Vet Blog

Identifying and Treating Dog Hot Spots

June 18, 2020

New pet parents often wonder, what is a hot spot on a dog?

If you've noticed your dog relentlessly chewing or scratching at one particular patch of skin, your dog might have a hot spot. Hot spots are a common skin infection in dogs, but they can be cured. Because hot spots are painful and spread easily, they must be treated right away. Bring your pup to Animal Care Center of Castle Pines as soon as you notice a hot spot. We will identify the cause of the infection and prescribe the right treatments to relieve the pain and cure your dog's hot spots.

What Is a Hot Spot on a Dog?

Hot spots are painful, localized skin infections also known as "acute moist dermatitis" or "pyotraumatic dermatitis." Hot spots usually start with a minor injury like a scratch or an insect bite. If the inflamed skin becomes infected with bacteria, it will develop into a painful, oozing lesion. The hot spot might cause matted fur or result in small areas of hair loss with crusty, bleeding skin. These open sores attract bacteria and must be treated as soon as possible.

Some breeds with thicker coats are more susceptible to hot spots. German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, and St. Bernards are most likely to suffer from hot spots. Hot weather and swimming can both exacerbate hot spots-high humidity and excess moisture make it easier for hot spots to develop. Sometimes stress or boredom can cause hot spots as well. Dogs that suffer from anxiety have a tendency to chew on their paws and create hot spots out of psychological distress.

At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines we recommend diet consultations for dogs with recurring hot spots. Allergies often play a role in chronic skin disease. Allergic reactions may manifest as dermatological conditions and cause the itchiness that provokes hot spots. Hot spots can indicate food allergies, environmental allergies, or allergies to flea and insect bites. Our veterinarians can help you treat your dog's allergies and prevent painful hot spots.

Why Is It Important to Treat Hot Spots?

Hot spots are painful and grow rapidly, so it is important to treat them right away. Your dog will probably seek relief by worrying about the wound. Licking, biting, or scratching at the hot spot will only worsen the infection. Scratching spreads bacteria and can cause hot spots to develop on other parts of the body. Seek veterinary advice as soon as you discover a hot spot. Prompt treatment will prevent the infection from growing and spreading.

What Is the Treatment for Hot Spots?

Your veterinarian at Animal Care Center will prescribe an eight to twelve-week course of antibiotics. Make sure to complete the full course of antibiotics. Keep the hot spot clean and dry; your vet will show you the best way to care for the wound. You will need to prevent your dog from licking or chewing the hot spot. It may be annoying, but sometimes a cone collar is necessary to prevent your dog from worrying about the wound. Don't use topical antibiotic ointment-your dog will just lick it off. Only administer medications that are prescribed by your vet.

Contact Us

If you've noticed a hot spot on your dog, contact Animal Care Center of Castle Pines right away. We offer a wide range of services including comprehensive medical care and diagnostics, advanced pain management, surgery, dentistry, rehabilitation, grooming and other important services to ensure your pet's health and wellness. Call us at (303) 688-3660 or visit our website to schedule a wellness exam for your dog.