During the summer, your dog loves to play outdoor with the grass, near the beach, or even in the park. However, with the great outdoors comes consequences like dirt, debris, fleas, insects, and other critters lurking around. These environmental factors can result in constant itching, pain, and oozing on your dog’s skin, leading to a common skin condition called a hotspot. If left untreated can cause significant stress and discomfort for your dog.
Even though hotspots are frustrating, but it can be prevented and treated with the proper management. With that in mind, here are some insights on hotspots.
What are Hotspots
Hotspots are also called moist dermatitis; it’s a superficial skin infection that occurs when bacteria damages the surface of the skin. These damages are caused by constant scratching, licking, and chewing of the skin.
The first stage of the hotspot is the formation of an itchy, red, and moist area. After that, it leads to puss leaking out of the skin where it gets infected. Dry pus can damage the surface resulting in hair loss. This can be very painful, especially if the dog whines a shake when you touch the area.
The good news is that hot spots are usually not as bad as they really are, and the infection is located on the external surface and can be resolved with the proper treatment.
Where Can Dogs Get Hot Spots?
Hot spots can be found anywhere on your canine companion’s body. However, the most common locations are the legs, hips, paws, neck, and head. Keep in mind that these painful sores can be hidden underneath matted hair. A lot of times, hot spots can occur in the moist area on the dog’s body like the groin or the armpits because that’s where microorganisms can easily develop. This is why it’s essential to ensure that these locations are constantly clean. If you do not bath your dog, they are susceptible to developing this skin condition.
What Are The Causes?
Hotspots are often caused by excessive licking, chewing, and scratching of the affected area. These actions can penetrate the superficial skin surface leading to secondary bacterial infection and inflammation. The worst part is that the more the dog itches, the worse it gets leading to a continuous cycle of scratching and itching. Therefore anything that causes your dog to scratch or lick can potentially lead to hotspots.
Here are the common causes of hotspots:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Food allergies
- Anal sac disease
- Allergy dermatitis
- Skin or ear infection
- Contact Dermatitis
- Moisture trapped in the coat from swimming.
- A dirty or matted coat
Some dog breeds like Saint Bernard, Labrador, German Shepherd, and golden retrievers are susceptible to hotspot because of the thick coat. Keep in mind that dogs who frequently swim in the lake during the hot summer are very vulnerable to the skin condition.
How Much Time Does it Take to Heal
With the proper treatment and care, most dogs can improve successfully. In most cases, hotspots can be resolved in approximately 3 to 7 days after the initiation of treatment.
However, every dog is different; some may take a little longer to resolve, while others see results much sooner. The important factors that you should look for are improvements. If the dog is slowly getting better, then that’s a good sign; however, if the condition worsens, then it’s essential to see a vet.
Keep Your Dog From Licking its Hot Spot
Important strategies for treating hotspot is to prevent your dog from licking the infected area. Here are some ways to help your four-legged friend:
Cones are created to prevent your dog from licking or scratching a wound or any irritations. It’s basically a large cone over your dog’s head that extends to the nose when it’s placed on the neck. It may make your dog look funny, but it’s useful in preventing him or her from licking or scratching.
These collars are like in life belts you can purchase online. It fits closely with your dog’s neck to prevent him or her from licking.
Getting Rid of Hot Spots/Treatment
If you think your dog has hotspots, the initial step is to take them to the vet. It is tempting to wait for the symptom to resolve on its own, but delaying any form of treatment can make it worse.
Your veterinarian will try to determine the underlying cause of the skin problem. They may recommend additional testing such as skin scraping for parasite or a full physical body exam on your dog.
There are also other treatment modalities such as:
- Clipping the fur around the area
- Cleaning affected area with antiseptic solutions
- Using oral or topical antibiotics
- Using steroid medication to reduce the inflammation
- Using medical wipes on the affected area
- Applying a cone to prevent constant scratching or licking.
What Can I Put On My Dog’s Hot Spot
There are a couple of medications that you can put on your dog’s hotspot. The first thing is to consider sterile saline to disinfect the area. You can use antibiotic creams or ointments to control the infection. Steroid cream can help reduce inflammation, and Benadryl can stop the itching. There is also mild and soothing shampoo that can help alleviate the symptoms of hotspots.
Neosporin for Hot Spots
- .5-ounces of Neosporin Original Topical Antibiotic Ointment by the #1 doctor recommended brand for treating minor cuts, scrapes and burns
- Wound care ointment is formulated with neomycin sulfate, bacitracin zinc and polymyxin B antibiotic ingredients to provide 24-hour infection protection for minor wounds
- Topical first-aid ointment nourishes skin to minimize the appearance of scars after healing
Neosporin is an excellent anti-topical and anti-bacterial cream. It consists of neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin B. Because Neosporin is applied directly to the skin, it’s essential to look out for potential allergic reaction. Make sure that the dog does not lick the cream or ointment because it can be harmful to their stomach. The significant part about Neosporin is that it kills off existing bacteria to prevent them from growing, and it creates a physical barrier to protect the wound against infection. Therefore, it is a good idea to try a small amount of Neosporin for hotspots.
Natural Home Remedies
Aloe Vera has prostaglandin, which helps decrease inflammation to alleviate burns or itchy skin. This natural treatment also has antifungal and antibacterial therapy, along with vitamins to promote healing.
Coconut oil contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. That provides instant relief for itchy and dry skin.
The strong anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal can help soothe dry and irritated skin.
The tannic acid from black tea helps destroys the biofilm that’s created by staff infection. Therefore, it helps reduce the colonization and infection of staphylococcus bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and anti-fungal components because of its acidity, which prevents the bacteria from living and thriving successfully in the acid environments. It also has other nutrients and vitamins to promote healing.
Your dog’s health is essential. If you notice something strange, then bring him or her to the vet immediately. Various medications can help treat hotspots. However, the best treatment is always prevention.
Make sure to have the proper grooming routine and to clean your dog after he or she swims in the pool or lake. Keep them entertained so they will not lick or scratch out of boredom. Environmental stimulation, such as toys and movement, can help mentally stimulate your four-legged friends.
With all the proper prevention, your dog will never have to deal with the frustration of hotspots again.