How to Treat Hotspots on Dogs

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Hotspots, also known as Acute Moist Dermatitis, are irritated, infected, and inflamed lesions on a dog’s skin that are an easy diagnosis due to their hot, red, and raw appearance. After you have confirmation that your furry friend has this skin condition, it is time to learn how to treat hotspots on dogs.

What makes this canine skin condition unique is that hotspots are a response to an irritant. The cause of these skin sores is from your dog self-inflicting a wound in reaction to something else that creates a bacterial infection.

Treating hotspots involves both healing the injury and identifying the underlying cause. It is imperative that you can figure out what the particular cause of the skin infection is for treatment to be effective. This skin problem can have multiple causes, ranging from an allergic reaction to an environmental allergen, a flea bite, or even a food allergy. Once the cause of the skin irritation is found, be sure to remove the substance to make sure the hotspot does not return.

It is important to note that it is best to consult with your veterinarian if you do not know to treat hotspots on dogs. These skin lesions are itchy and incredibly painful and it is important to treat them right away. Sometimes dogs will need to be sedated to clean the infected area thoroughly as it can be extremely painful for your dog.

How to Treat Hotspots on Dogs

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Step #1: First you need to remove the hair around the hotspot. This will allow the wound to breathe and dry out. Without removing the hair, it will continue to matte around the sore and cause moisture and more bacteria to grow. Be careful cutting or shaving the hair as this can cause more pain for your dog if done improperly.

Step #2: You will need to disinfect and clean the wounded area. You should use a mild, gentle cleanser with water or a non-irritating dog shampoo formulated for itchy skin in dogs. Be careful not to use a cleanser with any harsh chemicals or ingredients as this is painful and can further irritate the sore. Once you disinfect the hotspot, it is critical that you dry the area thoroughly.

Step #3: Apply a topical cream, spray, or powder formulated to treat hotspots on dogs. Depending on the severity of the lesion, these can be bought over-the-counter or prescribed by your veterinarian. These topical medications should have an antibacterial component to treat the infections and an anti-itching ingredient cream to alleviate your dog’s discomfort. If the topical treatment does not have an anti-itching ingredient, you may also apply a hydrocortisone cream or anti-itch spray to provide your dog extra relief.

Step #4: The last and most important step to ensure healing is to monitor your dog and make sure that he does not continue to bother the affected area. You’ll want to prevent your dog from biting, scratching, and licking the wound as this will further the infection. This will be the most difficult step as your pup will still be in pain until the skin heals.

Tips for Making Your Dog More Comfortable

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  • While this may irritate your dog, placing an Elizabethan collar on your dog while the hotspot is healing is the only way to completely prevent him from messing with the irritated skin. Having your dog wear a cone collar quickens the healing time. These cone collars have come a long way since the plastic version and are now available in soft fabrics and inflatable styles to make it as comfortable for your dog as possible.
  • If your dog is experiencing severe itching, you have the option to take him to your veterinarian for a cortisone injection. This dose will deliver quick relief and allow the wound to heal without your dog messing with the area.
  • You know your dog better than anyone. If your dog suffers from anxiety or does not handle pain well, it may be in your best interest to take him to the vet for treatment where they have the option to provide him with sedation for shaving the hair and cleaning the affected area.
  • If you have been treating your dog’s hotspot and the skin irritation is not healing or is worsening, it is critical that you take him to the vet. Some hotspot infections require more intensive treatment than others. Your veterinarian may want to prescribe an oral antibiotic or prescription topical medication.

Hotspots are a common skin ailment in dogs. These skin sores are itchy, painful, and all around unpleasant for your beloved pet. It is important to take care and know how to treat your dog’s hotspot to ease his discomfort as quickly as possible. This bacterial infection will not go away if left untreated.

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