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What Causes Hot Spots On Dogs?

Does your dog scratch, lick or bite itself?  Is it consistently, regularly itchy?  Have you because to notice red patches of open skin?  If so, your dog may be developing hot spots. Left untreated, this condition can get very bad.


dogs hot spotsDogs can suffer allergies much like people do.  Their allergies can be triggered by environmental factors, like plants and flowers, or by

ingredients in their dog food.  This can lead to dry skin and itchiness.  If your dog licks its paws a lot, that’s the most common sign of an allergic reaction (and not just that your dog is weird).

You can talk to your vet about medications for your dog, or switch dog foods so that your dog gets the best ingredients and not ones that commonly cause allergic reactions. 


So what happens if you don’t treat it?


Hot spots.


Dogs' hot spots are nasty and you definitely don’t want your dog to get them.  Luckily, they are easily treatable at home before they get to be a big problem, like this:


Hot Spot On A Dogs Paw - Irritated

Hot Spots Can Get Irritated Quickly


What Causes Hot Spots?


Hot spots can be formed in 2 ways.  If a dog is biting or scratching itself in the same spot over and over, it can end up with an open sore that gets tender, red and swollen.  That’s a hot spot.  Dogs can also get hot spots if moisture is left under their fur for a long time, because warmth + moisture =  germs.  So for example, if your dog has a long thick coat and he does not dry off quickly and completely after a bath, he can end up with spots under his fur that stay moist for a long time.  This can irritate the skin and cause hot spots.  And this isn’t just for dogs with long coats – many large breeds, such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, are prone to allergies and skin problems like hot spots.   


How To Deal With A Hot Spot


Left untreated, dogs' hot spots can grow from a small irritated spot to a large patch of open, oozing skin.  Which is too bad because, caught early, it never has to get that bad. 


To treat a hot spot early, you can use a dog hot spot treatment.  This will help treat the hot spot as soon as it starts and comfort your dog’s skin, so your dog doesn’t keep attacking it and making it worse.  If your dog has a long or thick coat, it’s also a good idea to shave the area so the skin can breathe.  This is best done by a professional who won’t further irritate your dog’s tender skin.


Try to isolate the source of the allergy. The most common way to do this is by changing their diet. Wheat and corn are common sources of allergies in dogs.  Most canine are not bred to be vegetarian, so read the main ingredients in your dog's food. Choose brand that rely heavily on meat and meat based ingredients. Be sure to involve your preferred veterinarian, since frequently changing a dog's diet may lead other issues, especially in senior dogs.


Read More: Best Dog Food For Itchy Skin


On a side note, this is a time when there is a medical reason to have a dog muzzle to prevent chewing.  They're perfect for keeping dogs from irritating, licking or biting their hot spots on a short-term basis.  Hot spots can look scary but are easily treated.  Just keep an eye on your dog so you can catch the symptoms early for quick treatment.  Your dog will love you even more for it.  


If you liked this, you may also like:
  Poisonous Foods Dogs Begs For - A popular list of the most common foods you shouldn't feed your dog.
  Bathing Dogs Made Easy - Nine tips for making bath time lots of fun for your dog (and easier on mom).

  Why Do Dogs Sneeze - Think dogs sneeze only because of alleriges?  Actually, sneezing sometimes means your dog wants to play. Learn how to tell the difference.

Photo credit:  Beverly & Pack

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