Many who have owned a dog for many years have seen their pet experience dog hot spots. This is a fairly common skin problem that will sometimes clear up on its own. In other cases, it will require intervention and treatment by a vet in order to clear up what can turn into a rather serious infection.
A hot spot is a localized area on a dog’s body that is irritated, inflamed and, sometimes, infected. There are many possible causes for what starts a hot spot.
What causes the irritated area to grow and become worse is the dog’s reaction to the initial irritant.
Some possible initial irritants include flea or other insect bites, a scratch or other small injury or various types of allergies.
Dogs may react to such irritants by biting or constantly licking the affected area which causes the spot to become inflamed or infected.
These hot spots can grow very, very quickly. Sometime the spot will become quite large while other hot spots may be only the size of a quarter.
While hair loss accompanies many hot spots, that is not always the case. If the hair does not fall out, it can be difficult to tell how large a hot spot is, or to even know that your dog has one.
If you notice your dog licking and biting at the same spot, it may be a hot spot even if there is not any hair loss in the area.
While, as mentioned earlier, many of your dogs hot spots will clear up on their own, if the initial irritant is not dealt with, it is likely that the dog will develop additional hot spots.
If the cause was an injury then no action would need to be taken. If the cause was an allergy or insect infestation, those issues would need to be addressed to decrease the chances of more hot spots developing.
To treat the hot spot, you should first shave the hair from around the spot. Be very cautious when doing this so as not to cause your pet additional pain or discomfort.
Wash the area using an antiseptic. You should wash the area two to three times a day. If you do not see some results within a few days, you should visit your vet as the area might be infected.
In the case of an infection, you should get the advice of your vet as far as which type of antibiotic to use.
While there are some over the counter products available, it is always safer to get the advice of your vet in such cases.
Another possible cause of hot spots is psychological in nature. Some dogs that are experiencing various types of stress actually create hot spots by scratching or biting himself.
If you think this is a possible cause, try giving your pet extra play time, more exercise and attention. You will need to provide such extra stimulation on an ongoing basis.
A dogs hot spots are not usually, on their own, serious. They can, however, become infected and then if they are not treated there could be serious complications.
Even if there is no infection, no good pet owner wants to see their pet suffer through the pain and constant itching of hot spots.
Treat the hot spot but, more importantly, try and detect the underlying cause so that you will be in the best position to prevent future hot spots from appearing on your pet.