What is a hot spot?

Golden RetrieverA dog hot spot, also known as acute moist dermatitis, can occur in a matter of hours. You can leave one morning for work and come back to find your dog with a circular, red, inflamed area on part of his body. This area will cause your dog a great deal of irritation and your dog will lick, scratch, and chew the area to try to make it stop. Unfortunately, this practice only makes it worse.

It turns out that some breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to getting hot spots. The breeds with long, thick coats will typically hold more moisture that can lead to a hot spot. Golden Retrievers are also more likely than some other long haired breeds.

In our case, our dog came home one afternoon after wearing an Elizabethan dog collar for a couple of weeks (ear surgery). The collar kept her from scratching and gave her ear time to heal. My wife dropped the dog off at the house while she left to take care of a few things. When she arrived back home, our Golden Retriever had a huge hot spot on her right flank. In a matter of hours, she had chewed the area bald and was greatly distressed. She could not stop chewing herself. Fortunately, we got her in to the vet that evening and the doctor confirmed her hot spot was probably the result of a dog allergy. He gave her a shot of steroids and said it would take effect in a few hours.

Before she left, he put the cone back on her head. One look at her face and you could tell she was devastated to have to wear it again.

What types of dog shampoo can help?

First, if you suspect your dog has dog hot spots, it is very important to get them to a vet as soon as possible. Hot spots can spread if they are not properly treated. A veterinarian will clean the area around the hot spot so that air can get to it and it will dry out. The vet can also give your dog something to take care of the immediate discomfort.

We found a dog shampoo that helped as well. This contained colloidal oatmeal, lidocaine, and hydrocortisone. These ingredients, along with the medicines the doctor gave, helped reduce the inflammation and provide some temporary relief while our dog healed.

Even after your dog finds some immediate relief from medicines or a special pet shampoo, it is very important to make sure you find the underlying cause. Otherwise the dog allergy symptoms can occur over and over again.