Hot Spots on Dogs (Causes, Treatment, and Prevention)

Did you catch your pet dog scratching its body excessively?

Does he or she have a red and moist lesion in the place your dog was scratching?

Then it could be a hot spot!

Hot spots are bacterial infections that may or may not get serious. To be safe, it is important always to get the opinion of your vet if your pet dog gets one.

Let us see why dogs get hot spots and what you can do to prevent and treat it the right way.

What are Hot Spots?

Acute moist dermatitis, moist eczema, summer sores, and pyotraumatic dermatitis are some of the ways to refer what is commonly known as hot spots on dogs.

Hot spots are circular (mostly) lesions that are caused by scratching or licking of the dog. The reason for hot spots in dogs is mainly bacteria.

Bacteria are usually present in a dog’s skin. When there is itching, the dog scratches excessively, and this leads to skin inflammation. These bacteria seep into the skin and cause this condition/infection known as moist eczema.

This excessive scratching may be due to allergies, mites or fleas, or even due to poor grooming techniques.

Hot spots can appear in any part of the body but are mainly found in head, hip, chest, and also under the ear areas. They are usually characterized by inflamed skin that is red or moist or both.

Dogs with a thick coat are more vulnerable to this infection.

How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs?

Before you start treating for hot spots, make sure that it is a hot spot.

If you think your dog is scratching a lot, then it might be worth to take a look at that spot. If you see a circular lesion that might also be wet, then you should start treating it right away.

The main of objective of treating a hot spot is to reduce the bacterial infection so that it doesn’t get any worse.

1. The first step (also an important step) would be to trim the hair in the surrounding areas. This allows some air to reach the wound, and the moistness might dry out.

2. Prevent the dog from scratching, licking or biting the wound. This can be done by placing a plastic cone on your dog’s neck. This will not allow the dog to bite or lick the wound.

3. If the spot looks like it is in its beginning phase, clean the lesion with a mild water-based antiseptic. This will help in restricting the bacteria and prevents the infection from spreading.

If the infection looks bad, then you have to take your dog to the vet. Remember, hot spots can multiply up to 20 times in a matter of 24 hours. So take your dog immediately to the vet if you think the case is serious!

The vet will do the above steps and then he or she will want to find out the root cause of this issue. The vet will mostly opt for a blood test or a skin evaluation.

He may prescribe medications like antibiotics, or antihistamines to control itching for the time being. Other oral medications will also be prescribed if the infection is in a more advanced stage.

Preventing Hot Spots on Dogs

Preventing hot spots is an easy but regular process.

1. Grooming your dog regularly will solve half the problems. Give your dog regular baths, brush her hair and makes sure there isn’t any excessive scratching.

2. Fleas are a serious issue when it comes to hot spots. Take every measure possible and ensure that the flea problem is under control. When there are too many fleas, then scratching begins. This will slowly lead to inflamed skin, which is the first stage of your dog getting hot spots.

3. Boredom and stress are also reasons for a dog to scratch its body needlessly. Make sure you spend enough time with your dog and keep him busy. Let him play with other dogs as well. This will keep him both physically and mentally stimulated.

4. Hot spots are also known as summer sores meaning a dog has more chance to acquire this infection during summer. So make sure to clip your dog’s hair short. This will let air in and prevent moist from developing further.

Home Remedies for Hot Spots on Dogs

There are a number of home remedies for hot spots on dogs. You can do them with things you can easily find in your house.

1. Tea Bags

You use either green or black tea bags as a home remedy for hot spots in dogs.

The tannic acid present in tea can dry out and relieve the sore quickly.

Dip the tea bags in hot water, remove it and then allow it to cool. Now keep this wet tea bag on the hot spots for 3 – 5 minutes. Do this remedy three to a maximum of six times a day. The result will surprise you.

2. Salt Water Solution

Take a small or a mid-sized bowl of warm water. Mix a spoonful of salt in it and soak a cloth in it for a few minutes. Now take the wet cloth and place it on the hot spots.

This technique is helpful in sucking out puss and also reduces the swelling.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for its vitamin nutrients and also for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

You can take a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water and apply it on the hot spots. You can also use a spray bottle that is more efficient in terms of spread.

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it can fight the bacteria and stop the infection from spreading further. You can also use a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the bath if your dog is consistently having hot spots or allergies.

4. Benadryl

Veterinarians often recommend Benadryl for dogs as a medication for itching.

Benadryl can be classified as an antihistamine drug. Histamine production in the body can lead to itching which is the first step of getting a lesion. That can later turn into a hot spot.

Benadryl shouldn’t be given to dogs that are known to have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular or lung disease.

In any case, it costs you absolutely nothing to confirm with your vet. If he gives a go ahead, then administer Benadryl in the recommended quantity.

So, that wraps up this post. Have you experienced this in your pet dog? How did the treatment go? Did you try any one of the methods mentioned above? Share your story with us in the comment section below.