Hot Spots: Explained.

This article from Pet 360 explains the seemingly neverending problem that many dogs have: Hot spots. 

Hot spots are one of those less then desirable skin irritations seen in pets. Often, you’ll here your vet refer to them as moist eczema, but you … well, you can call them hot spots. They occur when your dog itches, scratches or licks him or herself excessively, eventually forming a wet scab on the fur. But what do you with a hot spot?

Hot spots (also known as summer sores or moist eczema) can seemingly appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog’s body; the surrounding area can rapidly deteriorate too. This moist, raw skin disorder has a variety of causes but the most consistent factor is bacteria.

Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the environment for bacterial contamination if the surface of the skin has but only a little a bit of moisture on it. Such incidences of moisture can be such seemingly innocuous things such as as a recent bath, swim, stroll in the rain, or playtime in wet craze. Even a slightly oozing sore can provide enough moisture and/or nutrient for a bacterial infection to take hold.

Although there are various types of “hot spot”-causing bacteria, most respond to oral and topical antibiotics. For some reason, cats rarely acquire hot spots.

How To Treat a Hot Spot

  • Trim the area around the hot spot with animal clippers. If the area is too big, shave it. Exposing it to air will dry out the moisture and help speed healing.
  • Clean the area with a mild water-based astringent or antiseptic spray, or specialized shampoo, and pat dry.
  • Apply hydrocortisone spray or hydrocortisone cream (with a veterinarian’s prescription) to stop the itching and help promote healing.
  • Prevent your dog from biting, licking or scratching the hot spot affected area. Placing an Elizabethan collar (plastic cone) around your dog’s neck, for example, can be an excellent tool to keep him/her from biting and licking at it.
  • Keep an eye on the area to make sure it continues to heal and doesn’t worsen or spread. Hot spots often require a visit to the vet, who will likely prescribe topical medication usually in the form of a Gentamicin/Betamethasone spray, and possibly oral antibiotics. The vet may also give your dog a cortisone injection to jump start the healing process.

A Typical Hot Spot… and How To Treat It

Hot spots often spread under the cover of the fur so that by the time you notice them they are well established and spreading. The fur is shaved over the moist eczema to facilitate application of medication as well as to allow drying.

The area surrounding the hot spot lesion should be shaved. That tiny black spot at the top of the hot spot is an area where the skin has actually died and may be where a tick was attached. Why one tick will trigger moist eczema and others won’t is still a mystery. If every tick bite caused this much reaction, the magnitude of skin problems in dogs would be staggering!

Daily cleaning of the hot spot, even every two hours for the first day or two, will speed up the healing. Also, any topical anti-bacterial ointment will arrest the growth of the bacteria. These skin lesions can take a week to finally dry and look like they are going to heal. Once they are no longer oozing, simply keeping the hot spot area clean will be all that’s needed. The fur begins to grow back (sometimes a different color!) within two weeks.

Hot Spots, Moist Eczema, and Summer Sores

Here are a few more things you might not have known about hot spots, moist eczema and summer sores. They really do seem much more prevalent in the summer months. They can cause severe itching and self-trauma because the infection goes into the deep layers of the skin. This is why hot spots may take two weeks to finally look like they are going to heal. On occasion if a dog has extensive and deep areas of moist eczema, oral antibiotics and antihistamines may need to be prescribed and large areas of skin will be shaved.

Keep your dog well groomed, especially in hot seasons. Any dog that has matted, dirty hair coat is at greater risk of developing hot spots. Many owners will have their long or thick-furred dog shaved closely in the summer. You can do this yourself — carefully, of course — by using animal clippers, especially around the ears and where there is thick fur that doesn’t dry quickly. This really does help prevent the thick coat from covering any dampness on the surface of the skin. If the fur is allowed to accumulate too much moisture, the wet skin underneath can become the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth and hot spots.

And though they mostly occur in the summertime, hot spots can develop at any time. If your dog develop a skin lesion, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not delay! You may run the risk that your dog’s condition deteriorates quickly.

Treatment consisted of topical peroxide every two hours and systemic antibiotics to combat the deep skin infection, as well as a single, short acting corticosteroid to stop the inflammatory reaction. Oral antibiotics and topical medication are typically continued for at least a week; two weeks of the hot spot treatment is even better for the dog.

Many types of dermatological problems are avoided if your dog is on a well-balanced diet. In some cases, adding dietary supplements such omega fatty acids can help avoid repeated issues of hot spots and other skin afflictions. If your dog (or cat) seems to lack a healthy coat and/or skin, consider upgrading the diet to a meat-based ingredient formula. The first ingredient listed in on the pet food label should be a meat such as chicken, lamb, poultry, beef or fish; if it is corn…pass it up!

