A hot spot occurs when your dog’s defences are overrun by its normal occurring skin bacteria. This results in a superficial skin infection which damages the dog’s skin. Through scratching, chewing and gnawing the dog starts the damage its fur and skin, which later turns red, itchy, moist, and can get infected.
As infection sets in, pus starts oozing from the wound. The dry pus and the now damaged skin form a tight crust which causes hair loss around the infected spot. This process is very painful and your dog will likely show pain when the spot is touched. To help ease the pain for your dog, ensure you take him to the vet for fast diagnosis and treatment.
A hot spot can be caused by anything that causes a dog to scratch or chews hence creating a skin irritation. Insects bites (from flies and fleas), excessive moisture on the skin’s surface, skin allergies, saliva accumulated under the fur( for pets that are always licking the feet), matted hair, dogs with dense or heavy hair coats, skin scrapes and excess humidity in the location are all some of the sources of hot spot development. Something else that is a rather interesting cause of hot spots in dogs is boredom.
Below are several tips to help your dog feel more comfortable when it has got hot spots and ways to prevent hot spot occurrence.
What You Can Do At Home
When your dog has a small, uncomplicated and non-painful hot spot, it is possible to start home treatment using products meant for this purpose. These can be bought over-the-counter. There are assortments of medicated shampoos, topical sprays and herbal therapies that are easily accessible.
Of importance is to make certain that the products are pet-approved and safe to use on your dog. It is also recommended to call your vet and find out whether the choice you have settled for is reasonable for your pup.
Be careful not to use topical products intended for humans on your pets as they might be very poisonous when licked and also ingested by your pets. An example being zinc oxide if ingested is very toxic to your dog and it is often found in a lot of human skin ointments.
The Basics Of Home Hot Spot Treatment
- When the hot spot is non-painful and small, gently and carefully clip all the fur covering the area to allow air circulation and medication to be applied to the wound. (Take caution and use only approved grooming clippers. Use of scissors can cause accidental lacerations on your dog’s skin.)
- Use a moist and warm compress and apply them on the swollen and lacerated area 3 times each day for a time period of about 5-10minutes. This will help calm the tissues, keep the wounded area clean and also encourage good air circulation. Give the area time to dry completely before topically applying anything on it.
- Use a cone to help keep your dog from licking the wounded skin. This can help prevent the compulsive behaviours of self-chewing, licking and scratching excessively. You can also opt for bitter sprays which will also serve the purpose of stopping your dog from accessing the hot spots.
- Do not use bandages and wraps to cover the open wound. This is meant to allow the area to breathe.
- When you opt for over-the-counter treatments, be sure to go for those that are veterinary approved and pet safe only for your pet. It is also recommended to consult your vet before embarking on any home treatment regime on your dog.
- Lessen the irritation and itching that is the cause of the whole thing first. In getting to the source of the irritation, you are able to deal with the problem and prevent recurrence of the issue.
- Offer your dog play toys and exercising spots to help keep it stimulated mentally thus beat boredom and anxious behaviour.
Tips On Prevention
- A good place to start in preventing the itch in your dog is to use the appropriate flea control measures. Be sure to wash your dog’s bed if the problem is being caused by fleas and also vacuum your upholstered furniture and carpeting to avoid re-infestation. Also, treat any other animals in the household.
- In the Singaporean weather, which is at times quite hot and humid, make sure you dry your heavy-coated pet dog after a bath or after a swim.
- Make time for regular grooming sessions for your dog. Since dogs have a more sensitive skin and are often exposed to various irritants in the environment, regular grooming will help alleviate your pet’s constant itch.
- Provide sufficient exercise and regular opportunities to stimulate your dog mentally and play to help prevent stress and boredom. You can also train your pet to chew on bones and toys as a replacement for the compulsive behaviour of licking and self-chewing and also to relieve stress.
- To help keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy, introduce essential fatty acids in its diet. In adding fish oil to your pet’s diet will help fight dry skin.
- In the case of a deep skin infection, oral pain and anti-inflammation medication are to be issued by your veterinarian depending on the how bad the issue may be and the pain intensity your dog may be experiencing.
- Use medication prescribed by your vet to help treat the underlying problem which has contributed to the persistent itching and discomfort.
A hot spot is caused by anything that causes a dog to scratch or chews hence creating a skin irritation. There are assortments of medicated shampoos, topical sprays and herbal therapies that can be accessed over-the-counter. However be careful not to use products intended for humans on your pets as they may be poisonous when licked and ingested by your pets.
A vet’s intervention is needed when the hot spot grows to be big and painful that your dog needs to be sedated to properly clip and clean the wound. An additional concern is when a hot spot is followed by a deep skin infection, which will require extensive therapy like oral pain medication, oral anti-inflammatory medication, and oral antibiotics.