Chamomile For Dogs: Natural Hot Spot & Itch Relief
Itchy skin and hot spots are common skin conditions for dogs, especially during the dry winter months. If your dog has become passionate about licking or scratching a specific area, or if you notice hair loss and irritated skin that is inflamed, red, and moist, your pup may have a skin infection. Dogs with long coats and history of allergies, fleas & ticks, ear infections, dirty skin, and tangled, matted hair are most susceptible to hot spots. Dogs can also develop hot spots when shedding if not groomed regularly. Learn what causes itchy skin and hot spots – and how to treat and prevent them naturally with Chamomile.
What Is A Hot Spot?
Hot spots are circular lesions and often found on the head, hip, legs, rump, and chest regions. Dogs tend to lick and scratch the area, which causes the skin to become more inflamed. Hot Spots are also known as Pyotramatic Dermatitis or Moist Eczema, this is a condition which involves an area of skin which has become sore and infected. Hot Spots can grow dramatically and triple in size within 24 hours. The affected skin often appears as a moist, oozing, reddened area and can be very painful if left untreated.
What Causes Hot Spots & Itch?
Bacteria do well in warm, moist environments and even small traces of moisture can be enough to cause irritation. Hot Spots can occur when bacteria over populates areas of your dog’s skin. Constant itching can also lead to the development of hot spots. Dogs with itchy skin (commonly known as pruritus) are very common and account for nearly 40% of all vet visits. The most common triggers for hot spots and itch are environmental allergies, fleas, untreated wounds, incomplete nutritional diet, older age. Hot spots can occur in otherwise healthy dogs by completely drying your dog after a bath or swim, which can create the perfect environment for bacteria.
Chamomile For Hot Spot & Itch Relief
Chamomile has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent and medicine. It is among the most widely used and safest natural remedies for dogs. The name ‘chamomile’ comes from the Greek term for “earth apple”. Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae family — which is a large group of flowering plants commonly referred to as the daisy or aster.
The dried flowers of the chamomile plant contain terpenoids and flavonoids that contribute to its medicinal properties. Chamomile can be used in a variety of ways in the form of: tea, tincture, balm, and ointment. It is beneficial for the treatment of minor dog itch, hot spots, insect bites, and skin irritations. A cooled chamomile rinse or ointment is a great topical treatment for skin inflammation.
You can find chamomile at health food stores, and also through aTobiko Organic Dog Care, a complete line of grooming and wellness products made with organic plant based ingredients that include chamomile, and safe for dogs with allergies and sensitive skin.
Hot Spot Treatment
Stopping the growth of the hot spot and preventing the cause is the first step toward treatment. In the book ‘Guide To Skin and Hair Coat Problems In Dogs’ by Veterinary Dermatologist Lowell Ackerman, who recommends the following treatment for hot spots:
- Trim the hair around the sore to prevent further spread of the infection and expose the edges of the lesion.
- Wash the area with an antiseptic wound cleanser
Other tips include:
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed to prevent trauma to the hot spot from constant scratching.
- Do not cover the wound with a cloth or band aid — your dog’s skin needs to breathe.
- Use a natural hot spot treatment to fight the bacteria and help prevent your dog from licking the area.
- Apply a natural cream or ointment to speed up healing.
- Avoid medicating your dog until you’ve tried all possible alternatives. Medication does not prevent or cure the underlying cause of hot spots. It may provide temporary relief, but you may soon find that your pet develops skin irritations even after medication.
- Contact your veterinarian if symptoms worsen, or seek additional advice from a holistic vet to prevent future skin infections.
Hot Spot & Itch Prevention Tips
Healthy skin is the best way in preventing hot spots and painful itch.
- Bathe your dog regularly with a chamomile, oat, or aloe shampoo to keep the skin clean naturally.
- Dry your dog throughly with a towel and or hair dryer after bathing and swimming.
- Trim your lawn and keep outdoor areas clean — fleas and ticks like to hide in tall grass and bushes.
- Spray your yard monthly with a natural (deet & pesticide free) lawn spray to prevent fleas and ticks.
- Wash your pet’s bed and blankets (and yours too) in hot water regularly.
- Brush your dog daily to prevent matted, tangled fur and to distribute natural oils that help keep his skin healthy.
- Check your dog for wounds, inflammation, moisture, and fleas and ticks regularly.
- Keep your house clean to prevent your dog from developing environmental allergies. Vacuum your carpets, clean the floors, and get rid of dust on a weekly basis.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of daily exercise, attention, socialization and training to prevent boredom and anxiety — which can lead to unnecessary licking and scratching. A tired dog is less likely to have the energy to lick and scratch.
- Feed your dog a grain free, natural / raw diet. Dog’s with a lack of essential fatty acids can trigger skin irritations and other health problems.
- Seek a natural supplement to help your dog’s skin and coat. Dogs with dry skin or dull coats, often improve with diet change and supplements that contain omegas 3-6-9.
- Your dog may be reacting to a grooming product. Choose pet products that do not contain harsh chemicals, preservatives and dyes.
The Organic Difference In Pet Products
Many consumers assume that pet products go through rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. After all, why would anyone market a product that wasn’t safe? The EPA did not begin reviewing pet product safety until 1996. The EPA stated that “We cannot make our own assessment because unlike the regulations directing the FDA’s approval of human products, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act does not require pet products to undergo field trials prior to approval.” There are no safety laws for pet grooming and care products, and companies can put just about anything they want in your dog’s wellness treatments! It’s important to review all ingredients in your pet care products before purchase.
Choosing The Best Products
Choose Itch & Hot Spot relief products that are made with organic ingredients and free of synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Natural doesn’t mean ‘organic’. Products that are labeled organic must meet USDA testing for safety and quality. In the pet industry, companies with non organic products are not required to test their ingredients for safety. Many grooming and care products with harsh chemicals may be harming your pet, and might be the cause of reoccurring skin conditions. Always read the label and ingredients for your dog products carefully.
Humane Society – http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/flea_tick_OTC_pet_products.html
Pet MD – http://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_common-dog-skin-problems
Drs. Foster & Smith (Pet Education) – http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2111&aid=447
Canis Major – http://www.canismajor.com/dog/hotspots.html
Pet Health Network – http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/hot-spots-dogs/page/0/1
My Dog Dry Skin – http://www.mydogdryskin.com/dog-sores/dog-sores-how-to-treat-dog-hot-spots-and-identify-the-root-causes
NCBI – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
Your Old Dog – http://www.yourolddog.com/12788/chamomile-dogs-safely-use/