Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs

According to Dr. Oz, apple cider vinegar may be a helpful tool for those itchy, irritated hot spots on your dog.

My little dog Boo gets hot spots on the bottom of his legs, his belly and in the crevices at the top of his legs, especially during the summer.

Hot spots are essentially a type of dermatitis or skin inflammation, and are common. Sometimes they are caused by allergies, including food related, sometimes fleas or other bugs, and sometimes even, simply nerves or stress. They are almost always initiated by constant licking or scratching, that leaves behind red patches of irritated skin and even cause small patches of bald spots. If your dog has these symptoms be sure to look for fleas, mites or other initiating insect bites and investigate other things that might be responsible.

My Boo lives inside, gets bathed regularly and doesn't have fleas, so I think his is caused by those short trips out to the yard where he is annoyed by those same pesky gnats and no-see-ums the rest of us are bothered by and come in itching from. His is also not a constant problem, but a more periodic one, although he was born with somewhat tender skin to begin with, so it takes zero time for him to bite or scratch in angry, irritating red rash like spots, and knock off a little hair too.

I was watching a repeat of the Dr. Oz show recently and he had a guest on with one of those adorable Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix "teddy bear" dogs, who had a problem with hot spots. Dr. Oz suggested applying apple cider vinegar to help reduce the itching, heal the spots, and encourage hair re-growth. You can apply it direct by saturating a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and dabbing it on the spots. If the spots are highly inflamed and irritated, make a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and either dab it on, or use it in a small spray bottle.

Yesterday was a particularly itchy day for Boo, and when I checked I noticed a lot of irritated red patches from his scratching. I mixed up equal parts apple cider vinegar with water and applied it to all the spots, repeating it again a few hours later. By the second application, I kid you not, the red patches were completely gone!  Of course, as always, your results may differ, but for me this was another great tip from Dr. Oz and I can feel pretty good about using something natural.

I know a lot of you use organic vinegars such as Braggs containing the "mother," for a variety of health reasons - that was a big discussion back in the day when I was doing low carb - but for general household use and cooking, I keep good ole grocery store Heinz cider vinegar as pictured above, and that is what I used on Boo.

You could also use an apple cider vinegar rinse with your dog's bath that might help. After bathing your dog with a mild shampoo, mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of warm water in a small bucket or bowl. Towel dry your dog, then use a sponge to dab on the vinegar and water mixture, letting your pet air dry.

Another use for that same 50/50 spray mixture, might be to lightly spray your dog before they go outside to use the bathroom and when they get back in, or when you leave home and return with them, which may help deter those pests like gnats or even fleas.

I didn't worry too much about Boo smelling like a salad. I use vinegar in my wash and for cleaning and as far as my nose is concerned, I find that the vinegar smell seems to fade away after only a few minutes.

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