Dog hot spots, the familiar name for the medical condition of pyotraumatic dermatitis, is a common but generally not serious condition affecting our canine friends.
While they can occur anywhere, they often appear either near the tail or around the ears. Mostly this problem affects adult dogs, but can show up in puppies that are not getting the best of care.
Dogs with heavy coats such as Belgian Tervuren, St. Bernard, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, etc., are more inclined to get hot spots especially during periods of humid weather when their coats will retain more moisture.
It is one of the dog skin problems that can be very uncomfortable, even downright painful, for our pets, but fortunately very treatable.
While it's natural for a dog to scratch and lick his wounds, this will only exacerbate the problem and delay healing. Witch hazel can be applied right away and repeated often. It provides a cooling effect and helps stop the itching.
A hot spot is pretty easy to locate and recognize because first of all you will notice your dog constantly scratching or licking the area. When you take a closer look you will generally see a raw bare spot on his coat that will look very inflamed (red) and moist.
Your pet's undivided attention to the hot spot will confirm that it is causing him some distress.
spots usually have a bad odor, may be oozing, and are obviously very itchy to your
pet. One other very recognizable feature of hot spots is that they grow bigger amazingly
fast - generally within hours.
So it's quite imperative to alleviate the symptoms as quickly as possible to prevent further scratching and spreading of bacteria.
That being said, the symptoms can be intense, so much so that he may not allow you to
touch the wound, so proceed with caution.
If you get a lot of resistance to your touch then you know the area is extremely painful to your dog and the wisest choice in this situation is to take him to the vet for his expert handling.
While the exact cause may be hard to pinpoint without your undivided attention to his everyday activities, here are some ways hot spots get started,...
Depending on the severity of the hot spot(s), you may need to have your
dog wear a Pet E-Collar to prevent the licking and chewing. We have had
to do this on occasion with our dogs and found this ZenPet collar doesn't seem to bother them.
Although the sores may look very nasty and can be extremely sensitive to the touch, they are usually not serious and can be treated with several home remedies.
And here's a caution: Do not apply anything greasy as this will trap the bacteria and possibly drive
the infection inward.
If you treat the dog hot spots with home remedies and they do not clear up in a few days, or appear to be getting worse, it's time to call your vet pronto!
To prevent further development of dog hot spots, one of the best thing you can do is find the underlying cause of your
dog's itching so that you can take steps to stop the itch cycle. Check our page on skin allergies for more help.
Another, is to groom your dog well to prevent mats from forming which can harbor parasites and start the itching cycle. Read this article we wrote for thesprucepets.com to learn the secrets of removing mats: "How to De-Mat Your Dog's Tangles"