The Effects of Hot Spots

How Do Hot Spots Affect My Dog?

Poor coat condition is one of the first signs of a health problem in dogs. A healthy canine coat should be full and in good texture. Skin color may be pink, black, or a combination, but it should be unbroken and smooth. Any time you see bald spots in the fur or red patches of skin, you need to take steps to identify the problem. Dogs with healthy skin rarely itch. If your dog itches often, he or she may be experiencing a skin problem that needs attention.

Hot spots are a common canine skin condition that is also called moist eczema. Essentially, this is a spot where the dog has itched or chewed the skin, causing a bald spot with a smelly odor. Bacteria that get into the broken skin area and continually irritate the skin cause the odor and redness. Compounding the problem, the dog usually continues to scratch and worry at the site. This canine eczema is worse in the summer, when heat and moisture become trapped near the skin. Hot spot infections will usually continue to spread until the area is treated. Fortunately, it is not hard to treat the irritation if you catch it early.

How to Treat Canine Hot Spots

As long as the infected area stays moist, healing will not begin. The hair around the  infection should be trimmed away to promote drying. Washing the dog with medicated shampoo will help as long as you dry the area after bathing. Topical antibiotics may be needed to help clear up the spot. If the dog does not stop licking and chewing the rash then you may need to get a collar for the dog to wear. This prevents them from being able to reach around to chew.

Hot spot’s that have spread over large areas, or do not respond to treatment at home, may need veterinary attention. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed, or the vet may test for other skin disorders. Dogs are most vulnerable when they have breaks in the skin and a humid environment to promote the infection. Keeping your dog free of fleas and ticks will go a long way towards preventing irritations and their unpleasant odor.

It is also advisable to trim longhaired dogs to keep the animal’s skin cool and dry. Animals with thick coats should be examined in the summer for bald spots in the fur. Most dogs will have a few hot spots in their lifetime. Animals who continuously get them, bad skin odor, or bald patches in the fur may be experiencing other types of health problems.

If your dog typically has poor skin, itches a lot, or smells bad you will want to look into ways to boost their overall health. A poor diet, improper bathing techniques, and general poor health will sometimes cause repeated hot spot infections. Other possible causes are systemic disorders such as thyroid problems. Anytime a dog displays poor skin quality it indicates an underlying issue, in most cases canine eczema, that should be addressed.