Hot Spots on Dogs…Here’s What You Do to Help Before You Get to the Vet

Shaggy Dog in Elizabethen Collar Due to Hot Spots

Hot spots are a common and painful ailment among dogs. They frequently seem to appear overnight and can often take a while to heal. Here’s what you can do to make the healing process a little less uncomfortable!

Hot spots, or moist eczema as your vet may call it, are moist scabs caused by bacteria from excessive licking or scratching of the skin. Hot spots can show up just about anywhere on your pet, but the more common spots are the legs and hind quarters.

Hot Spot on a Dog's Paw
If you have discovered a hot spot on your pet, the first thing you should do is call your vet for an appointment.
While hot spots may seem to appear out of nowhere there is always an underlying cause and your vet is the best person to determine what that is. Until you can make it to your vet here are some steps for easing your pups discomfort.

Step 1:

Use clippers to remove the hair around the hot spot, this will help to keep the area clean and prevent any hair from getting matted into the sore.

Step 2:

Use a gentle cleanser—Dawn dish soap mixed with water works great—and a soft washcloth to clean the sore and the area around it. This will remove any lingering hair that may be stuck on the sore, along with bacteria and other bits of debris.

Step 3:

Make sure your dog is no longer licking the area by having him wear an Elizabethan collar, also known as the cone of shame, when you can’t supervise him. While your dog may really want to lick the sore, his tongue will only make the sore worse and could actually cause it to increase in size before you can get to your vet.

Step 4:

It’s time for your vet appointment! Be sure to arrive at the vet five to ten minutes early so your dog can have a chance to go potty outside before he goes into the lobby.

Always keep a leash on your dog and avoid retractable leashes, even the best behaved dog can be fearful at the vet and the last thing you want to do is make his visit more stressful by having him loose around lots of strange people and dogs that may not be friendly.

At the visit, your vet will give your pup a thorough examination and go over with you the most common causes of hot spots which are fleas, food allergies, and environmental allergies.

It can be hard to diagnose allergies for certain without expensive allergen tests, but it’s likely that your vet will recommend a trial of a prescription diet if she feels it is allergens. She will also likely send oral and topical medication for treating the hot spot.

While hot spots can be a pain for both you and your pup it’s important to always follow your vet’s advice when it comes to your pet’s care. While something she says may seem silly to you it likely is something she learned through extensive studies. If something she says simply doesn’t sit well with you, a second opinion at another reputable vet never hurts!

To watch a step-by-step tutorial:

For more information on hot spots, be sure to check out our other article on hot spots.


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