7 Effective Methods to Prevent Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats
Has your pet ever had hot spots? If so, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Unfortunately, even if you’ve properly treated them, hot spots can be persistent and come back. That’s because they are normally a sign of an underlying issue, so it’s best to understand why your pet is getting them in the first place.
That said, there are some general ways that can help prevent hot spots in dogs or cats. Here are 7 methods to consider.
1. Provide a Well-Balanced Diet
Hot spots in pets can be caused by improper diet or food allergies. Dogs and cats alike are very sensitive to what they eat, so having a well-balanced diet is extremely important. For example, your dog might be allergic to grains. Plus, research shows that dogs who consume a higher ratio of grains to animal proteins in their diets have more chance of suffering from skin lesions. On the other hand, dry commercial foods can dehydrate the skin, so it’s a good idea to avoid them for dogs that are prone to getting hot spots. In general, you know your pet best! So monitor their diet closely to detect any possible culprits that might be affecting your dog’s health.
2. Reduce Exposure to Allergens
While food allergies are a big player in causing hot spots, there are other allergens that might be at fault. One of the most common forms of allergy affecting both dogs and cats is Atopy. It’s often seasonal and can be triggered by different allergens. For example, if your pet is allergic to ragweed, symptoms will appear in fall, tree pollen allergies will show up April and May, and if dust mites are to blame, then the symptoms are most prevalent during winter. Another less common form of allergy, is contact dermatitis. This includes allergies to carpet, plastic and some types of cleaners. Dermatitis affects sparsely-haired parts like belly and feet, and the allergy is characterized by intense scratching.
There isn’t really a way to get rid of allergies altogether, but you can help prevent hot spots in your dog or cat by reducing exposure. Determine what your pet is allergic to and try to avoid them having contact with the trigger as much as possible.
3. Control Parasites
Your pet’s thick fur is cuddly and fun! It’s also a great way to keep your pet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Unfortunately, fleas and other parasites love your dog’s and cat’s fur just as much as you do. These nasty parasites can often lead to hot spots. That’s why keeping your pet clean and up-to-date on their flea medication is an effective way of fighting hot spots. Plus, your pet should get regular thorough baths to prevent any room for fleas to grow.
4. Groom Your Pet
For some pets, especially those with thick long fur, you might also need to trim their coat. That said, this option should be used with caution. Dogs and cats are homeotherms, which means that their fur helps to keep a constant body temperature – warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. So you should only trim your pet’s fur once you’ve determined that they are prone to hot spots! The best approach is to trim as little as possible, just to make sure that things like flea medication, heat or allergens are not affecting your pet.
5. Treat Hot Spots Right Away
Hot spots start out small, but can get very painful and even dangerous over time. Make sure that as a soon as your pet shows signs of a hot spots, you are treating it right away. You can do so using many methods. We recommend trying EcoSpot, which is an all-natural product that helps reduce itching, kills bacteria around the hot spot and dries up the area to help your pet’s skin heal. By applying treatment right away, you’ll save your pet a lot of discomfort and avoid complications, such as infections.
6. Avoid Stress and Boredom
Habits like constant licking, scratching and chewing can easily lead to hot spots. Such behavior is usually linked to anxiety, boredom and even stress. To break the cycle of hot spots and keep them from occurring again, you may need to acquire a physical restraint or medication to reduce the anxiety. Also, increasing playtime or buying the pet a new chew toy could help cure boredom.
7. Get a Thorough Diagnosis
Hot spots are a result of an underlying issue. While taking preventative measures is important, if your dog or cat has recurring hot spots, there might be a bigger issue on the table. Talk to your vet to make sure you are dealing with the root cause and not just the symptoms!