Has your pet ever had hot spots? If so, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Unfortunately, even if you’ve treated them correctly, hot spots can be persistent and come back. That’s because they are usually a sign of an underlying issue, so it’s best to understand why your pet is getting them in the first place. Here are seven ways to help prevent hot spots in dogs or cats.
1. Provide a Well-Balanced Diet
Poor diet or food allergies can cause hot spots. Dogs and cats alike are susceptible to irritation from what they eat. It can show up as digestive irritation, skin irritation, ear infections, and more. Having a well-balanced diet is extremely important. For example, your dog might be allergic to grains. Research shows that dogs who consume a higher ratio of grains to animal proteins in their diets have an increased chance of suffering from skin lesions. Dry commercial foods can dehydrate the skin, so it’s a good idea to avoid them for dogs who are prone to getting hot spots. In general, you know your pet best. So monitor his or her diet closely to watch for any possible culprits that might affect their health.
2. Reduce Exposure to Allergens
While food allergies are one of the leading causes of hot spots, other allergens may be at fault. One of the most common forms of allergies affecting both dogs and cats is Atopy. It’s often seasonal and can be triggered by a variety allergens. For example, if your pet is allergic to ragweed, symptoms will appear in the fall. This is when tree pollen allergies will show up. April and May are the season for dust mites, which can be another form of irritation. Another less common form of allergy is contact dermatitis. This includes allergies to carpet, plastic, and some types of cleaning supplies. Dermatitis affects sparsely-haired parts the body like the belly and feet. The allergy is characterized by intense scratching. There isn’t 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 allowing them to come into contact with the trigger(s) 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 to fight 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 long, thick 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 them keep a constant body temperature. They need to be able to adjust their internal temperature to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. So, it's best to 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 to keep their skin protected from allergens, and their internal thermometer protected. However, trim enough to allow flea medications to reach the skin.
5. Treat Hot Spots Right Away
Hot spots start small but can get very painful and even dangerous over time. In fact, it can turn into broken skin that becomes infected, leading to serious conditions. Make sure that as a soon as your pet shows signs of hot spots, you treat them right away. You can do so using many methods. We recommend EcoSpot, which is an all-natural remedy that helps reduce itching, kills bacteria, and dries up the area to help your pet’s skin heal. By applying this solution right away, you’ll save your pet a lot of discomfort and avoid complications. EcoSpot comes in a spray bottle, so it's easy to apply. Learn more about EcoSpot
6. Avoid Stress and Boredom
Discomfort, like constant licking, scratching, and chewing can easily lead to hot spots. Such behavior has been linked to anxiety, boredom, and stress. To break the hot-spot-cycle and prevent reoccurring problems, you may need to acquire a 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 crucial, 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.
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