Dog Care 101: Hot Spots

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May 21, 2014
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It’s slimy, it’s wet, and it often looks like someone or something took a bite out of your dog’s fur leaving a red bald spot. It’s a hot spot and it’s uncomfortable for your pup.

What causes a hot spot?

It’s usually an allergic reaction to something, sometimes a flea bite, that causes the skin to react and your dog to start licking, chewing, and itching at the area. While it may go away on its own, if your dog keeps licking and chewing, the hot spot can become bigger and infected. It’s similar to scratching a bug bite you get and turning it into a cut.

What to do if your dog has a hotspot

If your dog isn’t too squirmy, clean the area with some soap and water. It’s important to keep the hot spot clean and to get the fur around it away from the wound. Gently wash the hot spot, brush or move the fur around it away from the spot, and let the area dry.

If necessary, you may need to trim the fur around the spot. You can also use a little hydrogen peroxide to dry up the spot but your dog might jump and run away if it stings.

You can also use the ear medication, Otomax, to help the hot spot heal because that is actually an snit-fungal and antibacterial medicine. For more information about Otomax, check out this page.

However, before using Otomax or any other medication that you have around the house that is for your dog, talk to your vet. It may not be a hot spot, it may be infected and require antibiotics, benadryl, and other treatment. Some dogs have hot spots that are so severe that they need special baths, skin sprays, and other treatments.

As the spot heals it will scab over, not be as red, and the fur will start to grow back. You may notice some dry flakey skin and the fur growing in a slightly different color but everything returns to normal after a few weeks.

Always remember to keep your dog on flea, tick, and heart worm medication and to brush the fur for any other irritants after walks and camping trips. The season is coming for bug bites and allergies. Your dog will need some extra TLC and will thank you for it!

Image from Holland Street Vet

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