As the weather warms up, our pets spend more time outside. Unfortunately, that means they have to deal with allergies, humidity, and bugs, which can lead to hot spots which can make your dog or cat miserable!

Hot spots are red moist oozing sores that can develop on your pets body. They typically start out very small, maybe the size of a dime or a quarter, and are very itchy. But they can rapidly expand and become very painful. They’re more common in dogs that have heavy coats and undercoats – like golden retrievers, labradors, collies or spaniels.

Anything that causes your dog to bite or chew at its skin can be the cause of a hot spot. The chewing can cause microscopic tears in the skin, allowing staphylococcus to enter the skin causing an infection. A very small sore can expand and be huge in a matter of hours, so you want to keep an close watch on them if you see a hot spot.

Hot spots can be caused by fleas, allergies, any sort of irritant on the skin, even tightly matted fur – really anything that can cause your pet to chew on its skin.

Hot spots are not something you want to try to treat at home, take your pet to your veterinarian for assistance. The first step your vet will take is to clip all of the hair off of the affected area. This can be difficult and may require sedation of your pet. Once the affected area has had the fur removed, your vet will use a disinfectant to clean the area and will then apply a topical antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory medication. Once properly treated, the hot spot should scab up and heal in a week to ten days.

There are some things you can do to help your pet avoid this painful condition:

  • Brush your pet to get rid of the extra fur and prevent matting.

  • Use a good flea medication on a monthly basis.

  • If they have allergies, make sure not to run out of their medication and give it to them as directed.

  • If you suspect that your pet has gotten into something that may be an irritant to their skin, give them a bath to wash the irritant off of them.

Summertime can be a lot of fun for both you and your pet, by taking some small measures, you can help ensure that it stays that way!