If your canine friend suddenly developed a bald spot he’s not showing signs of old age but is suffering from a form of dermatitis which is commonly referred to as hot spots. A hot spot is an area of irritation and inflammation. Hot spots are characterized by circular patches of hair loss that develop. A hot spot may be the result of fleas or an allergic reaction to dust, a particular food, household cleaner or other substance. Hot spots may also occur as the result of a pet’s own aggressive grooming habits. For example, the animal may bite, chew or pull out his own hair. When a pet behaves in this manner it is usually due to stress or another underlying cause.
1. Trim the hair around the affected area. This is especially important if the dog is long-haired. Trimming the hair will make it easier to care for the affected area and can help prevent the spread of infection. Trim the hair carefully. If the dog shows any resistance or is uncomfortable, let the dog go and attempt to trim the hair later.
2. Keep the area clean. Wash the affected area with an antibacterial soap and lukewarm water and clean with an antiseptic. Do this at least 2 to 3 times daily. Remember that these hot spots are painful for your pet so try to clean the area as gently as possible.
3. Apply cool compresses to the affected area(s) for periods of approximately 10 minutes several times a day. Since hot spots are both itchy and painful a cool compress can help to alleviate the itch and relieve the pain. You can also use cool tea bags as compresses to help heal the hot spot. Tea contains tannic acid which will help dry up the lesion and speed the healing process.
4. Give your dog a nutritional supplement which contains omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can be purchased in tablet or liquid form and can be given to the pet as a treat or mixed with food. Omega-3 fatty acids help to clear up skin condition as well as promote healthy skin and fur.
5. Soothe hot spots with Vitamin E oil. You can apply it directly to the hot spots. Vitamin E oil helps aid healing and soothes irritated skin.
6. Take the necessary steps to eliminate fleas. Since hot spots are often due to a flea allergy it is imperative to eliminate fleas from your pet and your home in order to prevent reinfestation.