While red spots and inflammation on a dog’s skin might be caused by allergies, there are more severe skin problems that can develop in the form of actual infections or hot spots where fur recedes, swelling occurs and the dog starts to show signs of infection, such as reduced appetite, lethargy, or general malaise.
Skin infections come in many forms. Superficial Pyoderma is the most common and the one your dog is most likely to experience – also known as hot spots. They are caused by the overgrowth of bacteria on the surface of the dog’s skin and are avoidable and very easily treatable if caught early.
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There are not usually any warning signs of hot spots. They will show up one day and need to be treated immediately. A hot spot is usually indicated by circular patches where the hair is missing and the skin gets swollen, itchy, and exudes pus. The dog will often lick, bite, and scratch to the point of causing injury or even bleeding to the area. Hot spots that are not treated promptly will often grow and make your dog very irritable and possibly sick.
Who Gets Hot Spots
Dogs most commonly susceptible to hot spots include those with heavy coats, histories of infections and allergies, fleas, problems with their anal sacs, grooming issues and hair tangles. Keep in mind, however, that even a perfectly healthy short haired dog can get hot spots out of nowhere so it is not a limited issue.
Humidity and warmth can increase the risk of hot spots due to trapped moisture and an infection can be formed after a dog sheds because they lick too much. Hot spots will most commonly occur on the legs, backside, flanks, and feet – the places where a dog can lick and bite most easily. Severe hot spots can also appear on the neck, ears and head as well though.
To avoid hot spots, target the cause of the problem and then treat it. If it is a grooming issue, make sure you’re combing your dog as often as twice a day. If they have allergies, see a vet and get them treated for the allergies – either with a new diet or with antihistamines. If the process seems to be psychological, you may need to get them more exercise and keep them busy so they don’t get so bored as to cause these infections.