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- To treat your dog’s hot spots, experts recommend cleaning it with a mild antibacterial shampoo. Antiseptic sprays are also recommended, but make sure to chooses one that’s nontoxic.
- Hotspots are a result of bacterial infection from inflamed skin lesions caused by allergies, fleas, mites/skin parasites, insect bites, injuries, poor grooming, or anal gland disease.
- Giving your dog a healthy and balanced diet is a great way to prevent hot spots. Omega- fatty acids can help keep their skin healthy and free of inflammation.
If you see a swollen patch of skin without hair on your dog, it is most likely a hotspot. Often warm and painful, a dog’s hot spot may also leak pus and give off a foul odor. Generally, the vet will prescribe antiseptic sprays and antibacterial shampoo as a way to treat your dog’s hot spots.
With their appearance and how it generally affects your dog’s health, hot spots are not something to be taken lightly. Read my guide below to get insights on the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of hot spots in dogs.
What are Hot Spots in Dogs?
Pyotraumatic dermatitis, more commonly known as “hot spots,” moist dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis, is characterized by painful, circular red sores on a dog’s body.
When the dog licks and chews the affected area, these circular patches can enlarge quickly. This is particularly a problem for ear infections, since dogs’ ears are very sensitive. Unfortunately, these lesions are often made worse by dogs’ frequent licking, chewing, and scratching, behavior many people associate with the condition. In fact, by dissecting the actual words Pyotraumatic dermatitis, as Vetmedicine.about.com does, we can easily get a clearer understanding of hot spots. “Broken down, ‘pyo-’ refers to pus, ‘-traumatic’ refers to self-inflicted trauma of biting, licking, scratching, and so on, and ‘dermatitus’ means inflammation of the skin.”
What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?
Several ailments can cause hot spots to appear on a dog’s skin, but they typically begin with a break in the skin. Such abrasions are often the result of something like allergies, fleas, mites/skin parasites, insect bites, injuries, poor grooming, or anal gland disease.
Furthermore, research suggests that stress-related psychological problems and even boredom can cause dogs to itch and scratch their skin surface. When bacteria goes in through these skin openings and invade it, hot spots develop.
Where Are Hot Spots on Dogs Found?
Such spots can appear anywhere on a dog’s body. But typically show up on the head, the hips, and along the chest. Adding to that, experts suggest that large breeds with heavy, hairy ears, such as Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers, are susceptible to developing hot spots under their ear flaps—these are also dogs that often have ear infections. Additionally, dogs with heavy coats are especially at risk. Experts warn that hot spots are likely to start developing when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin—the skin under a matted fur for example. Because of this, hot spots are common in warmer months and are rarer in the colder seasons. They are also equally likely to turn up on inside dogs or outdoor dogs.
Symptoms of Hot Spots on Your Dog and What to Do About Them
The most common symptoms of a hot spot on a dog include:
- Pus discharge
- Bad odor
If you notice any of these dog hot spots symptoms on your pet, it is important to take action right away.
How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs?
The good news is that hot spots are treatable. Because these lesions are so painful and can spread into a deeper infection, however, involving your veterinarian is a must. Even though hair loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of hot spots, the vet will likely begin treatment by clipping away the hair surrounding the infection, allowing for easier access and better airflow. Once that’s done, the sore can be cleaned with a gentle cleanser. The doctor will then likely apply a medicated powder or cream. If your dog sensitive to pain or aggressive, your veterinarian may decide to anesthetize him before beginning the treatment.
What does Vet Medicine say about Hotspots?
Hot spot treatment: Treatment from that point on depends on the size and severity of the spot. Vets typically prescribe antibiotics, antiseptic sprays, or antibacterial shampoos.
In conjunction with the medication, your dog will also likely come home wearing an Elizabethan collar, which will prevent him chewing or licking the spot and causing further trauma. The medication and collar can work together in keeping the wound free of bacteria so it can start the healing process.
Treating hot spots: If you notice your dog has a hot spot, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. Apply a cold compress to the affected area for about 15 minutes several times a day. This will help reduce inflammation and swelling.
Dog Food and Hot Spots
A healthy diet is another great way to prevent future hot spots on dogs. Feeding your dog a diet that is high in Omega- fatty acids. It can help keep their skin healthy and free of inflammation. Some good sources of Omega- fatty acids include fish oil supplements, salmon, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.
Hot Spots from Food Allergies
Food allergies can also cause hot spots. If your dog is constantly scratching or licking at a certain area, it might be due to a food allergy. Try switching your pup’s food to see if that solves the problem.
Hot spots, while often benign and self-limiting, can occasionally be a sign of a more serious underlying skin infections or condition. If your dog has a hot spot that does not improve within a few days of home treatment. It is important to take him to the veterinarian for an evaluation. A bacterial infection may be responsible for the hot spot, or it may be a sign that something else is going on.
What Dog Parents Should Know?
Depending on the underlying cause, other conditions, such as flea infestation or allergies, may also need a veterinarian’s care or a pet parent’s attention to treat a hot spot early. Because some dogs experience repeated trouble with hot spots, pet parents can reduce the risk of infections returning by keeping dogs clipped during the summer, giving frequent medicated baths, and, depending on the hot spot location, keeping the ears clean and expressing the anal glands. A good flea program is also in order.