Our poor English Shepherd, Cowboy, had a case of the hot spots recently. We thought he got fleas somehow, but upon closer inspection it was a hot spot. Basically this is a skin irritation from either dry skin, flea bites or an allergy. I’m guessing dry skin was our culprit based on the time of the year.
The spot was on his hip. He was biting at it in much the same way as dogs nip at themselves when they have fleas. It was very quick, tiny bites with his front teeth while keeping the front of his snout buried in his hair. When I took a closer look, I found that he had slobbered on it quite a bit too. And English Shepherds are not slobbery dogs at all. He’s not even a licker. I try to get him to give me a kiss on the cheek once in a while and he just doesn’t.
Pulling the hair away, you’ll find the hot spot. It looks like red, irritated skin. I’ve read that they can even bleed and start to smell if they approach the level of an open wound and remain untreated for a period of time. Luckily we caught this in plenty of time. Anyone that pays half an ounce of attention to their dog should never let it get to the point where they are bleeding.
First you want to trim some of the hair around the area to help prevent infection, keep it clean and to promote air flow to the area. I did a lot of reading online, and many just want to use antibiotics for everything. We don’t. I believe we would if the situation was serious enough with a risk of infection, but we weren’t to that point yet. I found a number of remedies after doing some searching online that seemed to work very well. I tried using witch hazel and also Gold Bond powder.
Witch hazel extract is a cheap anti-itch solution that you could find in any drug store. It comes in a clear plastic bottle that is shaped like the hydrogen peroxide bottles. Dab it on the area three or four times daily with a cotton ball until it begins to look better. If you opt for the Gold Bond powder, just dust it onto the area. After a few days of treatments, Cowboy cleared right up.
I was planning on writing this article as soon as I diagnosed and started the treatments, but I wanted to make sure I actually succeeded first. Cowboy has been back to normal for more than a week now. I checked the spot last night, and it looks like a light scabbing over the area. He never seems bothered by it anymore. He’s back to living the relaxing life of a normal dog again.