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Hot spots on dogs seem to appear out of nowhere and can get significantly worse very quickly. Before you know it, they might be large, painful lesions that ooze and cause your pup a lot of discomfort. 

Dogs are susceptible to a wide range of skin problems that can lead to anything from mild itching to hot spots. The team at Westarbor Animal Hospital has put together this hot spot guide to help you keep your pup from experiencing these unfortunate skin issues.

First Things First: What Are Hot Spots?

Hot spots are inflamed spots on a dog’s skin that have developed some sort of bacterial infection. The result is a large, unattractive welt that could continue to get worse without veterinary intervention. Also called acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are, unfortunately, pretty common for dogs. They tend to start off as small red spots and erupt into a larger problem very quickly. Luckily, with a little bit of attention (and help from your vet), hot spots on dogs are easily treatable and preventable. 

The Perfect Hot Spot Storm

Your dog’s daily habits might make him more susceptible to suffering from hot spots. Anything from an allergy to an irritation could create the perfect environment for hot spots. Some of the most common offenders are:

  • Flea bite dermatitis
  • Food allergies
  • Direct contact with allergens
  • Infections 
  • Stress, anxiety, depression, or other even boredom that leads to excessive licking
  • A dirty coat
  • Water trapped between the skin and the coat

Once a dog develops one of these other issues, he might lick, scratch, or bite at the area, which could increase his chance of developing a hot spot. 

What to Do If You See a Hot Spot on Your Dog

It’s always a good idea to regularly monitor your dog’s skin so you can spot any potential issues early. If you notice an area that looks infected on the skin, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Without medical attention, your pup’s hot spot might become more uncomfortable. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s diet and lifestyle to help the doctor narrow down the cause. Finding the catalyst for your dog’s hot spots makes it easier to find the right treatment to give him or her some relief. 

How to Prevent Hot Spots on Dogs

If you do not find the reason for the hot spots, your dog might be likely to get them frequently. Here are a few ways you can try to prevent them from occurring again in the future:

  • Get your dog tested for allergies: both food and external allergens can trigger a skin environment that’s perfect for hot spots
  • Groom your dog regularly: A well-maintained coat is less likely to have hot spots
  • Dry your dog after swimming: Make sure to towel dry your dog really well to get rid of any excess moisture that could get trapped near the skin
  • Keep your dog entertained: Add in a few extra walks or get some interactive toys to prevent licking from boredom
  • As long as your veterinarian says it is appropriate for your pet, you can put him or her on a supplement: Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your dog’s skin and coat

Whether you are dealing with hot spots, bad pet breath requiring a dental cleaning, or any other medical care for your pet, Westarbor Animal Hospital is here for you. We are proud to offer quality veterinary care for the pets of Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas. Call (734) 769-5391 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

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