Does Your Dog Get Hot Spots?

Posted by Dawn Donaldson


It's fairly common for dogs to regularly lick specific areas of their body. Although that behavior isn't problematic on its own, you should keep an eye out for licking that progresses to biting or excessive scratching. When a dog starts doing that, it can cause the upper layer of the skin to get infected. The scientific name for this infection is pyotraumatic dermatitis, but it's more commonly referred to as a hot spot.


Understanding the Causes of Hot Spots


A dog usually won't start biting or scratching parts of its body for no reason. Instead, this behavior generally starts with an insect bite, allergic reaction or other issue that causes itching. In an attempt to get rid of the itch, a dog will begin by licking the area. When that fails to provide relief, a dog will take more aggressive actions like biting or scratching. The unfortunate reality is instead of getting rid of the itch, this approach only makes the problem worse. A dog can easily end up with spots of skin that are red and raw.


Two of the most common areas for dogs to develop hot spots are their rear ends and behind their ears. The first location generally stems from flea-allergy dermatitis, while the second can happen if a dog has an unaddressed ear infection. Dogs with longer coats are most at risk of developing hot spots. This condition is also most likely to occur during the hottest and most humid times of the year.


How to Help Your Dog with a Hot Spot


If you ever notice that your dog is starting to scratch or bite part of its body a lot, you'll want to take a closer look at that spot. What you see can range from a mild irritation to skin that's completely raw. For a hot spot that falls into the mild irritation category, you may be able to help your dog by using a natural cream.


With hot spots that are already raw or one that continues to get worse, the best course of action is to visit your vet. There are two significant ways that your vet will be able to help with a hot spot. The first is accurately identifying the underlying cause. Not only will this help to break the itch-scratch cycle, but it will also help to minimize the likelihood of a hot spot coming back.


The other way your vet will be able to help is by assessing the hot spot and preventing or treating any infection. Depending on the severity of the hot spot, a vet may utilize anti-inflammatory medications, topical antiseptics or a local treatment for the wound. Options like a T-shirt or e-collar may also be used to prevent further irritation to the hot spot so that it has an opportunity to heal.

Important Winter Care Tips for Your Dog

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

It's true that dogs have a much more robust natural coat than humans. However, that doesn't mean dogs can handle the really cold temperatures we experience in Cincinnati without any help. Because domestic dogs are used to being taken care of by their owners, the same applies during the winter.


The good news is by knowing a few essential winter care tips, you'll be able to keep your pup happy and healthy through even the worst winter days. So with that in mind, let's take a look at exactly what your dog needs from you when the temperature drops really low:


1. Grooming


Dry skin and flaky coats are common issues during the winter. You can help your dog by using a moisturizing shampoo and limiting the number of bathes it gets during the winter months. Frequent brushing is also a great way to get rid of skin flakes and stimulate good skin circulation.


2. Cold Weather Gear


A good rule of thumb is if it's too cold for you to go out without some type of coat, the same is true for your dog. It's worth looking into different coat and sweater options for your pup. You should also see if any protective footwear options make sense for your dog.


3. Walks


You may ultimately decide that booties aren't the right fit for your dog. If that's the case, there are also cream products that can create a protective barrier on your dog's feet during walks. You'll want to check your dog's feet when you get home and clean off any debris. As you're out for a walk, be sure to keep an eye out for anti-freeze or other chemicals on the ground. And if your dog is whining or showing other signs of anxiety, it probably means it's just too cold that day for a walk.


4. Winter Safety


In addition to avoiding chemicals that may spill on the sidewalk, don't ever leave your dog alone in the car. While this warning is more common during the summer, the extreme temperatures of winter can be just as dangerous. And if you have extra devices like space heaters plugged in around your home, make sure your dog can't get to the extension cords or any hot surfaces.


5. Hydration


Just as the winter is still a dangerous time to be alone in a car, it's possible for dogs to get dehydrated during the colder months. Make sure your dog always has a clean bowl of fresh water easily available.


By keeping those five tips in mind, you'll be able to help your dog manage the cold weather of winter. And if you're looking for a place where you dog can still have lots of fun even when the weather is bad, be sure to take a look at our doggie daycare.