Frenchies are fabulous! They’re a whole lot of personality in a sturdy little package. They’re incredibly smart and funny. They love their families, and they love to play. But like any dog, they have their own unique ‘problems’ and a lot of times, their problems revolve around their skin.
Like other bulldog breeds, French bulldogs can be prone to allergies. In dogs, allergy symptoms usually translate to skin problems. They’re also naturally prone to non-allergy-related skin problems. One of the most common skin problems you might see in your Frenchie is hot spots.
What exactly are hot spots? How do you treat them, and is there any way to stop them from happening? Stick with us and we’ll give you the rundown on hot spots, and give you ideas about how to treat them on your French Bulldog.
What Are Hot Spots?
Acute moist dermatitis is the official name for hot spots. It’s just as gross as it sounds. They start as small irritated and itchy spots. Soon, they spread into raw, bleeding, moist patches. Hot spots are painful and itchy, and since they’re moist, they’re a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive and cause an infection. Infections can lead to secondary hot spots.
Hot spots are related to other underlying conditions. These include:
- Environmental or food allergies
- Ear infections
- Inflammed anal glands
- Skin infections
- Laying on one spot due to illness or injury
- Matted hair
- Licking due to boredom
Hot spots can occur anywhere on your dog’s body. Your Frenchie's facial folds and skin wrinkles are particularly prone to hot spots since they hold moisture and provide a welcoming environment for yeast and bacteria.
Treating Hot Spots
Don’t worry! If your Frenchie has some down with a hot spot, there are things that you can do to help treat them.
Hot spots don’t usually require a vet visit. Smaller ones can be easily treated at home. Here are steps you can take to help soothe your pup’s hot spot:
- Trim the hair around the hot spot so it doesn’t trap moisture.
- Clean the area with a mild antibacterial soap or antiseptic spray.
- Use a hot spot treatment. These are usually sold as sprays or wipes.
- Use an Elizabethan Collar (or cone), or find a way to lightly cover the hot spot. If you cover it, make sure it stays dry. It’s crucial to keep your dog from licking the hot spot to allow it to heal.
Don’t use human anti-itch ointments on your Frenchie’s hot spots. Your dog will most likely try to lick these off, and licking needs to be avoided to promote a hot spot’s healing.
Larger hot spots that are bleeding, oozing excessively, or have an odor, will likely require a trip to the vet. Your dog may need antibiotics in addition to anti-itch spray and an E-collar to prevent licking and scratching. Hot spots in addition to itchy ears require a veterinary visit as well since they indicate an ear infection.
Treating the hot spots themselves is only a short-term solution. To reduce and prevent hot spots, you need to identify and treat the underlying cause.
Preventing Hot Spots
Stopping hot spots before they start means getting to the root of the problem. You’ll also want to start doing some basic things that help make your dog’s skin less fragile. Skin condition is an important part of identifying the cause of hot spots.
If your dog frequently develops hot spots and ear infections, you may need to talk to your vet about allergy testing. Your dog may need to be treated for allergies during allergy season, or you may need to identify a food allergy and remove that allergen through an elimination diet.
Check your dog for flea infestations regularly. The itching from a flea bite allergy can be intense. Even if you see no signs of fleas, make sure you use a preventative to keep infestations from occurring. Check for ticks after coming in from walks, especially if you have been near tall grass or trees. In addition to itchy bites that can lead to itching, ticks can also transmit serious diseases.
Groom your Frenchie regularly. A clean coat and skin will help prevent itchy skin. When grooming, take care to clean your Frenchie’s folds. Dry your pup thoroughly after baths to prevent moisture from being trapped against the skin and causing irritation. Regular brushing helps keep your pup's skin healthy by helping to distribute the natural oils in their skin.
Be cautious not to bathe your dog too frequently. This can dry out their skin and lead to further skin problems. Use products with ingredients like colloidal oatmeal that don’t just soothe the itch but that also repair the skin’s acid barrier. We love Fido Fizzies Stop The Itch bath bombs to help alleviate itch. They’ve got colloidal oatmeal and soothing nuaouli essential oil! Or Fido Fizzies Bath Soak is another great option with its colloidal oatmeal, niaouli oil, and lavender oil for a totally luxurious, calming bath time experience!
If your dog licks out of boredom, start gently redirecting. Your Frenchie may not be getting the exercise he needs and is starting to show anxious behaviors because of it. Exercising more and providing your dog with mentally stimulating activities like puzzle toys can prevent behaviors like chronic licking.
Feed your dog a diet high in omega-3s. You can also add a fish oil supplement to your Frenchie’s food. Omega-3s play an important role in the health of your dog’s skin and coat. You can add things like the occasional egg, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, lightly cooked liver, cranberries, and carob to your Frenchie’s diet to help keep his skin healthy and supple.
Remember: There’s no need to fret over the occasional hot spot. Care and maintenance can reduce the frequency and severity of hot spots. If you find your Frenchie is suffering from hot spots even with these precautions in place, it’s time to head to the vet to get to the bottom of the problem.