Caring for your dog is much more than just feeding them high-quality food. Consider giving them adequate exercise through playtime and taking them to the vet for regular checkups.
Looking after a dog in pain can be quite a task, especially when it is your first pet. Hot spots are a common condition that many dogs encounter. It is common in the summer but can occur at any time of the year.
Hot spots can be very irritating and painful for dogs. It can appear out of nowhere and spread rapidly on your dog’s skin.
What is the best thing to put on a dog’s hot spot? What causes hot spots, and how do they look? Here is a complete guide on dog hot spots so you know what to do the next time your dog gets this painful sore.
A hot spot is a common skin condition that is seen in dogs. It is more often seen in the summer but can come at any time of the year. It is a painful oozing sore that can suddenly appear on your dog’s skin and spread rapidly.
Hot spots are also known as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis. They are isolated areas of bacterial infection and skin inflammation.
Many owners mistake hot spots for insect bites. Both look similar as it is usually a small red area that is visible.
The difference is that hot spots rapidly worsen and spread, unlike insect bites. They soon develop into hot, red, and painful lesions.
Hot spots in dogs look like large wet scabs that ooze. They look raw and inflamed and may contain pus and sometimes bleed.
These smelly, painful sores can sometimes be hidden beneath your dog’s fur. So, you need to observe your dog’s skin closely to notice any changes.
Hot spots can appear anywhere on your dog’s skin. However, the most common sites where hot spots occur are the legs, head, and hips.
Hot spots vary, so some may be small and others large. They may also bleed intermittently.
They differ in appearance from skin conditions like ringworm and other parasitic infections due to the skiing being inflamed and moist.
Parasitic infections are associated with hair loss and are typically drier in appearance than hot spots.
Hot spots are generally caused when a dog scratches an itchy spot and creates an open wound. It could even be caused by excessive licking and moisture in that area.
Your dog may want to scratch there vigorously due to an underlying condition that makes it do so. Itching could also be followed by biting, which can dramatically increase the size of the hot spot in a short time.
Here are the common conditions that can cause hot spots in dogs:
Symptoms of hot spots may include swelling, redness, and hair loss. Hot spots are moist and may discharge fluids like pus, eventually drying and creating crusting and matting of hair.
Although your dog may initially have hot spots only on one area, like the head or legs, they can quickly spread to other parts of the body due to the bacteria that builds up in the area.
Hot spots are very painful for dogs. Many of the symptoms that indicate hot spots overlap with other skin conditions. So, it’s important to consult your vet and find out what exactly is causing inflammation and pain.
The objective of treating a hot spot is to stop the trauma that paves the way for developing deep skin infections. So, you must start treating hot spots to stop self-mutilation.
Here are a few ways in which you can stop your dog from scratching, licking, and biting the infected area:
It takes a combination of the above to stop the trauma, which is usually the underlying cause of hot spots.
Treating the hot spot also involves identifying the cause. Once the cause is identified, there are several steps that you can take based on it.
The hot spot will heal faster if you clip the hair away from the hot spot and surrounding area. When the hair in this area is removed, it lets the lesion dry properly.
The best way to prevent hot spots is to identify what is causing your dog to itch. Following the below points will keep your dog from scratching vigorously and prevent trauma to its skin.
If your dog bathes or swims often, you must ensure that its coats are thoroughly dried afterwards.
Engage in playtime activities and exercises with your dog so that it keeps itself occupied. Puzzle toys and slow-feed bowls are ideal for mentally stimulating your dog while you are not there to play with it.
Fatty acids prevent and manage skin diseases that can lead to vigorous itching, followed by hot spots.
Fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties and promote a healthy skin barrier. Therefore, your dog will be less susceptible to infections and allergens.
Topical application of aloe vera can also help soothe damaged skin and reduce itching. However, ensure your dog doesn’t ingest aloe vera, which could result in diarrhea and vomiting.
Here are some home remedies to try if your dog has hot spots.
Dogs are more prone to getting hot spots if they have allergies or parasites such as fleas, a double coat or long or frequent skin or ear infections.
Dogs who enjoy being in water can also develop hot spots because the damp environment provides ideal conditions for bacteria to grow.
Hot spots can occur in dogs at any age. However, some breeds are at a higher risk of getting hot spots because of their thick coat. These breeds are:
The worst part is that hot spots won’t go away. It is mainly because dogs find it hard to leave their irritated skin alone.
It is better to prevent a hot spot than to treat it. So, it is best to keep hot spots away by grooming your dog regularly and keeping them in check on flea medication and treatment.
If your dog loves to bathe or go swimming, ensure you dry them completely as soon as they leave the water. It is especially important if your dog has a double coat or long hair.
The most common cause of hot spots on dogs is bacterial growth. It is not contagious to humans or other pets.
However, if the cause of the hot spot is identified to be parasitic or fungal, then it could spread to other dogs and humans.
If it is the case, take your dog to the vet immediately so he can take a sample and run a culture to rule out the cause.
The bad news is that dogs typically get hot spots and are prone to get them again. Therefore, it is even more important to follow proper grooming procedures and bathe and completely dry your dog to reduce the risk of hot spots recurring on your dog.
If your dog experiences chronic hot spots, it is best to speak to your vet about it. The vet will test your dog for hypothyroidism, food and skin allergies, and joint problems to find a solution.
You can use methods like letting your dog wear an Elizabethan collar or wrapping a bandage around the affected area to treat a hot spot.
Your vet can rule out the cause and recommend specific medication to treat the hot spots. As with any health concern, prevention is better than cure. So ensure to keep your dog clean and well-groomed to prevent hot spots from occurring.
You can clean the affected area with a gentle antiseptic solution. You can also use topical or oral antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to treat the infection.
Hot spots won’t go away on their own because dogs won’t keep their irritated skin alone. Groom your dog regularly and keep it up to date on flea medication to prevent hot spots from occurring.
Hot spots can take anywhere between seven and ten days to heal.
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