Wart) is another effective remedy and is especially effective in combination with Calendula. A tincture made from the two products diluted in water will form a natural antibiotic that can then be used as a wash. Simply mix 12-15 drops of each in one cup of warm water.
HyperCal, the term for this combined tincture, is also available ready made in many health food stores.
Some pet owners may opt for internal remedies and even these are available in natural products. For example, allergic reactions can be alleviated by administering foods rich in antioxidants. Among the most potent sources are berries, green and leafy vegetables, apples, olive oil, kelp, and raw meat.
Also, consider adding essential fatty acids to your dog’s diet. These supplements, which include the Omega-3 commonly found in fish oil, promote healthy skin and eliminate inflammation.
While essential fatty acids may be available wherever there are personal protection dogs for sale, it may be better to get them from health food stores. It’s important to ensure the supplement is fresh, cold-pressed, and refrigerated.
While coconut oil may not directly solve hot spots, it has helped in certain skin conditions in dogs, due to its antifungal properties. Coconut oil is especially effective in curing yeast infections, when administered in one teaspoon doses per every 10 pounds of body weight.
There are additional homeopathic remedies available, which can be found at almost any health food store. Apis, Belladonna, Calendula, Aconite, Pulsatilla, Graphites, Mercurius, Rhus tox, and Arsenicum are common homeopathic remedies, which are typically given in 30C or 200C dosages. The higher dosage should be administered in cases of severely distressed hot spots. In both cases, treatment should be discontinued as soon as improvement is observed.
Consulting a veterinarian or an animal care professional should be considered in cases where the hot spot persists. While natural remedies are preferred, the important factor here is alleviating the dog’s suffering.