This is a weekly column submitted by K9Clean.com

We are in the Dog Days of summer, and Hot spots are one of the most common skin conditions in dogs during the summer months. The sores appear quickly and can spread fast. Hot spots are red, moist, irritated patches of skin, which can be very painful for your dog.  They are caused by skin irritation, which is later complicated by the presence of bacteria.

To help the prevent the development of hot spots, careful attention must be paid. Regular grooming and hygiene of pets, especially during the hot and humid summer months, is essential. Summertime biting insects, fleas, ticks, and flies, can also trigger a hot spot.

While any dog can develop hot spots throughout a lifetime, some breeds are more prone to them than others. For example, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are all more likely to get them as they all have thicker coats! Dogs that are often wet from swimming, bathing, or our simply getting wet from the rain are also more prone to developing hot spots due to the moisture held against the skin by their coats. Although hot spots are a battle to deal with, they can be treated and even prevented by taking some easy steps. 

The best way to avoid hot spots from happening is to find out if there are any underlying causes of your dog's itching. Treatment of any skin infections, controlling your dog's allergies, and prevention of parasites can help to prevent the scratching, which incurs further trauma to their skin. Dogs transit on a variety of surfaces, grass, dirt, sand, and hardscapes such as sidewalks and parking lots. Research demonstrates that dogs will transfer helminth eggs from contaminated soil to their paws and risk moving the eggs into cars and homes. Helminths are worm-like parasites that survive by feeding on a living host to gain nourishment and protection and can pose a risk for human infection.  Murky water has a ton of bacteria in it so be sure to rinse your dog off immediately after. The K9 Clean Portable Dog Shower is a great tool to use to give your dogs a quick rinse after the beach or a muddy roll at the dog park.

Proper hygiene and regular grooming can help.  Dogs that swim or get wet frequently, it is vital to ensure their coats are thoroughly dried after these activities.

Antibiotics for hot spots are rarely needed in most cases.  However, be sure to take your dog to the vet to see if there is evidence of bacterial infection. Also, when signs of hotspots appear so that they don't spread and get worse.

Lots of exercise – dogs tend to lick a lot due to stress or boredom. By increasing their activity, this can help alleviate this problem. Keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated.

Supplements – make sure your dog is receiving all the nutrients they need to manage skin disease. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential commonly found in fish oil. K9clean.com also has a Zero Waste Natural Hemp Dog Shampoo bar that helps promote a healthy skin barrier, as it is high in Omega-3's. 

Hot spots are itchy and sore for your dog and may become a recurring issue if the underlying condition is not addressed. Fortunately, with proper management, your dog's hot spot will resolve quickly and will not result in any permanent damage.

We would love to hear from you. If you’ve got some good suggestions or other ideas that you would like to add, please let us know!  Contact us at info@k9clean.com or visit our store at k9clean.com

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