What are "hot spots" and what are the best ways to treat them?

Sorry, we’re not
talking about Ibiza. ————->

Hot Spots,”  also known as moist eczema, are often associated with dampness of the undercoat in heavy-coated breeds, as well as general inflamed skin irritations caused by a myriad of things. Hot spots are red, weeping rashes that can occur anywhere on the body. If your dog has long hair, the spot may be seen as an oily matting of the surface hair. However, the exact cause of hot spots isn’t completely determined. This is probably because many things can contribute to their origination. Soap residue left in the coat and on the skin after a bath is one main culprit, along with flea infestations, wounds, food or seasonal allergies, and hormone disorders. Other highly suspect causes are food-related; many people believe corn or grain in the diet (often found in lesser-quality foods) can cause many skin irritations to dogs, chief among them, the dreaded hot spots.  Minor skin irritations like insect bites and burrs can turn into hot spots, particularly if the dog has sensitive skin.  Allergies in dogs usually appear after puppyhood, and tend to flare up more in the hot summer months. Hormone disorders like thyroid deficiencies also tend to show up after puppyhood, and are year-round conditions that must be treated by your vet.

Hot spots can appear overnight, growing from a tiny spot to a huge, angry, oozing and hot sore. Dogs then become their worst enemy when it comes to hot spots – the sores hurt and itch, so they try to relieve the pain by chewing at at, which only aggravates the hot spot further.

If the dog breaks out shortly after a bath, then the most likely cause is that he wasn’t rinsed out enough. The best rule of thumb in bathing (and most importantly, rinsing) a dog, is to suds up, rinse until the water runs clear, and then rinse again. And for good measure, dry off with a towel (or let him shake it [shake it like a polaroid picture…!]) and then rinse again.  Rinsing well becomes more critical than ever when using a low-quality shampoo “made for dogs” or even humans. The harsh soap and surfactant chemicals in these low-quality shampoos is the number one cause of dry, itchy skin, dandruff, and the development of skin allergies and worse. To avoid all of these problems, simply use a high-quality, natural and gentle shampoo. This is the main reason that we never use any harsh ingredients or man-made chemicals in any of our products. All earthbath shampoos contain natural essential oils and the most exceptionally mild and renewable coconut-based cleansers along with other skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera. They never contain parabens, harsh soaps, phosphates, or artificial dyes or fragrances.

If you’re facing hot-spot trouble, the key to controlling and clearing it up is to first, prevent the dog from scratching and chewing at it, which only serves to further irritate it, and second, relieve the itching and discomfort (which will obviously help solve the first problem). If your dog simply won’t let the spot alone, you may need to outfit him with a special “collar cone” that he wears around his neck, so he can’t reach the spot. Although there are several prescription ointments that your veterinarian can prescribe, many natural essential oils solve the problem just as well, and without the harsh chemicals. We asked our Facebook fans what their favorite hot-spot solutions are and we got a lot of great answers including the use of Coconut Oil or Neem Oil Salve to help clear up the hot spots easily and quickly, as well as emphasis on a premium, often raw-food diet with a lot of high-quality proteins like bison and venison, with the inclusion of vegetables and cod liver oil to balance the diet out.

If your dog has hot-spot trouble, or general itchy, sensitive or irritated skin, try using our natural Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Shampoo and Spritz. Our Tea Tree Oil spritz is the simple solution: it’s blended with soothing melaleuca oil, nature’s finest hot spot ointment. Tea Tree Oil has long been recognized as an effective and beneficial antibacterial and soothing agent for all skin irritations, ranging from acne to insect bites (if you don’t believe us, try it yourself the next time you have a minor breakout or are a meal for mosquitoes yourself!).   In addition, Aloe Vera is widely known as one of nature’s finest soothing emollients. The combination of Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera soothe and relieve hot spots and itchy, dried or chafed skin caused by flea bites, dandruff or other dermatitis. Both the shampoo and Hot Spot & Itch Relief spritz re-moisturizes the skin and coat while delivering a healthy shine and supple softness, without leaving oily residue. The spritz has premium conditioners, colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal is also very soothing to the skin), and vitamin E help to condition, soothe & rehydrate skin while creating show-quality shines between baths.