The Dog with Painful, Itchy Skin! Understanding Hot Spots on Dogs

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The Dog with Painful, Itchy Skin! Understanding Hot Spots on DogsHot spots on dogs are itchy, they are painful, and they can be severe if left untreated.

For those dogs who suffer from hot spots, they may itch to the point of bleeding and be miserable.

As a human, imagine having an itch that never seems to go away…this is the exact type of issue that dogs are dealing with who are suffering from hot spots. The good news is, as a dog owner you can make a difference and help your dog!

What Are Hot Spots on Dogs?

Close-up of dog legs that have canine hot spots

Hot spots are categorized as a form of moist dermatitis. The skin is often red, inflamed and irritated.

At first, these start off with some type of initial irritation, such as a flea bite or even have allergies. However, as it progresses this becomes a bacterial infection that can double in size within hours.

The dog may then suffer from hair loss at that area, the hot spot may ooze and scab over.

Itchy, Painful Skin: Symptoms of Hot Spots on Dogs

Just what type of symptoms are dogs going to have when they are suffering from hot spots? There can be several, which include:

  • Red, irritated skin lesions
  • The area may be hot, so much so that a person feels the heat coming from the dog’s skin
  • The area is itchy, and you will notice that the dog is going to itch this consistently
  • Dogs will be chewing at this site as well, due to the itchy feeling that they are having
  • The area of the skin infected may be swollen
  • There will be crusted over scabs that are often yellow in color due to the presence of a bacterial infection of the wound
  • The fur is going to be moist and matted in the area
  • The hair may be falling out in these areas as well
  • There is also a foul odor that can be smelled from the skin
  • The dog may even show signs of being aggressive when you try to touch the area. This is not aggressive towards you, but the pain associated with these hot spots as they are super sore.

Allergies, Flea Bites and Much More! What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

The causes of hot spots are numerous, thus for any dog owner figuring out the cause of these hot spots is one of the first things that you need to do! Some of the causes of hot spots include:

  • Flea allergies and bites
  • Cuts or abrasions not associated with insects
  • Having infections such as an ear infection, often the source of hot spots behind the ears, or even anal gland infections
  • Having a foreign object in the skin such as a thorn or splinter
  • Allergies to the foods that the dog is being fed
  • Fur that is matted, holding moisture next to the skin, often referred to as demodectic mange
  • Insect bits
  • Having a dog that is biting, licking or itching due to stress or boredom

Can It Be Cured? How to Cure Hot Spots on Dogs 

The good news is that hot spots can be cured! Here are the many ways in which veterinarians recommend that you utilize to help cure these hot spots:

  • Be sure that the area is clean! This is something that may require the expertise of the veterinarian, as they may have to sedate the dog to thoroughly clean the area, or even remove the foreign object that may be causing these hot spots to occur.
  • Utilizing oral or topical antibiotics is a course of treatment.
  • Treating the dog for the irritation on the skin is also something that must be done. This may entail giving the dog flea medication, allergy medication and including regular grooming on your lists of things to do for your dog.
  • Medications for pain and inflammation is an option for dogs as well.
  • Many veterinarians are recommended the use of essential fatty acids to help with dogs who have these hot spots repeatedly.
  • Utilizing an Elizabethan collar or the “cone of shame” on the dog can deter biting and licking of those hot spots present

Talk to Your Vet! How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

The above recommendations are going to be based on what the vet is seeing when they see the dog. In many cases, other courses of treatment may need to be used. For example:

  • For dogs who are doing this to anal gland issues, then these may need to be secreted more often
  • The diet may have to change to a food that is manufactured for dogs with allergies
  • Attention may need to be paid to dogs that have anxiety or stress to help lessen these feelings and stop the licking, biting or scratching that may be happening.

The veterinarian may use a combination of different methods to help treat dogs who are suffering from hot spots.

Hot Spots on Dogs Tail

The tail is one area that dogs tend to get hot spots.

