Hot spots on dogs are also referred to as acute moist dermatitis. They most often appear on a dog's head, chest or hind end. There are many reasons that these lesions form, so it's important that all pet owners know how to treat hot spots on a dog.
Anything that irritates your dog's skin will cause him to scratch and chew to relieve himself. While scratching can create lesions on the skin, chewing can be even worse. The moisture left behind festers on the skin and in the fur.
When your dog chews insistently at the same spot, that moisture can cause a hot spot. The hot spot will be itchy, resulting in more chewing, and the issue will quickly spread.
It's a vicious cycle.
Proper dog grooming can help to prevent hot spots. Dogs with matted hair and dirty coats are more susceptible to skin irritation. Because hot spots are caused by moisture, dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors in wet weather or enjoy swimming often are also more prone to developing hot spots.
So, how do you treat hot spots on dogs? It can usually be done at home without a trip to the vet, but if your dog suffers from severe or chronic hot spots regularly, a chat with his doggy doctor is a good idea.
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How To Treat Hot Spots On A Dog
The first thing you'll need to do is trim the fur around the hot spot with clippers. You should use clippers instead of scissors, as they'll get closer to the skin without the danger of cutting your dog.
You'll notice that the fur inside the hot spot has fallen out, so you'll just need to trim a bit of the fur around the edges. The goal is to remove all hair that is touching the hot spot. This helps to relieve some of the irritation and will also aid in allowing the skin to dry out faster.
Now, clean the area with antiseptic wipes or spray. This spray will help to kill any germs and prevent infection. Try to find a product that doesn't sting, as this could cause more irritation and tempt your dog to continue chewing the area.
Before using any kind of anti-itch spray or cream, talk to your veterinarian and get her approval.
After vet approval, apply anti-itch spray or cream to the hot spot. Hydrocortisone cream is popular, but you'll need to ensure that your dog does not ingest any of it. The safest way to do this is by using an Elizabethan collar.
As you'll see in my video guide above, there are different types of e-collars. When you're learning how to treat hot spots on a dog, you may need to have your dog wear one for a few days. I recommend a soft collar, as dogs seem to like those better than the hard plastic type.
If your dog has chronic hot spots or they become severe quickly, you need to schedule an appointment with your vet. If the spots have any type of discharge or have a bright red color, they may be infected and you should NOT try to treat them yourself.
Your vet will likely clean the spots in the office and send you home with a prescription cream that will clear them up quickly. If your dog has chronic hot spots, you may also be prescribed a medicated shampoo that should help with the condition.
I also explain my favorite home remedy for hot spots in my video guide. You can find over-the-counter sprays and creams to treat hot spots on dogs, but I try to use natural, chemical-free remedies with my dogs as much as possible.
Calendula (ka-lin-ju-la) oil is the only natural hot spot remedy that I have found to work on dogs so far. You can buy this as an oil, cream, lotions or salve, and it works to clear up hot spots quickly without any harmful chemicals or harsh ingredients that might irritate the skin even more.
If you have experience with any home remedies for how to treat hot spots on a dog, please share them in the comments below. I'd love to try them with our pets, and I'm sure other readers would benefit from them as well.
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