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Is there a better way to treat hot spots other than medicated spray from the vet? Charlie's been getting them this summer and i'm not quite sure if it's environmental or his food or what. He's on Acana regional ranchlands. The medicated spray from the vet doesn't seem to work too well. He's getting them on his back legs. They are usually pretty mild, but take a while to go away. I add ultra oil to his food every day as well. He also sometimes gets a little coconut oil. We live in Atlanta, GA if that helps. 

Thanks!

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How old is Charlie?
I don't know what "ultra oil" is, but the only kind of oil that helps itching & skin conditions in dogs is fish oil, or evening primrose oil softgels. The type of Omega 3 fatty acids you need are EPA & DHA, and those are only found in fish. The fatty acids in evening primrose oil convert to the EPA in the body, so that will work too. Coconut oil taken internally is absolutely useless for this and may even make it worse, due to the Omega 6 fatty acids in it. 

Depending on Charlie's age and how long he has been on his current food, the chances that this is food related are very low. 

Some good info on allergies in dogs, and some tips on helping with the itching:
https://www.doodlekisses.com/forum/topics/some-basic-facts-about?gr...;
From the article:

For temporary relief of itching due to inhalant allergies, here are some things that you can do:

Give Omega 3 fatty acid supplements. You want the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA & EPA, which are only found in fish. You can also give GLA in the form of evening primrose oil supplements. In both cases, use human softgel supplements. 

If you feed dry dog food, check the Omega 6:3 ratio. You want a ratio of 5:1 or less, the lower the better, and the Omega 3 content should come from fish.

Give antihistamines. Different antihistamines are more effective for different dogs. Typically, you want second generation antihistamines that do not cause drowsiness, like Claritin, Zyrtec, Atarax, etc. rather than Benadryl.

Use OTC anti-itch sprays on the affected areas. These are available at most pet supply stores.

Wipe the dog down every time he comes in from outside, paying particular attention to the feet. Brush the dog daily.

Keep the indoor areas where the dog spends the most time as clean and dust free as possible. Wash bedding weekly, wash food & water bowls daily. Vacuum as often as possible.

Keep dry foods in air-tight storage containers and don't buy more than you can use in a month unless you can freeze it. Discard the bags the food came in and use ziplock freezer bags. 

If the feet are affected, you can soak them in tepid water with epsom salts. Be sure to dry thoroughly afterwards.

Bathe the dog often, weekly if possible, with a shampoo formulated for allergic dogs. (I like Douxo Calm). Do NOT use leave-in conditioners or other grooming products. Use a cool dryer setting or air-dry. 

As much as I hate doing it, keeping windows closed really helps with pollen allergies. Run the A/C in warm weather especially, the allergy symptoms are exacerbated by humidity. Use a furnace filter with a high allergen rating and change it monthly. 

Hi Karen!

Thanks for the info! Charlie just turned 2 this past May. Ultra Oil is a brand of fish oil that i've been using, but it has other oils in it as well:

Canadian Hempseed Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Fish Oil (Sardine & Anchovy), Grapeseed Oil, DL-Alpha Tocopherol (Source of Vitamin E), Vitamin A Palmitate, Sodium Ascorbate (Source of Vitamin C), Zinc Lactate.

Do you recommend that I find a different oil that is primarily fish oil? I will stop with the coconut oil in his food, but he really doesn't get it too often. One difference between last summer and this summer is the amount of swimming he's doing. We go to a dock diving pool (salt water) every Saturday and sometimes we also go to the lake on Sundays. I don't bathe him after every time we go to the pool, but I bathe him after the lake every single time. Normally he gets a bath every 1 to 2 weeks. I will definitely make sure I start bathing him weekly and I may start doing epsom salt baths. I will also try to wipe his feet down after he goes outside, but he is in and out during the day while i'm at work since we have a doggy door. 

Thanks for all of your suggestions!

