Keeping your dog healthy and full of life requires you to always be on the lookout for symptoms of different health issues. This way, you can take immediate action and help your fluffy friend stay healthy and live longer.
One of the common health issues dogs can experience are hot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis. But what causes hot spots on dogs and how can you treat them safely?
What are hot spots on dogs?
Hot spots are localized bacterial infections and skin inflammation that starts small and often resembles a bug bite but can worsen and spread into lesions. They are red, moist, irritated skin patches common in the head, neck, hips, and limbs. Hot spots on dogs are characterized by a matting of fur, scabbing, hair loss, and oozing.
As a result of bacterial infection, the skin becomes irritated and the dog starts itching, licking, and scratching. This causes red, moist, oozing sores. Dogs suffer more from hot spots during the summer when the temperatures and humidity are high, with the condition more prevalent among long-haired dog breeds.
What causes hot spots on dogs
The main causes of hot spots on dogs include flea bites, food allergies, parasites, contact irritants, atopic dermatitis, matted fur, skin infections, and cuts & abrasions among others. Hot spots can also develop as a result of excessive licking that irritates and breaks the skin.
Symptoms of hot spots on dogs
The most common symptoms of hot spots on dogs include one or more of the following:
- Itchy, painful patch of skin
- Crushed scabs or oozing sores
- Dry scaly skin and hair loss
- Moist, matted fur
- Continual licking or scratching of a skin site
- Inflammation, redness, and swelling in a localized patch of skin
- Abnormal aggression from skin contact (due to pain)
Are hot spots on dogs contagious?
Hot spots on dogs are not contagious and are caused by the things highlighted above. If your dog is suffering from hot spots, it cannot pass on the condition to other dogs or even humans. Other dogs can develop hot spots not because one dog is sick but it could be from food allergies, flea bites, parasites, or other causes.
How to prevent hot spots on dogs
Hot spots are a skin condition so keeping your dog’s skin healthy and dry is one of the most important things to do. Ensure your dog gets the necessary flea treatments, manage its food allergies right, and make sure it dries off fast after swimming or bathing.
You should also groom your dog regularly, including clipping long coats. Trimming your dog’s fur will prevent moisture from getting trapped close to the skin which can create a breeding ground for bacteria. To help prevent your dog from getting bored and scratching itself, keep them occupied with interactive dog toys or by exercising with them.
While it’s almost impossible to keep hot spots at bay at all times, observing the basic hygienes and keeping them engaged and occupied helps a great deal.
How to treat hot spots on dogs
If after a visit to a veterinarian you find out that your dog has hot spots, identifying the most effective ways to treat your pup is important. Your vet will recommend the most effective and safest hot spot treatments for dogs. Among them include:
- Trimming the fur around the lesion: You should clip the fur around the hot spot to keep the area dry and fasten healing.
- Cleaning the infected area with a mild antiseptic: The vet will recommend the ideal topical antiseptic to clean the affected areas.
- Use oral/topical antibiotics: There are several antibiotics your vet can recommend to your dog.
- Daily cleaning with medicated wipes: You should clean the affected areas every day with medicated wipes.
- Using topical/oral steroids for the inflammation: They help reduce the inflammation and eliminate skin itching.
- Using cones to prevent further irritation: Your dog should wear a cone that helps reduce irritation and scratching.
Recap: Hot Spots on Dogs
Hot spots on dogs are common skin ailments almost every dog will suffer from at least once in their lifetime. Luckily, they are not contagious or life-threatening. The key to keeping this skin condition at bay is maintaining good hygiene and keeping your dog busy to prevent boredom.