Does Your Dog Have Hot Spots? What Can A Vet Do?

Does your dog have any red, itchy spots that they just keep licking and licking? They've probably lost hair from these patches, and they look red and irritated. Chances are, your dog has hot spots, which are a specific type of dermatitis. These spots start as minor irritation, but they then become infected with bacteria, which perpetuate the cycle of inflammation and itching.

Hot spots are hard to battle on your own, so you should take your dog to an animal care hospital to see a vet if they develop any. Here are some of the top treatments a vet may prescribe or administer.

Bathing and Cleaning

One of the first things the vet will do is generally trim the hair around the hot spot. This not only keeps the area clean but also helps prevent the hair from rubbing on the hot spot and causing more irritation. Once the area is trimmed, the vet will carefully clean not only the hot spot but also the area around it to remove infectious bacteria.

Allergy Medications

The vet will ask you some questions and otherwise assess your dog to determine the most likely initial cause of their skin irritation. In many cases, it is allergies. The vet will therefore likely prescribe an antihistamine or similar allergy medication to put an end to the itching and stop other hot spots from developing.


This is key. The antibiotics your vet prescribes will help your dog's body fight off the bacteria that have perpetuated the hot spot cycle. You'll generally be told to give your dog oral antibiotics for at least a week, if not longer. Make sure you keep up with the medication throughout the entire course of treatment, even if your dog's symptoms subside beforehand. This will help ensure the bacteria are fully cleared from the sore and do not come back.

A Cone

To stop your dog from continuing to lick the hot spot and make it worse, the vet will generally give you a cone to put around your dog's head. This cone will prevent your dog from bending around and licking themselves. Most dogs only need to wear it for a few days until the other treatments start taking effect to thwart the urge to itch and lick.

Hot spots can be a serious issue for dogs, so don't ignore them. Talk to your vet about these and other treatment options for your dog's itchy, red spots.

For more information, contact an animal care hospital.