If you have never seen one, you might think it’s a wound. Hot spots are a skin inflammation or an infection marked by redness, hair loss, or sometimes pus, oozing or unusual odor. They can pop up anywhere on the body and affect any dog. Dogs make the condition worse by licking or chewing at it and sometimes a mild hot spot can turn into a full blow infection overnight.
How to care and prevent hot spots
What is a hot spot?
Hot spots form when moisture and dead fur are trapped next to the skin. They are particularly common in breeds with heavy or thick coats and are more prevalent during the summer months when it’s hot. Other causes include skin parasites, allergies, licking or chewing out of boredom or stress, and injury to the skin.
Hot spots are not innocuous. Most owners know that licking can cause irritation. But they are usually surprised when they find something that looks like an open sore or wound on their dog. A quick search on Google images, and you’ll see just how bad they can get.
Treating Hot Spots at Home
The first step to preventing a mild hot spot from getting infected is to keep your dog from licking the area. While you can try socks, t-shirts and donut collars, the most effective method is having your dog wear a cone. Then you want to brush out your dog’s coat and wash your dog with an anti-itch or oatmeal shampoo. To help soothe the area, you can use over the counter remedies like hot spot sprays or antiseptics such as Vetercyn Plus Hot Spot Spray.
Seeking Veterinarian Care
If you notice the area becoming redder and more swollen accompanied by pus, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Hot spots can turn into nasty infections if left untreated. Treatment options involve shaving the dog’s fur around to the wound and a regiment of prescription strength antibacterial creams or sprays, steroids, and sometimes oral antibiotics.
Originally published on September 8, 2014. Updated on July 30, 2019.