Hot Spot Natural Cure for Dogs & Cats

dog

And other furbabies too, for that matter!

So, what is a hot spot, you may ask?  Also known as moist eczema, they are a somewhat common skin problem in pets.  They can be caused from a flea bite, an itchy spot, a small cut or scratch, you name it.  It is an area on the pet’s skin that is irritated, causing them to lick and bite at it, further irritating the area.  Often the area will be bright pink or red and hot to the touch, thus the name.

Desi recently came down with a hot spot on one of his rear feet.  It was red, hot, and angry looking.  He had been nibbling away at it and even chewed away a good amount of fur, making it look even worse.  Now, if you have never had any experience with a hot spot, or if your pet has an injury that you have never seen before, obviously you should take them straight to the vet.  This post is just some helpful advice for those of us who are familiar with hot spots and are looking for an effective at home treatment.  I will tell you, I am a registered veterinary technician, and I have had a good amount of experience with these babies.  If I weren’t certain of what it was, I would have him checked by our vet immediately.  The hot spot can quickly get worse and even get infected.  If the cause is a flea bite, you will also need to treat the flea problem, or you aren’t really helping the issue.

Desi’s spot was from a small cut on one of his toes, probably from running around in our backyard and playing with Lucy.  After thoroughly cleaning the area, I made up a mixture of 1/3 Listerine, 1/3 baby oil, and 1/3 water.  I just used a small spray pump bottle, like the ones you find in the travel section of any big box store.  Shake it up, and spray on the affected area, rubbing it in and getting all the nooks and crannies all nice and coated.

I repeated this step several times a day for the first day, and by day two, I saw a huge improvement!  I continued applying a few times a day for about three days total, and now his foot looks good as new!  Well, the hair is still short and growing back, but you know what I mean!  🙂

So why does it work?  The Listerine prevents infection and has anti fungal properties, and the water dilutes it so that the high alcohol content does not burn the inflamed area.  The baby oil seems to help the Listerine really stick to the spot, and crazily enough, does not make an oily mess at all!

This is definitely a good trick to know, especially since often times these little hot spots like to pop up on weekends when the vet is not open.  Give it a try!

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Natural Lice Prevention & Treatment

"Don't Let Lice Make a Monkey out of You^...

It is a subject that parents avoid at all costs.  No one wants to even think about the sheer possibility of their children getting head lice, much less talk about it with other people.  Plus, bugs are icky!  Especially bugs that live and breed on your scalp.

Feeling itchy yet?

I will bravely admit that we have had head lice in our house.  Twice.  Matthew, Isabella and Noah have all had it.  Bella had it twice.  It is a myth that lice like dirty, unclean hair.  Quite the opposite.  They like nice, clean hair to lay their eggs on and chill out in.  That’s not very comforting, is it?

Signs of lice on your child would be a suddenly very itchy head, and small, red little bumps on the nape of their neck and/or behind their ears.

The first time the kids got lice, we went with the heavy duty chemicals.  You know, those crazy overpriced cans of poison that you are supposed to let sit on your child’s scalp as it supposedly fries the bugs and their eggs?  The crazy thing was, even with they heavy duty poison, the bugs were still happily crawling around the head.  It was the actual individual hand removal of each bug and egg that finally ended the lice reign.

The second time the kids were infected, it was just Bella and Noah.  I say “just”, but the second time was equally as horrifying to me.

I decided to look online for less toxic ways to rid the growing bug populations on my kids cabezas.  There are tons of home remedies, anything from smothering the head with mayonaise, hair color, or even blow drying the critters to death.  I decided not to color my kids hair or scald their heads with the blow dryer, and the mayo, well, that just sounded disgusting to me.

I read that you could use Listerine.  Yes, the mouth wash.  As I researched more about this method, I learned a nifty hint about using the Listerine.  If your kids have light hair, do not use blue or green Listerine!  It will dye their hair!  I went with the yellow, stinky, original Listerine for my blonde babies.

The treatment consisted of soaking the hair and scalp with the Listerine for about 30 minutes.  Then rinse and begin the nit picking.  That’s where you have to literally go through your child’s head of hair, one strand at a time, inspecting for the bugs or the eggs.  It is time consuming, but necessary.  We had a nit comb from the previous infestation, but a flea comb would also work well.

You know what I noticed with the Listerine?  The lice stopped moving right away, where as with the “poison” treatments, they were still happliy frolicking around even after the thirty minutes had passed.  We found no live bugs.

You can use the Listerine as a preventive spray as well, but I’ll tell you, it stinks.  Like, p-u.  And every time the hair gets wet again, the smell is freshened, for quite awhile.  It fades, once it’s dry, but I don’t dig that funky smell.

What I like to use for a preventive spray is a few drops of lavender oil in a small spray bottle filled with water.  Before the kids head out the door to school in the morning, they get their heads and necks sprayed with the lavender oil mixture.  It smells nice, and so far, knock wood, there have been no recurrences.  Another thing that is supposed to prevent lice is coconut scented shampoo/conditioner.  The scent is not so yummy to the creepy crawlies, and they tend to move on to a differently scented head.

Lice are gross.  If you have kids, they will probably get it at least once in their lives.  As totally grody as that is, it is pretty easily treatable.  And you do not have to use that crazy, expensive poison.  The heebie jeebies last longer than the outbreak.  Seriously, is your head as itchy as mine is right now?

Stop coughing, Honey!

Honey bee

I like using natural remedies for the kids, and myself, whenever possible.  Sure, there are a million drugs out there for whatever ails ya, but I really try to do whatever I can naturally before resorting to the medicine cabinet.

One trick that seems to magically work really well for coughs, even better than the over the counter stuff, is honey.  Just regular old honey, nothing special.   My kids are pretty dramatic as it is, and often cough to the point of gagging, so anything to help calm the cough is welcomed.

I believe the technical dose is 1 teaspoon, but I just call the kid over, tell them to open wide and squirt some in.  It’s sweet, and they love it, so I have no complaints like I would if I were trying to give them actual medicine.

One very important thing to remember, do not give honey to babies under the age of one ever!  They are at high risk for infant botulism, which is a rare but very serious form of food poisoning.  Also, not all coughs are bad.  If the child has a wet, productive cough, you know the kind where you can hear the nasty goobers they are coughing up, it is better to let them cough it all out.  Cough suppressants, which honey has proven to be, should only be used for the dry, non productive cough.  The kind that keeps the poor kid up at night or has him miserably coughing (and gagging in some cases) all day persistently.

I can’t ever seem to make myself try the honey trick for coughs on myself.  Something about a mouthful of bee vomit just does not sound yummy to me.  Crazy, right?