If you are like many dog owners, you cannot wait for summer so you can get out and enjoy long afternoon hikes and days at the beach. However, if you notice that your dog is consistently licking a specific area of their skin, to the point where there is a bald spot forming, the issue might be a hot spot. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about hot spots. 

What Exactly Is a Hot Spot?

Otherwise known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are small areas of infection that commonly occur in the summer. The infection will often look like a small red sore. However, as the dog begins licking the spot, which is a common response to an injury, the moisture from the dog's mouth will make the hot spot spread and become worse.

Hot spots can occur for several reasons. For example, a common cause of a hot spot is a parasitic infection. A hot spot might also form if the dog is injured, has an ear infection, or is not groomed on a regular basis. A hot spot can even form after your dog goes swimming or is given a bath. If your dog is listless and begins licking their paws out of boredom, it can also lead to a hot spot.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hot Spot?

The most obvious symptom of a hot spot is a noticeable sore on the dog's skin. A hot spot will spread quickly, and you might notice that the fur over the hot spot has fallen out. Additionally, your dog will constantly lick the area and you might notice the hot spot feels warm to the touch and there is fluid leaking from the affected area.

How Will the Hot Spot Be Diagnosed and Treated?

If you suspect your dog has developed a hot spot, contact your veterinarian right away. If left untreated, the hot spot could spread and lead to a serious infection. The veterinarian will perform an examination and typically, that is all that is required to provide a positive diagnosis. The hot spot will be treated by first cleaning the affected area and removing any matted fur.

Next, the veterinarian will apply an antibiotic ointment to the skin to treat any bacterial infection. If the hot spot is caused by an allergic reaction, then a prescription allergy medication can help prevent the itching that led to the hot spot.

Hot spots are a common condition in dogs that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Contact your veterinarian with any further questions.