Golden Retrievers Speak: Hot Spots!

Jeter:  I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a nice coat and good skin.  Golden Retrievers are known for their “hot spots” (Josh would get at least one every year, if not more), but I have never had one (knock on wood).  I would try to lick Josh’s though, from time to time, and recently licked one that Alanis developed by her shoulder.

Alanis:   Yes, hot spots are uncomfortable – this is my first one, and hopefully my last one.  My family had treatments left over from when Josh would get them, so thankfully they have been treating it.  They are so uncomfortable.   My parents probably like the fact that this spot is in a place where it is very hard for me to lick at, but there are times I wish I could just go to town and rip my hair out, like Josh used to do!

Me:  Neither Jeter nor Alanis were here when Josh developed his nastiest hot spot (in my opinion).  Colleen and I went to a christening, and when we came home, Josh had pretty much ripped out a lot of his hair on one of his sides.  Suffice to say, he went straight to the vet and probably had to wear the “cone of shame”.

Jeter:  Don’t interupt us when we are talking, you fool.   I do like to lick wounds.  I find them very quickly on other dogs (and people!) and lick, lick, lick.  It is mostly an old dog’s tale that our tongues have some sort of miraculous healing powers, but what do I care?  I just like doing it.

Alanis:   There are many things that can cause hot spots – believe it or not, Josh’s hip condition may have been a reason why his hot spots would show up on his side (licking near the area of the hip pain).   He also had allergic reactions to food (mommy and daddy think it was white rice).    They are not dangerous or life-threatening, but they should be treated.  They are very uncomfortable for us, and since logic is not what dogs specialize in, we will continue to lick and bite at them.

Jeter:    That is exactly what Josh would do – and before you knew it, a little red spot on his skin would become this big wound that needed treatment.

Me:  Yep, and that treatment typically included the need to cut his hair around his wound, which I am sure caused even more discomfort.  We didn’t have to do that with Alanis’ first ever hot spot.   We don’t even know what caused the hot spot, and hopefully they don’t become a regular thing with her.  They can be a royal pain to deal with.   If your dog is prone to hot spots, you may want to do what humans are often told to do:  Keep a journal in an effort to figure out why the hot spots are occurring.  Are they due to a specific food?  Is there perhaps something in the environment?   Are they not getting enough exercise? (A bored dog will sometimes create the hot spots because they lick out of boredom).   It could be a lot of trial and error.    Josh’s problems with hot spots never went away, though they were controlled.   It is recommended you take your dog to the vet, especially if the hot spot has reached a point where the dog has exposed his skin.   


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