How To Treat Hotspots On Dogs

Hotspots on dogs are a type of bacterial skin infection (usually caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus intermedius) that are extremely painful, red, hot, moist and often contain pus.They are sometimes referred to as pyotraumatic dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis.It’s incredibly important that you can recognise the beginning of a hotspot so that you can instigate immediate treatment before they cause sepsis (blood infection) in your dog.Learning how to treat the begining signs of a hotspot can prevent your dog from suffering a lot of pain, not to mention a lot of time and money from vet fees.Some dogs are more prone to hotspots than others and for some reason, cats don’t seem to get hotspots.In this article, you will learn what hotspots are, how to recognise a potential infection on your dog’s skin and most importantly how you can treat a hotspot with medications you have at home. 
how to treat hotspots on dogs

Dogs with a corkscrew tail are often affected by skin fold dermatitis that looks just like this hotspot on a bulldog.

What Are Hotspots On Dogs

Hotspots are moist skin infections sometimes called acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis.Basically, a hotspot is a common term for a skin infection.Hotspots generally occur around the neck (collar region), under the ear or on the rump around the tail base, although they can occur anywhere on your dog if the skin is compromised.Hotspots occur when the surface of the skin is compromised and bacteria enter the wound. This often happens when your dog is itchy.Constant scratching can result in a small break in the skin that allows bacteria to enter.The dog may lick at this area, or moisture from blood or serum caught in the coat can act as a nice medium for bacteria to grow.Before you know it there is a nice infection that spreads under the skin leaving the dog in pain.In severe cases, the bacteria can multiply so much that the dog becomes very sick with blood poisoning from bacterial toxins.It is very important to act quickly if you see your dog with a moist skin infection.Anything that makes your dog itch can result in a hotspot:
  • Allergy – food or contact
  • Fleas or mites
  • Wet damp skin (especially saltwater)
  • Ear infections
  • Humid weather
  • Long hair coat

What Does A HotSpot Look Like?

Hotspots usually develop under matted hair, are red, moist, and often painful and itchy.They ooze and sometimes have quite a smell about them.It is very important to treat any sign of skin infection quickly to prevent a nasty bacterial infection.

How To Treat Hotspots On Dogs

To receive a detailed handout on how you can treat your dog for a hotspot, download the Itchy Dog handout.This handout describes in-depth how to treat these skin conditions.

how to treat hotspots in dogs

How To Prevent Hotspots On Dogs

The key factors involved in preventing future hotspots is to:
  1. Prevent causes of itchy skin
  2. Keep skin dry
  3. Keep hair well-groomed
If you can do this then you are well on your way to preventing hotspots. If you need more help and specific advice about your dog, head on over and book a consult with one of our vets.