Hot Spots

"If your dog has a moist, raw, painful, foul-smelling, pus-oozing circular sore, he may have a bacterial surface infection known as a hot spot. When the skin develops an inflammatory response to something – pollen allergies, flea bites, moisture trapped beneath a matted or unshed coat – followed by an overgrowth of bacteria on the area, a hot spot forms....

"You can reduce the risk of hot spots, Frank says, by using an effective flea-control program and grooming your dog’s coat regularly" (King, Marcia. "Stop the Hot Spot." Dog Fancy, Accessed 10-3-03).

for itchy dogs
Use Missing Link supplement
Use Neem Leaf dog shampoo
(from Cathy at Frog Hollow, TRUE-l)

"I have had good results with allergy testing on three of my Golden Retrievers. They were all very itchy with ear and skin problems, so my vet. took blood samples and sent them to a lab. I received detailed reports listing their allergies to foods, grasses, and more. I also received a list of dog foods and treats that they can eat.

"The results have been wonderful... the cost is very reasonable" (Letter from Gail Koch, Phoenix, Md. Dog Fancy, Nov. 2003, 6).

There are problems with commercial flea chemicals... "Many of the most widely used commercial flea killers on the market are very effective poisons with long-term effects that remain unknown or are seldom discussed... Warnings against skin contact are printed right on the label...

"Prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs don't just suppress uncomfortable itching and inflammation, they suppress the immune system as well. Add to this the possible long-term side effects of water retention, hypertension, liver damage, thyroid dysfunction, obesity, and heart attack. [Prednisone tablets or shots also cause some dogs to urinate excessively]...

"In many cases, switching from kibble to a raw or home-cooked diet will bring a world of positive change to dogs who suffer from flea allergies...

"..weeding out allergens from the diet can bring quick positive results. Common food allergens include grains, yeast, soy, and synthetic preservatives.

"Supplementing your dog's diet with a well-balanced essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement is also important. In fact, EFAs may be the most important of all dietary supplements for flea allergy sufferers. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids contained in fish and vegetable oils play critical roles in how your companion's immune system responds to the introduction of flea saliva and other antigenic compounds that enter the body. EFAs are also important in building a strong, healthy, flea-resistant skin and coat -- making the feeding ground less attractive to hungry opportunists.

"Probiotics (Bifidus, Acidophilus, etc.) and digestive enzyme supplements are also strongly indicated for flea sufferers...

"Remember, fleas spend about 80 percent of their time not on the host, but in the surrounding environment. Furthermore, flea eggs can remain dormant for several months. This means that you must be relentless at hitting them where they sleep and reproduce...

"There are several herbal products available that can be applied to the dog's bedding, carpet, or outdoor areas to help repel or even kill fleas. Look for those that contain oils and/or extracts of juniper, citronella, eucalyptus, cedar, Canadian fleabane, or citrus oil (the latter two contain d-Limonene, which can kill fleas).

"Try adding apple cider vinegar to the animals' water dish -- some people swear by this, as it may add some nutrients that help the animal deal with the fleas.

"Animals supplemented with B-complex, trace minerals, and zinc also seem to have fewer problems with fleas...

"Nettle (Urtica spp.) is one of my favorites for treating any type of allergy.. The dried herb (easily accessed at the health food store) can be sprinkled onto your animal's food.. One-half teaspoon of the dried herb for each cup of food...

"Nettle is also thought to reduce the severity of an allergic response. If your animal won't eat dried nettle, you can steep it in hot water or salt-free meat broth, which is then added to your companion's food.

"If flea bite allergies are severe, itching is persistent, and the skin is red and inflamed, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can be used as an internal anti-inflammatory.. To help relive itching and promote healing externally, a calendula flower rinse is a good choice, as is aloe juice...

"Bathe your dog only with shampoos that are meant for use on dogs -- shampoos for humans can be too harsh and irritate the skin, and may add to the allergies that already contribute to your companion's misery...

"..don't shampoo your dog too often, as this can dry out her skin and cause added irritation.. Your companion's skin supports a natural community of inter-dependent organisms, many of which serve anti-parasitc or cleansing purposes" (Tilford, Greg. "Herbs for Flea Relief." Whole Dog Journal, June 2003, 21-23).


Food Allergies
Lipiderm for itching and scratching; also has articles on skin and coat care; also see Dermasol for hot spots

"Hi sandy, I agree very much with you on your choice of shampoos Melalueca is great for itching -Shirley" ( Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 1:49 PM).

"It's usually an allergic reaction, but finding the allergen and removing it can be trouble. Eliminating grain from the food is usually a big step w/ Cockers. (Most Cockers have some sort of reaction to grain products... wheat or corn... but rice is usually OK.)

"It's also sometimes a lack of oil in the diet... other times too much. Some of the additives in food (and the oil/protein used) can cause probs. I find that, for most Cockers, a low protein diet works best... then add some oil, if needed. Nutritional supplements such as DermaPet can do well in providing the extra oil, but pure olive oil can do as well for many. Raw egg, while it is high in protein, can also help with some dogs, if the food fed is low in protein.

"Some times it's just a raging infection of one sort or another. My Lucky developed staff. All dogs have this on their skin, but his count was off the charts. In other cases, it can be fleas (though you may not see them) and in other cases mites. In these cases, these can be treated by using a medicated shampoo... usually available from the vet" ( Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 1:49 PM).