Wednesday, October 29

Fall - time for hot spots!

It's that time of year again, when Roofus starts ripping out his hair and getting scabs in a large patch on his back from hot spots. When I'm talking about hot spots, I mean the itchy itchy spots where dogs chew and chew and chew for no apparent rhyme or reason, not to be confused with any kind of skin parasite, fungus, or food allergies (which are usually accompanied by licking the front paws).

If you've never had a hot spot before and you suspect that's what it is, you should go see the vet. Yes, gripe about the cost for a minute, then suck it up and go. You want to rule out other stuff before you attempt a hot spot treatment. Also, the vet can prescribe things like prednisone if it is seasonal allergies that are out of control.

How I cope:
Again, always consult your vet before trying ANYTHING.

1) Humidifier. It can't hurt, after all. Your home's humidity should be 30-50%, and if you had a humidistat you'd find out that yours likely is well below this line. Cold air does not hold humidity very well, and running your heat further makes the air dry. It's also healthier for YOU to have a humidifier. But too humid isn't good either, so keep a firm eye on your home's level.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar. This stuff is great for people too! I put it in my dogs' water bowl everyday with fresh water, roughly 1 tsp per gallon. It's definitely homeopathic, but I think it helps so I use it during this period. I've heard it's also a good wormer. Don't use too much, that's really bad!

3) Grape Seed Extract. I used to give this to my sheepdog for his very sensitive tummy. Later I found out it helps with allergies too! It can be found in pill form in the human vitamin area. You might have to try several stores - Grapefruit extract and grape seed extract are NOT the same thing.

4) Get a really good, high-quality allergen air filter for your furnace and replace it monthly. Yep, you get what you pay for. Buy the good one - you'll feel better too.

5) Benadryl. ALWAYS CONSULT A VET BEFORE USING ANY MEDICATION. I HATE giving my dogs drugs, but with Roofus, it's a necessity if I don't want him to be miserable and rip all his hair out.

6) Allercain. This stuff is great. It's a spray on antiseptic, anti inflammatory with pain reliever. It has some nasty taste in it which isn't TERRIBLY effective if the dog is really bent on chewing on that spot, but it seems to be safe. I've used hydrocortisone with better results, but you definitely don't want the dog licking it off.

7) Bathe once a week. Yup, you heard me. Nice oatmeal and/or tea tree oil baths once a week actually cuts down on dry skin. You can also use hydrocortisone shampoo, but only use on the affected areas!

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