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Hot Spots on Dogs Not a Problem at My House Anymore

Updated on June 17, 2018

Hot Spots Be Gone

If your dog is prone to hot spots or if you are finding one of these raw areas on your pup's skin for the first time, getting a jump start on caring for your dog's problem is important.

Our Golden Retrievers were all prone to hot spots.
Our Golden Retrievers were all prone to hot spots. | Source

Hot spots look like weeping sores

It might alarm you the first time you find a hot spot on your dog, as it often looks like a raw and weeping sore that can also be painful to your pup. Some dogs are more prone to these awful hot spots than others and the severity of these weeping sores vary from dog to dog.

Some dogs may have one spot and others may have many that cover a wide area of their skin. After heeding the suggestions of a wise elderly man, my dogs are no longer suffering from those awful hot spots.

Should I take my dog to the vet?

Whenever your dog has a health problem you can exercise your option of taking your pup to the vet, but hot spots can be treated at home. With that said, if they look infected or the dog looks as if it is in pain, then a trip to the vet is warranted, but treating a hot spot at home is easy and usually successful.

The first time I saw a hot spot on a dog was about 25 years ago when my dog Bear developed a couple of these sore areas on his skin. The hair fell out around the spot and it was weeping liquid from the raw and open skin. Not knowing anything about a hot spot, I took Bear to the vet.

Keeping the area of the hot spot clean and dry was the advice I got. If a greenish discharge were to develop from the spot, then I needed to bring him back for antibiotics, I was told.

Bear's hot spots were a nightmare for the next several months. After a few more visits to the vet to battle the infection he developed, the green discharge was gone, but the hot spots remained. My research led me to an elderly gentleman in Vermont who had written an article that I came across in a local newspaper. He was a treasure trove of knowledge when it came to hot spots in dogs and dogs in general.


Get ready to get grossed out

Are you taking a gamble with dog food?

After a little more research, I was able to find this elderly man's phone number and I was glad I did. He told me I should look back to the way my ancestors treated their dogs for an answer to these hot spots. He said that dog food was a fairly new product in the scope of things, as up until 1920, canned dog food wasn't a product sold to the stores.

The invention of canned dog food started out as horse meat, according to the Pet Food Institute, but changed over time as horses became more and more like pets. What goes into dog food seems to be getting better these days, but there are still problems. As recent as the beginning of this year the FDA reported on a recall, which was put into place after a harmful ingredient was found in dog food.

According to IFL Science, a drug used to euthanize pets was found in several different popular brands of dog food. Several reports of dogs getting sick and one death prompted the investigation and recall of several different popular brands of dog food. According to the experts, dog food consists of parts of cows that humans don't eat as well as other livestock, but that is not all.

IFL Science reports that "roadkill, expired meat from grocery stores, zoo animals, diseased livestock (whole) and, you guessed it, euthanized pets can all get ground up in the rendering plant" and used for dog food." The euthanized pet carcasses would explain how the drug entered into the dog food.

While this problem has been addressed, it highlights the reason pet owners have a need to worry over what they feed their furry family members. While this had nothing to do with hot spots, it does suggest that you don't always know what is in your pet's pre-packaged foods.

That elderly gentleman told me that dogs were known to live for 15 years and even longer back before commercial dog food was available to the masses. He also believed that their good health was due to their diet back then. His theory was that hot spots that plague some dogs today had a lot to do with what they eat.

When your great-grandparents fed their dogs, the food consisted of scraps from the butcher and scraps from the dinner table because there was no such thing as massed produced dog food.

While some dogs are just prone to hot spots, our Golden Doodle was lucky as his were minimal.
While some dogs are just prone to hot spots, our Golden Doodle was lucky as his were minimal. | Source
Our Old English Sheepdog was prone to hot spots.
Our Old English Sheepdog was prone to hot spots. | Source

Take a lesson from history

This country gentleman suggested I take a lesson from history and feed my dog beef and chicken, just as my ancestors fed their pets. I started making a meatloaf for the dog out of ground hamburger and I used plain uncooked oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs.

I also added chopped up carrots and peas. Once this meatloaf was baked in the oven, just like any meatloaf you make for your human family members, then it was refrigerated. This is what I fed the dog on a daily basis.

I treated the hot spots in the first few days by simply spraying hydrogen peroxide on the area, as it is a good drying agent. As it started to heal, I would gently clean the hot spot area with the peroxide on cotton balls.

I would also put the triple antibiotic ointment on the sore once a day, the kind that you get over the counter in your local store or pharmacy, like Neosporin. If the spot was somewhere where the dog could lick that ointment off, then I would skip using the ointment altogether.

This was the advice given to me by the elderly man. He said not to go in for all the newfangled cleansing agents and ointments marketed for pets. Good old fashion peroxide is what he said would do the trick, along with changing the dog's diet.

He was right, after two weeks the hot spots were drying up and getting smaller and in a month's time, they were no longer a problem. This was after my dog Bear suffered from these hot spots for almost a year, making me one happy dog owner once the ordeal was over.

The hot spot battle was won.

I now have three dogs that somehow found their way to my home over the years since Bear passed away. Two of them suffered from hot spots, one, in particular, was riddled with them before he came to live with my family. While enjoying a healthy diet, my dogs are free from hot spots.

The meatloaf works like a charm and in between, I feed them baked or boiled chicken without the bones, which you can get for 99 cents to $1.49 a pound at a big box store like Walmart or Price Rite. This is cheaper than some of the designer dog foods today.

I am happy to say that the dog hot spot problem has been solved at are home. There is another silver lining in feeding your dogs people food. You know what they are getting when you prepare it yourself.

Yes, it takes a little more work, but if you cook up a bunch of chicken and bake a good-size meatloaf over the weekend and refrigerate this food when done, then you have food for your dog for the week. My pups are spoiled, I heat their dinners in the microwave each day, so their meals are luke-warm when dinner is served.

As far as cost goes, if you hit a few good sales it can be cheaper to feed your dog people food rather than buying some of the specialized dog food on the market today. In the end, you have a happy and healthy dog and you don't have to go through the agony of worry when a dog food recall is posted.

The FDA recalled dog food at the beginning of the year after finding it contained the same drug used to euthanize pets.
The FDA recalled dog food at the beginning of the year after finding it contained the same drug used to euthanize pets. | Source

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