You may think of hot spots as acute. But most of the time they’re a symptom of a more serious condition … like chronic stress, food sensitivities, energy stagnation or liver imbalances.
Known as acute moist dermatitis or pyoderma, the dreaded hot spot should be called the “red, gooey, inflamed, hairless spot varying in symptoms, size and severity” spot.
More commonly known causes of hot spots include:
But they can also be caused by imbalances in the liver, immune system … or some type of injury or instability in the body.
Hot spots are damp and bring heat and inflammation to the skin. Most hot spots are a result of too much heat produced in the body … blocking the movement of energy.
Hot spots can appear anywhere on the body. They’re usually in areas where your dog has a weakness or chink in her energy flow. The most common places you’ll see hot spots are …
Are The Hot Spots Acute Or Chronic?
Hot spots need immediate attention because they’re prolific. They quickly kick out hair, spreading into a sticky, painful, sometimes itchy mess. This can happen within hours.
Actually, most hot spots are a mixture of …
Chronic hot spots that occur multiple times in the same location are usually a result of muscle tension, injury and pain.
When your dog develops a hot spot along or near the spine, an injury may be the cause. Look for tension in the area under the hot spot … moving downward or slightly left or right of the area. With this type of hot spot you might see several lesions over a short period of time. And your dog may lick it a lot.
Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture or acupressure can clear stagnant energy. This brings much needed circulation to the area.
The Problem With Conventional Treatment
The allopathic view of hot spots is that they’re an acute condition. Conventional vets usually diagnose them as allergies or flea bites. So treatment involves suppressing your dog’s symptoms. This usually includes steroids and antibiotics.
Allopathic veterinary care follows the “moist skin lesion standard of care.” This starts with a chemical disinfection, steroids and sometimes antihistamines. Most owners come home with oral antibiotics and steroid creams to deal with the spot.
But this systemic approach doesn’t actually address the underlying cause of the hot spot. This treatment will do nothing to stop the hot spots from coming back. Especially if they’re caused by food sensitivities or a compromised immune system.
When dogs get steroids and antibiotics to treat hot spots, the treatment affects the whole body … not just the lesion. It ends up putting your dog into a cycle of sickness … with chronic inflammation and then more lesions. So it’s important to try to figure out and treat what’s causing it.
An exception to this is when a hot spot spreads so quickly that 40 to 50% of your dog’s fur falls out. This type of hot spot takeover happens more with immune compromised dogs … or those with severe thyroid issues. This is quite rare … but if it does happen, then take a trip to your (preferably holistic) vet.
Luckily, there are natural remedies you can use to help your dog’s hot spots.
RELATED: Our top home remedies for fleas …
Herbal Remedies For Hot Spots On Dogs
Effective natural methods involve a two-fold approach … externally and internally.
Relieve External Symptoms
First, you need to relieve pain. Assist healing by stopping the hot spot from scabbing. Avoid bacteria overgrowth while it absorbs or irritates toxins.
After you secure your dog, gently trim the hair around the area. Flush with a mild rinse containing:
Flush the area or gently mist and let dry. Do this 3 or 4 times in the first 24 hours.
Option: replace 4 ounces of water with pure witch hazel or rose water. This provides extra drying or cooling support.
The next step is to help the hot spot begin to heal.
*You can use bentonite clay by itself if you don’t have the other herbs.
Sprinkle on the area and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water or the above wash. Do this 2 or 3 times per day.
Then, when the hot spot starts healing ...
Use a salve made with calendula or St John’s wort oil. These herbs calm the skin and remove the itch, while dispersing inflammation.
Calendula (diluted tincture, infused oil or salve) is both antifungal and antibacterial. It helps heal tissues quickly.
Caution: Healing with calendula can happen too quickly if the area is infected. So … if there’s drainage or excessive scabbing) hold off on using calendula. Wait till the hot spot starts healing with minimal drainage. You don’t want to clog it.
Some hot spots lack moisture. These remain dry with limited bacteria growth. For these hot spots you can apply a simple calendula salve or infused oil. This will quickly heal tissues and calm the itch.
For painful, dry or healing hot spots, use a calendula and goldenseal spray. Add 15 drops of each tincture to one cup of spring water. Mist 3 to 4 times a day.
Healing From The Inside Out
The next step in healing your dog’s hot spots involves internal remedies.
Feed fresh whole foods. Include …
These are important for long term healing.
Support the elimination organs like the digestive tract, kidneys and liver. This will help balance out the body and support whole body healing.
A tincture of whole burdock can dissipate heat out of the system and cool it from within … as well as support kidney function.
General dosage guidelines for hot spots: give half a drop of tincture for each pound of body weight. Give it to your dog twice daily. If you’re using a glycerin extract use one drop for each pound of weight.
Keeping your dog’s lymphatic system moving is also an important part of healing. The lymphatic system handles:
An active lymphatic system decreases inflammation and helps fight off further infections.
Two herbs that work well for stimulating the lymphatic system are calendula and cleavers.
The general dose for lymphatic support is one drop for ten pounds of body weight.
Suppression Isn’t The Answer
Holistic treatments look to ease symptoms and keep hot spots from spreading.
Total suppression of the internal workings of your dog’s body will drive inflammation deeper into the tissues. Eventually, this contributes to chronic disease.
Like the colon, kidneys and liver … the skin is an elimination organ. The suppression of symptoms should only be a last resort, saved for those cases that are extreme. Holistic treatments look to ease the symptoms … and keep hot spots from spreading.
One of the most effective ways to avoid lesions is by being proactive. Instead a one-off issue, view hot spots as a chronic condition. And that’s caused by a deeper underlying condition. You need to address this condition.
Effective preventative care means you’ll need a relationship with a homeopathic or other holistic vet or herbalist.
Skin lesions like hot spots are a warning beacon. They’re telling you to treat from within. This means you need to strengthen your dog’s digestive and immune function … while supporting internal organs.
Many natural remedies are ffective for healing your dog’s hot spots. This herbal regimen gives your dog relief while allowing her body to respond.
If your dog is prone to hot spots, work on the inside. Support her immune system. Get her energy flowing with chiropractic care or acupuncture