Treating a Hot Spot on a dog
Had one of my clients bring their dog in today for treatment of a hot spot. A hot spot is sore on your dog. It is a bacterial infection of the skin usually caused by trauma. Now most of the time it is self-induced trauma from licking or scratching due to allergies.
About 80 to 90% of the time you can take these simple steps to treat a hot spot –
1. Shave the hair from the area. Hair can trap moisture at the affected site and continue the irritation to the sore. Remove the hair will allow the hot spot to dry.
2. Wash with an antibacterial soap. Cleaning the affected area twice daily with an antibacterial soap to kill the bacteria causing the continued irritation and infection.
3. Apply an astringent to help ease the itching. A natural astringent that you may have at home is a tea bag. Place a cool but moist tea bag on the affected area several times a day. The tannic acid in the tea acts as an astringent. Otherwise other natural astringents are lavender oil and tea tree oil. There are other preparations your veterinarian may have to help relieve the itching. Do not put an ointment on the area as this will not allow the area to dry.
4. Prevent the dog from scratching and/or licking the area. If you can not stop the self-induced trauma the hot spot will not heal. Use a device to prevent the dog from irritating the spot more, such as an Elizabethean collar or even a t-shirt if the spot is on the body. Do not bandage the area because again it needs air to get to the spot to dry it out.
If you have a dog that has a hot spot that is one of the 20% that does not resolve using these simple methods, you will need to bring your dog to the vet and it will possibly need oral antibiotics to help clear up the secondary underlying infection.