Start the New Year Right with Resolutions for Your Pet

While you’re busy making resolutions for yourself on New Year’s Eve, remember to keep your four legged pal in mind, too! 

  • Pets Need a Healthy Diet, too: Measure your pet’s food every time you feed them to make sure they have the right amount of calories and nutrients. Not sure how much is enough? Check with your veterinarian.
  • Puppies Don’t Eat the Same Food as Senior Dogs: Choosing a diet for your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in great health. Puppy food is specially formulated for growing pups. The same goes for kittens!
  • Get Outside: Pets are social animals, and they need exercise! Think up some new outdoor activities you can both enjoy, or a new dog park to try. This will benefit you both!
  • New Toys, More Playtime: All pets love playtime, try out some new toys from the Barkery that will get their paws and minds going.
  • Keep the Vet on Your Mind: Yearly veterinarian examinations are necessary to make sure your pet is in the best shape. Don’t toss those reminder cards out!
  • Get Grooming: Brushing your pet removes excess fur from the coat and helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. And of course, the Barkery has you covered when it comes to the best grooming in town!
  • Pick up that Toothbrush: Your pet’s oral hygiene is very important as it can point to more serious diseases. This is another service your pet can benefit from at our store.
  • New Trick, Better Mind: Teaching your dog new tricks keeps their mind active and healthy. It also makes for great party entertainment!
  • Update Your Pet’s ID: Update your pet’s microchip or pet health record since a lot can change in a year.
  • Foster a Pet: Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, and maybe, your home will become theirs.

Whatever your New Year’s Resolutions might be this year, we wish you and your pet a new year full of joy, happiness and lots of playtime. We look forward to seeing you soon at the Barkery!

Buy American this Holiday at the Barkery

Have you heard of the Made in America Movement?

The Barkery is proud to carry several American-made items for your pets – and help to continue the growth of American jobs. By making sure there are at least a few American-made items on your holiday gift list, you’ll put a smile on the face of your and your friends pets, and somewhere out there, you’ll also contribute to the smiles on the faces of a few hard-working Americans who made that gift for you.

Check out these American-made dog treats you can find in our shop now (or order online!):

Bocce Bakery – New York, NY

Peetwoods Pet Biscuit Co. – Shawnee Mission, KS

Tucker’s Treats – Wisconsin & Illinois 

Be sure to ask about our other American-made items when you’re in – and find the perfect gift for every pup on your list!

Poisonous Pet Holiday Items

The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about a potentially poisoned pet. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.

Holiday Ornaments:

When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Tinsel:

If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

Plants:

Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.

Alcohol:

Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.

Holiday Foods:

With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
  • Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Imported Snow Globes:

Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.

Liquid Potpourri:

Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.

 

Feed me! But not too much! Five things to do to determine how much to feed your dog.

From The Whole Dog Journal.

  1. Use the “recommended feeding amounts” on the label of your dog’s food as a starting point, not a fixed rule.

Calorie calculations and recommended amounts to feed are always an estimate, as the caloric needs of individual dogs can vary significantly based on activity level, metabolism, and other factors. The only way to know for sure how much food or how many calories your dog needs is to carefully monitor and keep track of the amount you feed her, watch her weight closely, and adjust the amount you feed as needed to keep her at, or help her reach, her ideal weight.

 

  1. Use a measuring cup or scale.

If you measure the amount of food you feed in cups, be sure to use a measuring cup, not just any cup, which might hold more or less than the regulation 8 fluid ounces. Better yet, get a small kitchen or postal scale and measure the food by weight, which is more accurate. This is especially useful for those of us feeding small dogs; even a few kibbles’ difference – which you can’t really appreciate when they are in even a measuring cup – can make a big difference in the weight of a small dog.

 

  1. Do a little math (it won’t kill you, we promise).

If you feed a homemade diet and calculate the amount to feed as a percentage of your dog’s body weight, remember that small dogs eat a larger percentage of their weight than larger dogs do. The amount of fat in the diet will significantly affect the number of calories provided; it’s best to feed only lean meats (no more than 10 percent fat) to most pet (non-athlete) dogs. Dogs fed grains and other starchy carbs will usually eat more food by weight than those fed primarily meat and animal products (which are higher in fat).

 

  1. Add up the extras (and consider eliminating most of them).

If your dog is any fatter than lean, he’s getting too many calories. Those of us who feed dry dog food (a nutritionally very dense food) may object when our veterinarian says, “Feed him less!” – especially when it seems we are feeding him practically nothing at all. But don’t forget to take into account the calories your dog gets from treats, chews, leftovers, and supplements (particularly oils, which provide 40 calories per teaspoon).

