What Are Hot Spots on Dogs and How Do You Treat Them?

Hot spots are a common problem from which many dogs suffer, and some breeds are more prone to this than others. Although they are common, many dog owners do not know what has caused them or what they can do to help their pet. Some may not even know what these sore spots are if they have not seen them before. Here is an overview of what they are, the causes of hot spots, how to prevent them, and some of the possible treatments for this condition.

What Are Hot Spots and What Are the Causes?

Hot spots are a form of acute moist dermatitis. They cause intense burning and itching that distresses the dog. It irritates them so much that they will scratch and chew on the affected area as they attempt to relieve the burning and itching. Some breeds are more prone to hot spots than others, and these include Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Collies. In adult dogs, hot spots are also more common in males than in females. One of the most common causes of a hot spot is a bite from a tick, flea, or mosquito. Other potential causes include skin sensitivities, lacerations, dampness, matted fur, food allergies, and seasonal allergies.

How Can Hot Spots Worsen?

Although a hot spot is irritating and uncomfortable for a dog, it will not do them any long-term harm. The thing that does the most damage is how the dog deals with the irritation of the hot spot. If you have not treated the hot spot, many dogs will gnaw, bite, and scratch the affected areas. This leads to open wounds in the skin that can become infected by bacteria.

Preventing Hot Spots

To understand how to prevent hot spots, you must have a clear idea of what causes your dog to suffer from them in the first instance. If it is a reaction to bites, then make sure your dog is protected from ticks and fleas by using preventative treatments. For dogs with allergies to food, avoid giving your dog these foods. If the problem is seasonal allergies, begin treating your dog with any anti-allergy medication you have been prescribed for your pet before the season begins and avoid areas that trigger their allergies. This is usually an antihistamine that your vet will prescribe if they believe that seasonal allergies are the root of your dog’s problem.

Treatment for Hot Spots

When a dog develops a hot spot, you need to treat it as quickly as possible so that your dog doesn’t have the chance to aggravate the situation by scratching and biting. Quick treatment can also stop the hot spot from spreading, as this is something that can happen rapidly if no treatment is given. There are four main ways to treat hot spots.

  • The first of these is to completely clean the area surrounding the hot spot and to shave the area. This will reduce the risk of the hot spot becoming infected.
  • Second, your dog will need anti-inflammatory pain relief to help your dog cope with the intense pain and irritation from the hot spot. You will need to visit your vet for them to prescribe the medication This could be oral medication, injectable drugs, or topical medications.
  • Next, most dogs will need antibiotics as most will develop a secondary bacterial infection. Treatment with antibiotics will usually last for one or two weeks, but severe or recurring hot spots may need extended treatment. Your veterinarian will advise you on how long your dog needs to take the antibiotics.
  • Finally, you can buy specialist shampoos that help to prevent and treat hot spots. If your dog is prone to hot spots, it makes sense to buy one of these products. They will often contain antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce the likelihood of hot spots developing and soothe any existing hot spots.

Hot spots are an uncomfortable skin condition from which many dogs suffer. However, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of your dog developing hot spots. If they do develop a hot spot, there are several ways in which you can treat the condition to help your dog return to its healthy and happy self.


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