Sometimes known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots will normally show as red, hot irritations on the head of a dog. Furthermore, they will sometimes be moist and can also be found in the hip or chest area. Typically, dog owners become alarmed because they can appear and spread quickly because the skin becomes irritated even further by licking and chewing. In most cases, hotspots will cause a little pain for the dog.
Causes – Essentially, hot spots can be caused by any sort of irritation that then leads to licking and scratching. Also, allergic reactions can cause the skin problem as well as poor grooming, insects, mites, skin infections, and excess licking that comes as a result of boredom or stress.
Can it Affect All Dogs? – If a dog is not groomed properly and has a dirty coat, they will be particularly susceptible to the problem. Similarly, dogs who are kept in the rain or swim for extended periods can also suffer from the problem. As well as anal sac disease, hip dysplasia will often cause licking on the skin of the legs which can lead to issues.
In terms of the dog itself, the problem is far more common in dogs with thick, long hair.
Should You Visit The Vet? – With issues like this, there is always the question of whether the vet should be contacted and, in truth, they should whenever you spot a problem.
Treatment – When visiting the vet, they will assess the problem and decide the cause. Ultimately, the treatments will differ depending on what the cause is otherwise the problem will just come back again in the future. Depending on the issue, treatments may include;
- Medication to remove parasites
- Non-irritating solution to cleanse the area
- Shaving of the hair around the affected area to allow medication to get to work
- Change in diet – increase in fatty acids
- Hypoallergenic diet if the problem is caused by allergies
- Antihistamines to remove itching
- Balanced diet to promote healing and a healthy new coat
- E-collar to prevent further trauma
Preventing Hot Spots – If you are here purely for preventative measures, you have done the right thing because hot spots is not enjoyable for anyone involved. Here are some top tips;
- Keep your pet free from stress
- Consider clipping your dog’s hair short during the warmer months
- Have your dog groomed regularly
- Have your vet recommend a flea control program
- Allow your dog sufficient exercise to ensure that they don’t become bored or stressed.
As long as they are allowed interaction with the family and other dogs (if he/she gets along with other dogs), they will not become bored to then resort to licking and scratching.
Throughout the treatment and aftercare, they will need to be kept comfortable and you can find out some great techniques from your vet. Once the hot spots have healed, you can follow the preventative advice to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.