Hot spots or acute moist dermatitis is an immune-mediated response of the skin. Hot spots appear suddenly with no warning. If untreated, they can spread very fast. An allergic reaction, bug bite, poor grooming or underlying disease causes hot spots. They can also be caused by boredom or stress.
The infected skin can become painful, red, itchy, and stinky, and usually drains pus. When the dog’s skin itches, it licks and scratches the infected part leading to secondary trauma of the skin. The skin coat then traps moisture allowing an opportunity for bacterial infection. The infection causes a hot spot that leads to further irritation. There are some steps you could follow to help treat the hot spot. Here are five tips on how to treat your dog’s hot spot.
1. Clip the Hair
First, you have to trim the hair around the infected area to prevent it from getting into the wound and worsening the infection. Use hair clippers or scissors to clip a few centimeters all the way around the wound. Be cautious when cutting above the affected area since the skin is already damaged.
2. Remove the Pus
Use a moist cotton ball or gauze pad to clean off the pus. Dampen the cotton ball with warm water and gently wipe or dap to remove the discharge. It is crucial to remove pus before cleaning to avoid pushing pus further into the wound.
Even after cleaning the pus, the injury is still infected. Use sterile saline to disinfect the skin. You can purchase sterile saline at any drug store in the first aid section. Apply light to moderate pressure with sterile saline to irrigate the wound. You can make tiny holes into the top of a bottle or dispense through the nozzle accordingly to irrigate the wound. Betadine (povidone-iodine) could replace sterile saline, but due to its potent effects, it is advisable to sterile saline.
4. Bathe the Dog
Since the dog has been scratching, it is likely that hot spots may have spread to other parts of the body. Use a mild shampoo to clean off some of the loose bacteria and allergens after bathing your dog and use a raking brush to brush his hair. Make sure you break up the trapped balls of hair. Use a small dilute chlorhexidine shampoo as it will work the best. But, if you do not have any medicated shampoo, any dog shampoo will help.
5. Apply an Antibiotic Cream
A mild steroid or antibiotic cream is the most effective treatment for an uncomplicated hot spot. You can purchase the cream on any drug store. Neosporin is an effective and safe ointment, but dogs will lick it if not observed. In case your dog licks the cream, he is going to develop diarrhea. The best solution is to use a product that has both the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. The solution is quickly soaked into the skin preventing the dog from licking.
You can also use Dog Hot Spot Treatment to heal the infected skin.