Does Your Dog Have A Hot Spot? See The Vet

Posted on: 17 May 2023

While there are a number of skin problems that can affect dogs, hot spots tend to be one of the most common. As a dog owner, it is therefore important that you learn how to recognize hot spots and seek care for your dog when they occur. Keep reading to learn the basics.

What are the signs of hot spots?

Hot spots are essentially red, irritated skin lesions. You may notice them on your dog's belly, back, or side. They can occur anywhere on your dog's skin, but they're most commonly found in areas where your dog can easily scratch and itch. You may have to pull your dog's fur aside to see the actual spot. The spot itself will usually be without hair. In some cases, you may notice some pus or seeping from the wound.

What causes hot spots?

Hot spots usually start off as a mild wound or sore. Your dog might have scraped themselves on something. Or, they may have been bitten by a fly or other insect. Then, the dog itches and licks the wound to the extent that more skin damage and irritation result. Itching often introduces bacteria to the wound, which can cause infection. And enzymes in the dog's saliva cause the wound to grow and become more irritated. 

How do you treat a hot spot?

Hot spots are really hard to clear up with at-home treatments. If your dog gets one, take them to the vet. The vet will examine the wound and see whether they think antibiotics are necessary. If so, they will either apply a topical antibiotic cream or prescribe your dog oral antibiotics.

The vet will likely also prescribe topical steroids for you to apply to the hot spot. Steroids help reduce inflammation, which will make the hot spot less itchy and bothersome. This, in turn, will help your dog stop licking and itching the hot spot, which will ultimately allow it to heal.

Dogs are almost always put in a cone, or e-collar, while they heal from a hot spot. This cone keeps them from being able to lick. Do not remove the cone until your vet advises you to do so.

Hot spots can be pretty painful for dogs, and they require professional vet care to break the cycle of irritation and itching. Keep an eye on your dog so that if a hot spot occurs, you notice it promptly and take them to a local animal clinic.