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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Does your dog suffer from hot spots? Constant itching, scratching, chewing, and biting at their feet are symptoms of skin allergies. When the scratching and chewing persists, it can lead to patchy hair loss and inflamed sores.
Conventional treatment includes steroids, antibiotics, tranquilizers and antihistamines which may suppress the symptoms, but does not address the underlying cause. And the symptoms eventually return. These drugs, used long-term, can also cause more problems like Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, liver disease, kidney failure and autoimmune disorders.
There are many causes of skin allergies, some of which may be fleas, food allergies, vaccinations and hormone imbalance. Did you know the state of the adrenal glands is reflected in skin health? By nourishing the adrenals, as well as addressing nutritional deficiencies and using topical remedies, many skin conditions will clear up.
External Remedies for Hotspots:
- Black tea or Green tea: make a strong brew and apply to inflamed areas for up to 10 minutes. Store extra in the refrigerator to reapply.
- Calendula tincture: use full strength
- Witch hazel: soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and put on the itchy spots. Apply 2-3 times a day.
- Aloe vera: use the fresh plant or bottled gel. Apply 1-3 times a day.
- Baking soda: make a paste with 1 teaspoon baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply to inflamed areas and leave for several hours.
- Baking soda spray: mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 8 ounces water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use and spray as needed.
- Oatmeal poultice: mix powdered oatmeal with water and place on spots for a short time. Aveeno makes colloidal oatmeal products that can be used in bathwater as well as a poultice.
- Cabbage leaf: the use of cabbage leaves as a poultice is an old remedy. Take 1 cabbage leaf and pound the surface until the fibers begin to break and juice starts to ooze from the leaf. Hold the leaf onto the inflamed area. Cabbage draws out inflammation and heat. Hold in place until you feel the leaf get warm, several minutes.
- Liquid colloidal trace minerals: apply full strength to hot spots.
- Sea salt: mix 1 tablespoon sea salt into 2 quarts water or herbal tea (such as chamomile or comfrey) and work into the skin. If a more concentrated solution is needed, mix 1 tablespoon sea salt to 1 cup water or herbal tea.
- Apple cider vinegar: apply directly to skin.
- Chamomile tea: brew a very strong tea and apply to irritated skin.
- Comfrey: one of the best herbs for skin health. Use a tea or tincture.
- Goldenseal powder: mix with water or aloe vera and apply to skin.
Nutrition for Skin Health:
Nutrition and diet play a huge role in skin health. If your dog is on commercial dry or canned food, you might consider changing him over to a raw or home-cooked diet that includes fresh whole foods. Many health problems are alleviated by this simple change in the dog’s life. In addition to changing to fresh foods, adding these supplements can help nourish the adrenal glands and skin.
- Bitter herbs: adding bitter herbs like dandelion, calendula flowers, fresh chickweed, fresh plantain, comfrey and wheat grass nourishes and tones the whole digestive system.
- Licorice root and yucca: both relieve inflammation. Small amounts of licorice nourish the adrenal glands which become more stressed with prolonged skin irritations.
- Oils and Fats: use a variety and rotate such as—avocado, fatty fish, fat from pastured meats and poultry, essential fatty acids supplements, borage seed, evening primrose, flaxseed, olive, and cod liver.
- Digestive enzyme supplements: help restore digestive health.
- Carrots and greens: add essential minerals and vitamins to health. Try raw or cooked.
- Kelp and other seaweeds: provide essential iodine for glandular function.
All-purpose Skin and Coat Supplement:
Here is a recipe for an all-purpose supplement you can make ahead and mix into the dog’s meal each day.
You need equal parts of dried:
- burdock root
Grind all the herbs together in a spice or coffee grinder. Use ¼ teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight and add to food daily.
Hot spots are painful and irritating for the dog and should be addressed as soon as possible. If you know of other natural remedies, be sure and put them in the comment box below!
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