Has your dog ever gotten a hotspot—a patch of skin that he licks, scratches or bites at incessantly, to the point where the skin becomes raw and inflamed? Recently two of my client’s dogs got them—it’s hard to watch a dog suffer with a hotspot.
Vets say that hotspots can start when a dog has an allergic reaction to an insect or fleabite, or the skin is irritated from lack of regular bathing or brushing. Some dogs develop a habit of scratching a particular spot out of boredom or stress—and that can lead to a hotspot too. An untreated hotspot can quickly turn into a large skin lesion.
Bathing and brushing your dog regularly is one step to prevent hotspots from developing. And around here in Southern California, you have to keep up with flea control – both on your dog and in your house. Some docs say if you have a dog with long hair, you might consider cutting it short, particularly in the hotter months, to avoid skin irritation.
And give your dog as much physical activity and fun as possible. Daily walks, hikes, chasing a ball—this can all reduce a dog’s stress and prevent stress-related habits, like chewing skin, and thus reduce the chance of hotspots.
Eye “boogers” are also known to cause to hotspots on their face if they go unkempt. The salt from their stys can actually burn their skin over a few days. Keeping your pet clean is the first step of prevention.
What To Do If Your Dog Has A Hotspot?
If you think your dog has a hotspot, a visit to the vet is in order. Hotspots need be treated before they progress to infection.
Your vet will try to figure out the cause, and may clean the skin area with a gentle cleanser. Your vet might also suggest antibiotics or an antihistamine to reduce the itching and scratching.
And yes, a vet might want your dog to wear the dreaded cone of shame to prevent itching and chewing at the spots for a time.
These steps aren’t easy or fun but will help heal the hotspot so your dog can return to his or her happy self once again.
Tell Me About It!
Has your dog ever had a hotspot? If so, what was it like and what did you or your Vet do to treat it?