 

Many treats do not show calories on the label, so if you’re concerned, contact the company to find out. Some examples: Greenies have 25 to a whopping 272 calories each (depending on size), while Milk Bone dog biscuits range from 10 to 225 calories. Bully sticks may have about 29 calories per inch, while rawhide may have 80 calories per ounce!

 

If you find you have to feed much less than the amount of food recommended on the label to keep your dog at her proper weight, the odds are she’s getting significant calories from these other sources, which may be limiting the nutrients that she needs. (If that’s not the case, consider asking your vet whether it might be worth testing your dog for hypothyroidism.)

 

  1. Add real food if you want – but the right foods.

When adding “human” foods to a commercial diet, you can generally give as many non-starchy vegetables as you want, including carrots, broccoli, zucchini and other summer squashes, green beans, and all kinds of leafy greens. These foods are low in calories but provide valuable antioxidants and phytonutrients, and may help your dog feel fuller. Remember that vegetables must be either cooked or pureed in order to be digestible by dogs, but there’s no harm in giving whole, raw veggies as a treat, such as carrot sticks, green beans, or zucchini slices.

 

Other good choices for added foods without a lot of added calories include skinless chicken breast, low-fat or nonfat yogurt and cottage cheese, and sardines packed in water, not oil. Canned pumpkin and sweet potato in small amounts can be good for digestive health.

 

Remember, studies have shown that thin dogs live significantly longer, and their health and mobility stays good later in life. If you really love your dog, keep her lean!

20% Off Weruva cans continues through December 14th!

Stock up and save 20% off on Weruva now!

From Weruva: “Our formulas are produced in a human food facility using many of the ingredients and processes that are used in products made for people. Our base proteins of chicken, beef and fish include only top quality muscle meat, such as white breast chicken, whole tuna loins and select cuts of beef. Then we add fresh vegetables and other unique items such as grilled skipjack, tilapia and red bigeye tuna, as well as calamari and shirasu. Our ingredients maintain a natural look and recognizable texture which allows the pet owner to see and understand the ingredients…so what you see is what you get!”

Click here to check out Weruva products in our online store! 

Holiday Gift Basket Headquarters at the Barkery!

Not sure what to get your four-legged friend this holiday? How about a gift basket loaded with goodies from the Barkery?

Whether you’re searching for something special for Chewy the Chihuaha, Billie the Bulldog, or Gertie the Great Dane, we have baskets in small, medium and large!

Our small basket includes: IMG_2337

  • 1 bag of Cloud Star Holiday Biscuits
  • 1 Barkery cookie can
  • 1 Amazing Tooth Saver small rope toy
  • 1 Cloud Star Gingerbread Man treat
  • 1 Candy Cane Bully Stick
  • 1 Santa or Snowman rope tug toy

IMG_2330 (2)Our medium basket includes:

  • 1 box of Cloud Star Holiday Biscuits
  • 1 8pk of GoGo Poop ‘n Go bags
  • 1 Krijon 12″ bully stick
  • 1 GoGo 10″ back strap
  • 1 Amazing Tooth Saver medium-sized rope toy
  • 1 PetLou plush snowman (tan)
  • 1 PetLou plush Christmas bone (large)
  • 1 bag of Bocce’s treats (flavors vary)
  • 1 Barkery cookie can
  • 1 Barkery food measuring cup

IMG_2353 (1)Our large basket includes:

  • 1 large plush Christmas monkey (named Yim-Yim)
  • 2 Cloud Star Gingerbread Man cookies
  • 1 Amazing Tooth Saver large rope toy
  • 1 large Tuff Ball (yellow)
  • 1 Fido Nylon Tough Bone
  • 1 Zanies plush snowman
  • 1 GoGo backstrap
  • 1 can of Merrick Homecoming Holiday
  • 1 can of Merrick Festive Holiday Stew
  • 1 Jones rib bone
  • 1 bag of Plato Turkey & Pumpkin Treats
  • 1 GoGo candy cane bully stick
  • 1 Barkery cookie can
  • 1 Barkery food measuring cup

No matter which basket you choose, your pup is certain to love this basket of treats – and you won’t be able to find one like it anywhere else!

Custom Treat Jars Are Here!

You won’t be able to find this item anywhere – and it’s the perfect gift for your pet and your pet-loving friends!2014-11-26_1626_001

This whopping big jar can be filled with an assortment of the most popular cookies from our cookie case, joint treats, or part treats. Fill it with any treat you want!

And it’s not just any jar. It’s a CUSTOM treat jar. That means we’ll personalize it with the name of any dog you tell us. Only restriction is it needs to be less than 10 letters due to space limitations.

So this year, make Rex, Bella, or Sam’s Christmas morning the best ever with a gift that will (literally) keep on giving (as long as you put in treats for it to dispense!)