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Last week, Sydney had a hot spot. It was the first hot spot I've treated with any of our dogs, and it was difficult. I tried four treatments, and each one worked well for different reasons, which I will share with you.
What are Hot Spots in Dogs?
Believe it or not, our babies are covered in bacteria. When a dog has an irritated area on their skin that they're always licking, the action is covering that irritation in bacteria; which is what happened with Sydney. The area becomes infected, and a hot spot appears.
Hot spots can also be caused by “allergic reactions, insect, mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom.” Pets.WebMD.com
Hot spots can be treated at home, however, if a dog owner finds that the hot spot isn't healing, then a veterinarian can prescribe an antibiotic and an anti-itch medicine. But my goal is to keep my dogs from reaching the point of needing antibiotics whenever possible.
Treating a Dog's Hot Spot with Coconut Oil
The first thing I did was clean Sydney's wound and apply extra virgin coconut oil to the area. I wrapped her tail (where the hot spot was, not just for fun) with bandages, gave Sydney 3 Benedryl tablets (hidden in peanut butter) to take care of the itching, a couple of DGP for Pets for the pain, and went to bed.
She had removed the bandage by morning, and the hot spot was worse – Sydney kept licking it. *eye roll*
What did I do wrong? It was the dressing. Hot spots need air to dry out so that they can start to heal.
- I didn't clip the hair away from the wound (and around the wound)
- I covered the wound with a bandage, preventing it from getting air. Hot spots need air to dry out so that they can start to heal.
I didn't know any of this and, strangely, I didn't consult Dr. Google.
But I was on the right track with the coconut oil as I learned yesterday when I came across this recipe from Pet Nutrition Blogger, Rodney Habib, that was posted on the Planet Paws‘ Facebook page, which I copied with permission.
Homemade Oregano & Coconut Oil Hot Spot Cream
OREGANO OIL: Is high in phenols like Thymol: a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties and Carvacrol: which fight bacterial infections, such as candida albicans, staphylococcus, and E. coli.
COCONUT OIL: Has been used for wound healing for thousands of years. Studies have shown that coconut oil aids in treating atopic dermatitis, can help kill Staphylococcus aureus, and is extremely effective at killing Candida albicans aka YEAST.
THE RECIPE: Mix one drop of a high-quality oil of Oregano, with a single teaspoon of coconut oil (virgin, expeller-pressed, preferably organic if possible).
If you need more of the mix because of a larger area on your pet, then maintain the 1 drop of oil of oregano and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil ratio for the entire mixture. Store in a glass jar for later use. Once made, apply once a day.
If there is no improvement or if symptoms worsen, discontinue use of the mix and consult your holistic veterinarian.
You can't tell from the pictures, but Sydney's #hotspot is healing nicely and fast with the Noni Lotion from @vitalityscience. Bottom picture is last night (lots of redness and pain). Top picture is 7-8 hours later. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it and is doing a good job leaving the #hotspot alone. #lifewithdogs #keepthetailwagging #dogsonthefurniture #naturaldogsupplements #naturaldogmedicine #rawfeddog
Treating a Hot Spot with Noni Pet Lotion
I got smart and checked our first aid kit (do you have one? – no? – make one!) and discovered two products that work with hot spots. Noni Pet Lotion was one of the products. Ingredients: Water, Organic Noni Fruit, Lavender Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract. Noni Pet Lotion has loads of uses, including “hot spots, sprains, itching, rashes, and other skin problems. It is also used to treat ear mites with direct application into the ear.” Source: Vitality Science
I trimmed the hair over and around her hot spot. I applied a small amount to make sure it didn't burn/sting; when I got the All's Clear from Sydney's lack of reaction, I slathered the lotion on her hot spot and sat with her to remind her to “leave it” whenever she glanced at her tail.
She wasn't my biggest fan.