This is an area that can easily be bitten or licked constantly…especially for a dog that is suffering from stress or other issues that are making him or her bite or lick. Treating these types of hot spots require the same process as any other location!

Hot Spots on Dogs Neck

Hot spots on the dog’s neck can be irritated even more with a collar or if you try to get your dog to wear a cone of shame.

Therefore, utilizing more natural methods or even antibiotics from the veterinarian may be the only way to treat this area that is highly susceptible to more damage to the location. This is often associated with ear infections in the dog due to the location.

Hot Spots on Dogs Paw

The dog’s paw is a great area for getting hot spots due to the fact that is can easily become punctured from being outside.

When this happens, you need to address the hot spot as soon as possible. This may require coning the dog or even wrapping the paw.

Talk with your vet to see what else you can do for a sore location such as this one!

Keeping It Natural! Natural Remedies for Hot Spots on Dogs

Scrambled coconut in coconut shell, aloe vera, and honey in a glass which are natural remedies for hot spots on dog

There are natural remedies that can be used on dogs who are suffering from hot spots. These natural remedies include:

  • Apple cider vinegar can be a great way to cleanse the skin of irritants. However, remember that when placed on an open sore, this can burn!
  • Coconut oil can be a great way to condition the skin, which can help to heal the hot spots.
  • Witch hazel is a great way to help with infections and keep the skin clean. Place this onto the problem areas, as it does not burn open sores.
  • Aloe Vera can be a great way to moisturize the skin and help to heal scabs faster.
  • Tea tree oil provides a soothing, mint-infused feel to the skin and can be great for itching!
  • You can also place tea bags onto a dog’s skin to help draw out the heat that is often causing more itching and biting.

What Can I Put on My Dogs Hot Spots?

Any of the above home remedies can be a great item to place on the skin of dogs.

You can also use an anti-itch spray to help stop the dog from scratching. Many people find that using a combination of these methods is the best way to treat the hot spots at home at first appearance to help keep these from getting worse!

Covering All Areas: Healing Hot Spots on Dogs

For those who are dealing with a dog who has hot spots, here is what you need to remember when it comes to dealing with these!

  • Clean the spot
  • Keep it free of foreign objects and debris
  • Opt for a natural way of treating this at home
  • If time doesn’t help, then a trip to the vet may be warranted. From there, a new regimen of care will be given!

Do’s and Don’ts of Hot Spots on Dogs

What should you do if your dog is suffering hot spots? Be sure to:

  • Keep the skin free of parasite
  • Keep the dog groomed
  • Treating the underlying issues of the hot spots such as flea infestation or allergies
  • Treat hot spots immediately to ensure that they do not become severe

What should you not do?

  • Do not apply any type of treatment to an area that has not been cleaned
  • Do not cut the hair over a new hot spot with scissors, as this can cut the skin and make the hot spot worse!

Be Prepared! How to Prevent Hot Spots on Dogs

Preventing hot spots on dogs is not going to be easy. And remember, that even despite your best of intentions, your dog may still suffer from these from time to time. To prevent hot spots, consider:

  • Regular grooming to watch for problem areas before they become main issues
  • Bathe in a shampoo that is going to be hypoallergenic
  • Monitor what your dog is eating
  • Be sure to use flea prevention
  • Consider a regular allergy medication to help keep these allergies in their place
  • Keep the nails of the dog trimmed so they don’t do as much damage to their skin

Protect your Pooch from Hot Spots

Remember that certain breeds are more prone to hot spots due to how their hair is. Those dogs with thick coats or long hair are more prone to these hot spots, such as Golden Retrievers. This is why regular grooming is a must!

And be sure to knock these hot spots out once you start to see these appear.

The sooner you act, the better your dog will be!

Common Questions on Hot Spots on Dogs

What is one of the worst things to do when treating a hot spot on my dog?

Does washing the hot spot in the bath clean the area enough?

If I my dog can’t wear the “cone of shame” because he has hot spots on his neck. How do I treat it?

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