No, that's not a cute way of saying your dog is hot. Nor is it the place where you get your Wi-Fi. It's a gross, painful sore that your pup can get.
Put down your lunch. (You'll thank me later.) A "hot spot" is a bacterial skin infection, also known as a “summer sore” or “moist eczema.” (Told you you'd want to put that sandwich down.) They can be red, scaly or even oozing. (Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth...)
What causes hot spots?
Lots of stuff causes them, but usually Mr. Moisture and Ms. Bacteria meet, fall in love, and get frisky. Turn up the heat, and it's a match made in heaven -- as the weather gets warmer, dogs are especially prone to hot spots. Simply licking a spot on her elbow or nervously chewing at her skin can give Bella a hot spot. Tick bites and unclean fur can also put her at risk.
"What to do, O wise one?" you ask?
- Keep the spot trimmed or shaved to let the air dry up the moisture and heal
- Treat with a mild antiseptic spray -- just make sure you use a product that's approved for animals; some human over-the-counter ointments can be dangerous for dogs.
- Put the cone of shame around your pup's neck to prevent further biting and irritating.
- If it doesn't seem to be getting any better, see your vet. He or she can prescribe hydrocortisone spray, cream, or oral antibiotics, and can also make sure there's not an underlying health issue at play.
What can you do to prevent hot spots?
One of the best things you can do is to keep your dog well groomed, especially in the summertime. Long-haired and curly-haired dog owners may even shave down their dogs in warmer months to keep them clean!
Another source of a lot of skin problems in dogs is actually their diet, so if your pup gets hot spots because of itching and chewing a lot, you may want to look at his food and make sure it's a high quality, meat ingredient based food and consider adding supplements like Omega 3’s. If she chews herself as an anxiety release, make sure your dog's getting enough exercise and attention, and give her plenty of toys and bones to chew on instead.
Now, back to that lunch...