Dog Sores – How To Treat Dog Hot Spots And Identify The Root Causes

Posted 09/04/2011 by



Oh no. Fido has got dog sores. And he’s feeling irritated.

Dog hot spots is a common health problem in our canine companion.

The open wound can become really nasty looking quickly. Red and oozing pus in a matter of hours.

Hence, it is important for you to notice the hot spots as soon as they appear. You want to take action to prevent the dog sores from growing bigger.

It’s helpful to learn how to care for dog hot spots. And to identify the possible root causes.

In this video, veterinarian Dr Karen Becker discusses how she treats dog hot spots naturally. And also help us identify the possible causes of dog skin sores.

You can watch the video or read the text below.

1. What is the medical name for dog hot spots?

The medical name for hot spots is pyotraumatic dermatitis or superficial pyoderma. Simply means inflamed, infected skin.

2. How do dog sores develop?

When a dog’s own bacteria over populates certain parts of his skin, hot spots occur. This happens more frequently in dogs that have a compromised immune system.

3. What can one expect when my dog develops hot spots?

Hot spots develop very quickly. You can have a healthy dog in the morning when you leave for work, and find your dog nursing a oozing, inflamed, irritated wound when you return home in the evening.

These dog sores can be painful. And sensitive to the touch.

4. What breeds of dog are prone to hot spots?

Any canine pal can develop dog sores. But the problem is most common in dogs with thick coat, dirty or moist skin, and dogs with allergies.

5. What should you do if your dog develops a hot spot?

First, treat the wound. Then identify the underlying cause.

6. How can I treat the hot spot?

Shave the affected area

Shave the hair in and around the hot spot. Mark the edges of the lesion with a Sharpie pen, so that you can tell if the wound gets any bigger.

If you don’t remove the hair, oozing pus and fluids get trapped in the hair. And makes it harder to heal.

NB: I had reservation using a Sharpie pen on a dog’s skin. So I looked it up. According to Wikipedia: “Sharpie is not meant for skin but is not dangerous.” Read more

Disinfect the wound

Use povidone-iodine to disinfect the wound. It is often sold by the brand name Betadine. You can buy Betadine in most pharmacies, and some health food store.

Dilute the solution with purified water until it’s the color of iced tea. Apply it to the wound using a soft wash cloth or gauze.

How often do you clean the wound? A minimum of 2 times a day. Your goal is to keep the wound clean and dry. If the hot spot becomes moist and oozing, you may need to disinfect the wound as often as every two hours (eg in the first two days).

Remember, you need to keep the affected area clean and dry, in order for it to heal.

Apply a topical solution

After you have disinfected the wound, apply a topical treatment. Dr Becker recommends colloidal silver, raw aloe, or a thin layer of manuka honey.

To soothe irritated skin, you can use a cool chamomile tea bag against the wound to provide some relief.

Do not use topical treatment with stinging or astringent properties. Solutions like vinegar or tea tree oil, while anti-microbial, can be painful when applied to an open, raw wound.

Make sure the dog is not able to get at the wound

Ensure that your dog is not licking or chewing at the hot spot. Let your dog wear a Elizabethan collar, a t-shirt, or apply a light wrap to the affected area.

7. Other hot spots care tips

  • See a vet if your dog develops a fever because of the hot spots.
  • Monitor the size of the wound. Is it shrinking, or growing bigger?
  • Monitor the affected area. Did it spread to other parts of the body?
  • Seek veterinary care if the dog sores did not improve after a couple of days.
  • If home remedy is effective, continue the treatment until the hot spot is totally healed.

8. What are the root causes of dog hot spots?

Allergic Sensitivity

This includes food allergies, environmental allergies, or flea allergies.

Underlying Painful Conditions

A dog may chew at a painful spot on his body which eventually develops into a hot spot. This can happen to older dogs with joint or hip pain. Or dogs suffering from neuralgia or sciatica. If this tingling nerve pain occurs in the limbs, the dog may chew on the ankle, or a toe. And the chewing can cause a secondary hot spot.

Emotional Causes

Boredom, separation anxiety, and obsessive compulsion disorder can affect your dog’s behavior. The emotional issues can cause licking and chewing which leads to hot spots.

In such cases, you may need to use behavior modification techniques to resolve the problem.
What home remedy do you use when your dog get the hot spot? How do you make your dog feel better?

To stop the itching, and promote healing, check out: Dog Hot Spots Treatment


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9 Opinions have been expressed on “Dog Sores – How To Treat Dog Hot Spots And Identify The Root Causes”. What is your opinion?

  1. Mike Spelman commented:

    Our Bichon has been diagonsed with Lick-Granuloma. It will not heal. Please help! Thank you, Mike

  2. Dog Dry Skin commented:

    Hi Mike

    Lick Granuloma is a form of self trauma in dogs. The condition has a medical and a behavioral component.

    Work with your vet to rule out any underlying medical problem.

    Often, the common cause appears to be psychological. Some dogs lick until the body becomes raw.
    Derma-Ionx will help with the skin problem as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

    Try to identify and address any stressors or trigger that might cause the behavioral issue.

    For example separation anxiety, conflict with another animal in the household, boredom etc.

    You might also want to consider giving your Bichon Anxietrex as it can help to relieve stress, anxiety symptoms, nervousness, fear and mood swings.

    Redirect your dog’s focus when you see your furry pal licking. Try positive reinforcement by giving a treat for the right behavior.

    Persevere and keep us posted.

  3. Emily commented:

    What would the dilution/strength be for the colloidal silver spray solution?

  4. Cynthia commented:

    This would be very important site especially to those people who have dog pets. Its not easy to take care of dog because they are like humans. They are need to feed and to take care of. They have also their own emotional feeling like human beings.

  5. Dog Dry Skin commented:

    Hi Emily

    This wasn’t mentioned in the video though Dr Becker suggested getting colloidal silver from a health food store.

    I’m not a veterinarian, so I’m not qualified to prescribe. But I checked online and found that people have successfully use 10 ppm(parts per million) colloidal silver for pets.

  6. Dog Dry Skin commented:

    They certainly do, Cynthia.
    And they also tune in to our emotions too.

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