Both cat and dogs suffer from bald patches when they scratch one area of their skin too often. Though there are many contributing factors to what causes hot spots, it is important for pet owners to learn how to help their pets avoid discomfort and pain by helping prevent the skin sores from developing. Like many irritations and infections, hot spots can be caused by a variety of triggers which lead to itchy skin. Most of these can be prevented by implementing these preventative measures:

Hot Spot Prevention

  • Clean their coats after water contact. Animals that swim often, play in sprinklers or puddles, wade through swampland or rivers, or even are caught out in the rain regularly are more likely to develop hot spots. Though it is not advisable to scrub the dog’s coat with shampoo after every run in with water, rinsing the dog or cat will be very helpful. This will help soak out any dust, dirty or muck that may have stuck to their wet fur. Follow this by a quick towel dry, and run a come through the coat to sift through any tangles.
  • Brush their hair often. Though brushing a pet is one of the most basic responsibilities in pet-care-101, some people let the job slide. Not only does coat brushing eliminate extra clumps of dog or cat hair lying around the house, but it also will help keep a coat tidy and less likely to contain hot spots.
  • Use anti-tick, flea and parasite products. Parasite infestations and flea bites are some of the leading causes in hot spots. Ward off the pests by clipping on a flea collar, or going in for regular flea shampoos. If these measures do not appear effective enough, apply methoprene (an approved anti-flea egg topical hormone) to their fur, or use a product containing D-limonene or other chemicals which prohibit the existence of fleas.
  • Groom regularly and trim their hair: Visiting the groomer shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, but rather a necessity. Grooming can be more vitally important to a pet’s health than just a pampering pet facial or claw clip. Keeping the scalp well-moisturized with hypoallergenic and soothing shampoos, and trimming long, matted hair will significantly reduce a pet’s temptation to tear or scratch at their skin.
  • Feed dogs and cats hypoallergenic pet food products or organic whole foods. Nutritional allergies such as grain, starch, or dairy sensitivities often bring about allergic reactions in pets.   Due to the fillers and unhealthy additives that many mainstream pet food manufacturers use, more and more pets are developing food sensitivities, and are experiencing an array of health problems as a result of low-quality nutrition. Switch to a hypoallergenic food product (made by a trustworthy company) or use the process of identifying the food allergies so as to find what incites your dog or cat to scratch and bite their coat.
  • Identify and avoid pet allergies. If food allergies do not seem to be the cause of your pet’s itchy skin, see if he might be reacting to seasonal or plant-based allergies like hay fever, or dust mites in the home. Try removing the triggers that exacerbate the allergic reaction, and see if orally-administered allergy medications such as Benadryl or pet antihistamines reduce the itchiness of the skin.
  • Give your pet an emotionally happy and environmentally stable life. When a dog or cat picks up an unusual behavior with no apparent reason, it may be due to trust issues, fears, or past trauma that is causing the nervous activity. Some pets lick, nibble or scratch their fur as a nervous habit when they are frightened or lonely. Help your dog or cat establish a life of peace and tranquility, as well as emotional security to help them overcome the stress leading to this behavior.

NOTE: One further way to help your pet desist from pestering potential hot spots, is to put on an Elizabethan collar to keep them from licking sore areas.