Introduction to Hotspots

Hotspots are common in every breed – and in mixed breeds – of dogs. They are symptoms of something else going wrong internally, and need to be looked at as such. There are many different causes of hotspots, such as food allergy, cancer, boredom. Your vet should help you pinpoint the problem. A change in diet is almost always the best bet – most dogs on a natural, raw diet do not develop hotspots, or if they do it is part of the detox reaction. For more info on feeding naturally, please email me for info.

Here are some common things to help hotspots to heal WITHOUT suppressing the immune system:

  1. Apply a cool slice of cucumber to the area. Let the dog eat it when it warms up – it works well on the outside as well as on the inside.

  2. Brew a cup of chamomile tea, leaving the teabag in the cup to cool. When tea is cool, use teabag to apply the tea to the area. Let dog drink tea – it works to soothe on the outside (the tannic acid in teas also is an astringent) and calms them when they drink it.

  3. Shave the area around the hotspot to get air to it and help it dry.

  4. Aloe Vera gel, freshly squeezed from the plant, helps to calm and heal. It can be ingested as well to work on the inside.

  5. Internally, Echinacea, Vitamin C and garlic all help to boost the immune system. Garlic should be given fresh, about 1 clove per day for 5 days for medium to large-sized dogs, decreasing in amount for smaller dogs, but should not be given to dogs with anemia problems. Echinacea should be given for 5 days, rest for 2, then give for 5 days again. Give vitamin C up to bowel tolerance.

  6. Sometimes a hotspot is indicative of a chiropractic problem. An appointment with a certified animal chiropractor can often help.

  7. Here’s a recipe to make up and store in the fridge – 1/2 cup very strong tea, 1 cup rubbing alcohol, and 2 crushed aspirin. Stir this up and soak the hotspot with it several times a day until gone. This may sting a bit with an open sore, so use a bit at a time to make sure it doesn’t sting too much.

  8. Mix equal parts extra virgin olive oil and oil of thyme. Apply to the hot spot with a cotton ball. This will stop itching and prevent infection.

  9. Sprinkle goldenseal powder on the animal’s food and in the water. Do not use too much or for more than 5 days on, 2 days off. You can also apply the Goldenseal root to the hotspot, just make a weak tea out of it. Is perfectly fine if it is licked off. Never use Goldenseal if pregnant.

  10. Put a large handful of spearmint or peppermint leaves in a glass container and cover with distilled white vinegar. Allow to steep at room temp for 2 weeks. Shake from time to time. Strain. Apply the liquid to any sore on the animal and to clean wounds; this also stops itching and allows wounds to heal. Do not use mint if you are also giving a homeopathic remedy – the mint might cancel it out.

  11. Apply Willard Water (diluted) to the hotspot.

  12. Ask a homeopathic vet about Radium Bromatum – it may be indicated.

  13. Try a Bach Flower Remedy – Crab Apple. It is specifically indicated for skin problems such as hotspots. If the cause of the hotspot is emotionally-related, check into other flower remedies. There are many to choose from and can help heal the troubles that reside inside.

  14. Rescue remedy applied directly on the hotspot.

  15. Calendula cream or hyper/cal (hypericum and Calendula) cream applied directly to hotspot.

Here is a nice recipe for all icky skin –

  • 1 quart water

  • 1 heaping tsp. dried sage

  • 1 heaping tsp. thyme

  • 1/4 tsp. Epsom salt

  • Boil everything together ~ 5 minutes and then let it sit overnight. Strain off the herbs and refrigerate unused portion. You can also add it to shampoo and make a “medicated” shampoo. Usable as a rinse for ant bites, bumps, hot spots, fleas, etc. Thanks to Karen Perdue for this great recipe!

As you can see, none of these are drugs, which suppress the immune system. Suppressing the immune system is not recommended, because it only drives the problem deeper into the body, and the next symptom may not be hotspots but something much more serious. If your chews on herself out of boredom – give her a job to do! A large meaty bone, more exercise, more training – this can help break the cycle of a lick granuloma. Again, the best thing to do for a hotspot is try one of these remedies and change the diet to a more natural one.