I would stop the ultra oil. That flax seed and hempseed contain Omega 6 fatty acids that can contribute to inflammation, and with those two being the first tweo ingredients and therefore the most plentiful, he isn;t getting enough Omega 3 from this product to do much good.  I would get an Omega 3 supplement that is strictly fish oil based. 

At 2 years old, Charlie could definitely be suffering from allergies; they are very common in Labs and Goldens, and hence, in doodles. 

Gotcha, thanks! I've ordered a new oil that is strictly an omega-3 fish oil from Chewy. 

Oh, and definitely at least rinse him after he uses the salt water pool. That salt water can be murder on the skin and coat. 

Ah good to know! I figured it was safer since it was a pet pool, but I will make sure to at least hose him down if I know we're going to the lake the next day (and then bathe after the lake). I gave him a zyrtec yesterday around 4:30pm, and he was HUNGRY. He doesn't eat a lot at all, and has never begged for food or treats. Yesterday he acted like he hadn't had food in weeks. I made sure to give him a ton of water too, but he didn't seem any more thirsty than he normally is. he also seemed to itch the same amount, if not more. Zyrtec must not be a good match for him. 

Well, IF the itching is not caused by a histamine response, an antihistamine is not going to help. But they also don't work immediately for dogs. It usually takes a week or so of using the antihistamines AND the fatty acids to start to see the immune system calming down. It's also true that different antihistamines work better or worse for different dogs, and sometimes, they need different dosages. JD did better with Claritin, and he needed triple the human dose (prescribed by his dermatologist). The Omega 3 fatty acids also enhance the effects of the antihistamines.
I never noticed an increase in JD's appetite from antihistamines. But every dog responds differently.

Hey! Ok so I got a new fish oil (that Charlie LOVES- he licks the bowl when he’s done to get it all!) it’s just finish oil. I also got a different kind of goats milk than I used to get. I used to get the primal brand, but I got the A+ Answers brand (its kind of fermented vs. the primal). I also got a fermented fish stock from the same brand. I also got an all natural allergy supplement from vets plus brand. And a hot spot spray from the same brand (main ingredient is tea tree oil). With a combination of all this, the hot spots went away about 75% in the past 2 days! AND he hasn’t been itching at all almost! Thank you for the suggestions!

Tried and true I've been using this mixture for well over 30 years.  Originally given to me by my first vet for my pup who was horribly allergic to fleas and was a walking hot spot! This stuff is amazing and you can see results quickly, we even use it on ourselves.  Great for hot spots, razor burn and temporary relief from bug bites unless you've itched them raw then this stuff helps clear up the wounded area quickly. I prefer applying with my hands but make sure they are completely clean before doing so.  Stores forever in cool dark cupboard just make sure to shake it up before reusing. After wearing a cast and walking boot for over a year I get an area on my lower leg that gets real itchy and turns beet red, this is the only thing that calms it down. I have over a dozen tubes of medicine from the doctors that has never worked!

I'm glad this has worked for you, but a true "hot spot" is a moist dermatitis that will become infected if not properly treated. Oil is going to keep it moist and that's opposite of what you want. The Listerine is an antibacterial, but it isn't really what you want if there is an actual infection. Dogs' skin is very different from ours and generally requires different treatment. Plus, you really want to treat the itching itself to prevent the hot spots from developing in the first place. :) 

When you are looking at foods don't forget the treats, chews, etc! When it comes to the Listerine, I'd worry about the color, flavor and whatever other additives there might be.
I was just on the Mountain Herb site this morning and happen to look at their pet products. I have never tried them sound like they are worth it if you want to go the natural way. One product they have is FidoDerm Spray: Distilled water, organic Aloe Vera, Calendula extract, ethanol USP, and essential oils of Tea Tree, Lavender, and Carrot Seed. Tea Tree has antiseptic properties and also soothes.

Oh he only gets freeze dried meat as treats! I usually bake beef liver myself, or I buy sojos but that's all he gets. Even if I wanted to feed him crappy treats, this picky doodle won't eat anything other than freeze dried meat LOL. If there are any other ingredients he won't even put it in his mouth. He's the pickiest! 

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