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What can I do about my dog’s hot spots?

Posted in Hot Spots on Jan 15, 2010

If your dog has ever had a hot spot, you’ll be familiar with how quickly they develop. You leave for work in the morning and your dog has a small patch of inflamed skin, and when you come home, he has a palm sized area of skin that is raw, oozing and extremely painful.

 

If it is large enough, a hot spot can also make your dog feel generally unwell and lethargic.

 

These acute skin infections are more common in dogs with heavy coats.

 

How Hot Spots Happen

 

Hot spots are also known as moist eczema or summer sores, and are basically a severe bacterial infection. The bacterial infection is secondary to an underlying skin problem, such as allergies, fleas or even heat and humidity. Some dogs have behavioral problems that cause excessive licking and grooming, and this too can allow an infection to develop. The skin becomes irritated, your dog scratches, and the bacteria that normally live on the skin multiply. The result is a hot spot.

 

Once your dog has started scratching, it becomes a vicious cycle and even if you control the underlying problem, the infection itself continues to itch. Hot spots don’t usually resolve by themselves.

 

These skin infections really hurt, and it’s important that you have them checked by your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

 

Treating Your Dog’s Hot Spot

 

Hot spots must be treated aggressively to stop them spreading any further.

 

1. The hair must be clipped away from the hot spot, to allow easier cleaning. In some cases, the hot spot is so painful that this can only be done with a general anesthetic.

 

2. The hot spot is washed in a gentle water based antiseptic such as iodine to start to kill the bacteria.

 

3. Your vet will prescribe antibiotic tablets to clear up the bacterial infection. She will also give your dog corticosteroids to reduce the pain and inflammation, so your dog feels better quicker. In most cases, an ointment isn’t used to treat a hot spot. It can be wiped off as your dog rolls or rubs on the carpet, or your dog may lick it off. Regular application of Itchin’ for Relief will reduce inflammation, stop itching and ease the discomfort. It contains no alcohol so it won’t sting on application.

 

4. Your dog may need to wear an Elizabethan Collar for a little while, just to stop him scratching at his hot spot, so it has a chance to heal. You can take it off to allow him to eat, but only remove it when you’re there to supervise him. He can very quickly undo all your good work and make his hot spot worse again. Instead of the standard collar, check out a Comfy Cone. Serves the same purpose but is much more comfy!

 

5. When the hot spot has resolved, it’s important to try and find the the underlying reason for the infection. This will give your dog the best chance of avoiding another painful skin infection.

 

Preventing A Recurrence

 

If your dog has had a hot spot, chances are he will develop another one in the future. Make sure he is flea free, and treat any allergies that will predispose to irritation and infection.

 

 If your dog is itchy, regular use of Comfy Dog shampoo will help. It contains oatmeal, which is known to soothe irritated skin. As soon as you notice any areas of inflammation or reddening on his skin, spray the area with Itchin’ for Relief frequently, and hopefully you will nip the hot spot in the bud.

 

Hot spots are a nuisance. Fortunately, with the right products, you can help prevent them from developing, and treat them quickly and effectively if they do occur. To read more about healing your dog’s hot spots, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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