The Noni Pet Lotion was working, but not fast enough. I couldn't leave her tail exposed when I went to work and I couldn't put a cone on her when I was away either (it wouldn't fit through our doggy door, so I needed something that would work faster.
A photo posted by Kimberly Morris Gauthier (@keeptailwagging) on
Treating a Hot Spot with Pet Shield
The second product I found in our surprisingly well stocked first aid kit was Pet Shield, also sold by Vitality Science, and is made with “Proprietary Silver Solution (Purified water, nano silver at .01 micron) Tea, Carboner.” Source: Vitality Science
Pet Shield is a colloidal silver gel that is used for many things, including minor abrasions, which is kind of a hot spot; right?
I tested Sydney's hot spot with a small amount to see her reaction. It didn't bother her, so I slathered it on. Her wound began to heal, and I was happy to have found a solution. Especially since I still had to bandage her wound overnight or during the day (it was exposed when we were home and could watch her).
But two days later, Sydney created a new wound (itching AROUND the healing one) and eventually she got the bandage off and got the original hot spot started again. Yayyy, Sydney.
At this point, I could have contacted the vet, but I had one more product I wanted to try first.
**Treating a Hot Spot with NuStock**
During my ordeal, several people suggested NuStock to treat Sydney's hot spot. Apparently, this stuff is magical and works practically overnight. NuStock contains sulfur, mineral oil, and pine oil and is used to treat many skin ailments and helps sores heal rapidly.
Julz Animal Houz was out of stock – dammit! – and no other pet store carried in our area. I ordered a tube online when I realized the Noni Lotion wasn't working fast enough. Thank Heavens for Amazon Prime.
Again, I tested a small amount to see how Sydney reacted and immediately saw that the NuStock took away the itching and pain. It doesn't smell great, which kept Sydney from investigating it too closely or for too long. The smell (sulfur) wasn't terribly strong, just strong enough to discourage licking.
I covered her two hot spots with our new miracle product and sat with her while they dried out. I didn't bandage her tail the first night, and that mistake (Sydney and her licking) lead me to bandage it the next night. In less than 48 hours, her hot spots had healed.
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!!
NuStock is AWESOME! And what I'd recommend if you have a dog with a hot spot in an area that can be reached with a tongue.
The day after her hot spot healed, I sprayed it with an all natural anti-itch spray, Tender Paws by Natural Paws to keep her from re-infecting the area. It Worked! Today, a week after this ordeal started, Sydney has a bald area on her tail and I spray it every morning with the Tender Paws if she looks like it's going to be a problem. She starts wagging her tail when I grab the bottle and patiently waits for me to spray the spot.
How to Naturally Heal a Dog's Hot Spot Fast
To sum it all up for you just in case you've found this post and don't have time to read through my experience, here is a card to help you get started. First thing first, order a tube of NuStock NOW! Along with the all natural anti-itch spray, Tender Paws by Natural Paws
Hot Spot Treatment Options
- Treat your dog's hot spots naturally using the recipe by Rodney Habib shared above: you'll need extra virgin coconut oil and rosemary oil.
- Invest in a dog skin allergy kit by Vitality Science, a great addition to a pet first aid kit.
- NuStock worked the fastest in our situation and it cost $11.99 on Amazon.com for a large tube.
- We're continuing to treat Sydney's hot spot area (now healed) with Tender Paws by Natural Paws.
- If your dog's hot spot is in an area that s/he can reach and irritate, order a KONG Cloud E-Collar, Large on Amazon.com. Don't treat it like a toy to make your dog happy to wear it; they'll bite it. Not good.
Today, Sydney's hot spots are healed. The first area is healed and the hair is growing back (fast). The second area is still bald; the hair loss is primarily due to Sydney's licking and biting. The hair is growing back slowly, but I think it'll take a bit longer because this area was twice the size as the first area.
Now that we know what to look for in behavior (regularly licking and biting one area) and what spot bother's Sydney (her tail), we can prevent this from happening again, or in the very least, treat future hot spots fast.