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Hot Spots on Dogs

Hot Spots on Dogs

Hot spots on canines are reddish sores that appear on the skin and are usually caused due to some kind of allergy. As it is important to treat these spots as soon as possible, all dog owners should know about their causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Deepa Kartha
Hot spots can be defined as an inflammation or infection of the skin which is also called moist dermatitis and acute moist dermatitis. There are two types of red spots, those that are superficial and those that are deep. The problem with these is that they are so small initially that a person may not be able to recognize them with their naked eye. Hence, when these small spots go unattended, they become large in size within a matter of a few hours. Though they can occur in all breeds of dogs, they are mostly seen in those breeds that have long hair and thick coats.

These spots can be triggered due to various reasons. However, what actually causes them to become visible is the dog's constant licking and scratching on that area of the skin. One of the most common causes is insect or flea bites, due to which the dog has an urge to scratch and lick that part of the skin frequently. Due to this, the bacteria in that area increases, giving rise to this health problem. Apart from flea and insect bites, some kind of dog allergies can also be the reason. Other allergies include inhalants, food, as well as those that develop because of contact. Hot spots can also be developed from an injury that the dog had, like a small scrape or wound. Another important factor about these spots is that they usually develop during the summer season, when the climate is hot and humid. They are also common among dogs who indulge in constant licking and scratching because they are bored. Apart from this, according to the area where the spots appear, it can also be an indicator of some serious problem. For instance, if it is near the ear, it can be because of an ear infection and on the other hand, if it is found on the anal area, it can be a symptom of anal gland disease.

Though these spots can be seen on any part of the dog's body, they are most commonly seen in areas like the legs, rump, paws, and the flank. In short, places that are easily accessible for the mouth to lick and scratch. As it is important to recognize their presence on your dog as soon as possible, you should know about the symptoms that your pet dog will show when affected by it. One of the easiest ways of recognizing the same is when your canine constantly licks and scratches one particular area of the skin. Another symptom is hair loss, i.e., you will find that the dog has lost hair on the area where the infection has occurred. Other than this, redness and oozing are also two symptoms that can indicate the presence of this condition.

If you observe any of the symptoms in your pet, it is important that you take him/her to the doctor without much delay. However, there are certain things that you can do before you consult your veterinarian. Given below are some home remedies.
  • Trim the hair in the area where the reddish sores have developed. This is because the hot sores heal better when exposed to fresh air, because they will be free from moisture and will remain dry.
  • Clean the area using a mild skin cleanser that is available in pet stores, or maybe a baby shampoo. However, make sure that the cleanser is fully rinsed because if it is left on for a long time, this may cause further irritation to the dog.
  • Take hot water in a large vessel and soak some black tea bags into the water for a few minutes. Remove them from the water and once they are cooled, place them directly on the dog's hot spots. Tannic acid that is present in the black tea bags aids in quick healing.
  • One more important thing to remember is that the area where the spots have appeared should be kept dry. This also means that you have to prevent your dog from licking that area. For this, you can tie an Elizabethan collar around your pet's neck.
  • These home remedies usually work when the spots are superficial. However, it is difficult to know their nature by observing them from the outside. Therefore, you should take your pet to the doctor before the condition worsens. The doctor may prescribe some oral antibiotics, special shampoos, and topical drying sprays to cure the problem.
This condition can be prevented if you find the cause of the problem. For instance, if it is caused due to some dog food allergies, avoid giving those foods to your pet. On the other hand, if it is caused because your dog has long hair, then see to it that grooming is done on a regular basis. Proper care and hygiene maintenance like clipping your dog's hair, giving medicated baths, conducting flea control, etc. will help in preventing the occurrence of hot spots to a certain extent.