Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis are small patches of skin on your dog that are red and inflamed. In addition, these spots may spread quickly and become aggravated further by scratching and licking. These spots are usually lacking hair, oozing fluids and quite itchy. There are some dogs that seem to be more prone to these hot spots than other dogs but at the same time this issue can effect any dog at any time. There are many things you can do to treat hot spots at home but at some point you may need to seek professional medical attention for your dog if you are unable to control the spots on your own. Some of the following advice may help you to treat your dog’s hot spots and help him/her get rid of them.
Remove the Hair Around the Spots
While some hot spots will already be completely bald, there may be some hair left just around the area. You should take electric clippers and gently shave around the spot by about an inch further than the actual effected area. This will help ensure that you are able to access the entire spot when treating it. If you are not comfortable shaving any area of your dog then you may be able to ask your groomer to do this part. However, this is very easy and anyone can do it. Do not worry about your dog’s hair growing back. Once you have treated the hot spots and they have healed the dog’s fur will grow back in just fine.
Disinfect the Area Well
Use a mild soap to clean the area well. It is ideal to use something like betadine wash or another anti microbial wash but any gentle cleanser will work just fine. If you do not have an antiseptic soap then try using some kind of mild baby shampoo that is marked hypo allergenic. You do not want to use anything that has heavy detergent, fragrance or color. You should also focus on being as gentle as possible so as not to aggravate the sore even more than it already is. Your dog may or may not sit still for this and you may or may not need help. If you have a large breed dog it would be a good idea to have a partner present to help you get the job done so you do not wind up with more soap on you than on the dog. Once the area is nice and clean, take a nice sterile napkin or towel and pat it dry. Do not rub whatever you do.
Relieve the Itching
The first thing you want to do in the treatment process is stop the sores from itching. If you can arrest the itching then your dog will leave the sores alone. If the dog is not licking or scratching the sores constantly then they will have a chance to dry up and heal. In order to relieve the itching there are a few things you can try. First, understand that your dogs hot spots may be a result of some kind of allergy. Benadryl is an excellent choice when dealing with anything that is causing your dog to itch. The dosage should be 25 mg. per 25 pounds of body weight. If your dog weighs 75 pounds, give him/her three 25 mg. benadryl. If your dog weighs 25 pounds then give him/her one 25 mg. benadryl. If you have a toy breed that weighs less than 15 pounds then try giving only a half of a 25 mg. benadryl or contact your vet for the correct dosage. In addition, you can also try benadryl or cortisone spray to help to relive the itching.
Use a Bite Collar
If your dog has severe hot spots that he/she will not leave alone no matter what you do then you may need to use a large plastic cone bite collar around his or her neck to prevent licking and biting of the sores. While your dog will absolutely hate this collar and will probably protest quite a bit, you must remember that this is for your dogs own good and do not feel guilty. It will be far worse to allow the sores to go untreated. On the upside, if you have given your dog benadryl then he/she will probably be knocked out for awhile as it has a tendency to induce drowsiness. Sooth your dog as much as possible and make sure that he/she is not in a place where he/she can get hurt by trashing if he/she should try to get the collar off, which dogs usually do at first.
Monitor the Hot Spots
You may have to repeat these things for a few days before you notice a change but if you do not see any signs of healing or if the sores are actually becoming worse then you will need to consult your veterinarian for more aggressive treatment options. There are some cases that require medical attention and cannot be treated at home. However, most of the time keeping the area clean and treated will be sufficient. At the same time you should do your best to try and figure out what may be causing the problem in the first place. If you live in a hot climate then hot spots could be likened to prickly heat in humans. There may be a food allergy present in which case a diet change may be in order.
If your dog has hot spots do your best to use the above methods to treat them. More than likely you will see an improvement and will be able to help your dog to heal just fine. Hot spots are not typically very serious and usually do go away with treatment. The level of treatment your dog will need will depend on the severity of his/her condition. One thing is for sure, your dog will be very appreciative to you for helping to rid him/her of these terrible sores that are undoubtedly causing a good level of discomfort.