Got An Itchy dog?
Chances are, you've had a dog that's developed a “hot spot” at one point in time. Perhaps even many times — if your dog is unlucky enough to have allergies, fleas, or another condition that causes them to scratch a lot.
If you catch it early you can save your dog a lot of discomfort and yourself a lot of trouble
- When you catch your dog itching, check their skin. If it's not too red and crusty, often times, you just have to let the itchy area “air out” before it gets too out of hand. Also, try keeping them from licking the area.
- Is their skin reddened. Are there crusty scabs? If so, use an electric beard trimmer (a useful tool for all dog owners to have!) to gently clip away the fur overlying the reddened, crusty area. Clip liberally, so as to allow good air contact and circulation of the hot spot.
- Sometimes just doing this clipping is enough to help stop the itching. Other times you may need to go one step further and give your dog a bath. To help break the itch, I recommend using either Douxo Calm shampoo or EpiSoothe shampoo for their bath. If it's just a small area of skin that's a little reddened, you can likely get away with using the Douxo Calm Allergy Microemulsion spray. Avoid using astringents, such as rubbing alcohol or witch hazel … as they'll dry your dog's skin and cause them pain. And don't bathe your dog with your shampoo or dish soap!
- If your dog’s itchiness is severe or their skin very inflamed or broken, it’s best to visit your veterinarian for additional treatment options. Not only can they help you and your dog clear up the problem more quickly, but hot spots that get to the broken skin and really inflamed stage are also more painful (don't use human pain relief) — meaning not only that your dog might require veterinary prescribed pain medication, but also that your dog might be more likely to bite you or suffer in silence from pain if you try to deal with their hot spot at home. (Some dogs need to be sedated to have their hot spots safely, comfortably, and most effectively treated. That's how painful these relatively "innocent-sounding" things can be!)
While you’re at your vet’s office, let them help you figure out why your dog is so itchy. There truly are lots of possible reasons — from fleas or mites to a grass/pollen allergy or food intolerance, or even an underactive thyroid gland. The sooner you and your vet can get to the bottom of any underlying cause, the better it will be for your dog (and your bank account).
PRO TIP: Brush for Sensitive Skin
When bathing the sensitive skin of a mild hot spot, you can improve shampoo lathering and penetration and possibly stimulate better (healing) blood flow to the area by using a soft, silicone brush while lathering. The FurBliss brush featured below is medical grade silicone, so it's durable, yet soft and flexible enough to be used even on mildly inflamed skin. And it's dishwasher safe and doubles as a great fur remover from furniture!
Since that "scabby" photo isn't much fun to end this article on, here's something more pleasant, the "before" shot of Daisy's bath.