Acral lick dermatitis, commonly known as hot spots, are common skin infections in chow chows. Their full, fluffy coat traps moisture against the skin, which may lead to hot spots. Treating them should be done under close veterinary supervision.
Schedule your dog for a veterinary exam. Hot spots are a result of a variety of conditions, including allergies, fleas, mites and bacterial infections. The thick coat of the chow chow makes it difficult to treat hot spots, and your vet will likely shave the area around the spot to allow the skin to breathe. He will also perform a skin scraping to determine the cause.
Fit the dog with an Elizabethan collar. These cone-shaped collars prevent the dog from licking and scratching hot spots. Look for a collar with a rubber comfort strip to protect your chow chow’s thick coat.
Wash the hot spot every day with medicated shampoo. Chows have sensitive skin, and medicated shampoo will clean off scaling and crusty flakes around the hot spot without causing further irritation. Wet the hot spot with warm water and add a dollop of soap to the spot. Don’t rub the hot spot; dab it gently with a washcloth to distribute the soap and rinse clean. Blot the spot with a dry cloth until the skin is completely dry.
Apply a topical cream to the spot as directed by your veterinarian. Dab the cream all over the spot with a clean fingertip. If the vet prescribed antibiotics, administer them according to the package directions.
Items you will need
- Elizabethan collar
- Medicated soap
- Topical cream
- If the hair begins to grow back before the hot spot disappears, take the dog to a groomer and have the spot shaved. The shorter the hair around the hot spot, the easier it is to wash and medicate.
- black/blue tongued chow chow image by Scrivener from Fotolia.com