Dogs: Hot spots aren’t cool

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Photo above: the author’s two dogs.

Summer brings new issues for many dogs, and my dogs….

Heat, ticks, hot spots

Hot spots. What are these gross, disgusting things that suddenly appear on your dog’s body?

I have two Bullmastiffs now; a two-year old female, “Grace,” and an eleven-month old male, “Luke.” I have had dogs in the past, and this is my first, hands-on experience with these dreaded hot spots.

My 11-month old, Luke, suddenly sprouted these lesions. We thought he got into something in the yard, poison ivy perhaps? They were obviously bothering him. They seemed to be painful when I touched them, or at the very least, they were sensitive to the touch.

I had to investigate, not knowing exactly what they were, not ever having experienced these sores. I had heard of hot spots, so I quickly jump onto Google to see if that’s what they are? (Isn’t that what you’d do?)

Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick himself can start a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by allergic reactions, insect, mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom. (

Okay, so I have a good definition, and then, as I scroll down a little further, the gross pictures appear. I have to see if one of these pictures resembles what my baby boy might have (he’s 11 months and 110 pounds). Is this it, is this what ails my baby boy? The pictures were more progressive than what Luke had, but close enough so that I am confident he has hot spots.

After scrolling through more websites for more information, there doesn’t seem to be a viable home remedy.

Quick, call the vet!

Our veterinarian in New Hampshire is amazing!

In Massachusetts, if you call the vet, it’s an automatic appointment. Here in New Hampshire, or at least with my vet, they are quite willing to instruct me over the phone to administer a remedy before I have to rush them to the office. Country living … there are many perks.

So, they ask “do you have any Betagen spray?” “Yes I do.” (I have plenty of tools in the doctor bag, from previous visits to the vet). “Okay, spray that on the area. If it’s not cleared in a day or two, you need to come in.” Okay, I said, and promptly got my Betagen spray.

Luckily, Luke has been really healthy to this point, so is unaware of what’s to come. I coax him by offering a belly rub. Who doesn’t like a belly rub? He promptly rolls over. I rub his belly as not to cheat him of this luxury, while methodically planning to execute the spray in the exact spot. I know the moment of opportunity will be short lived.

I take my shot. I spray him. He flips over like an acrobat on the parallel bars, and walks (not runs) away from me, shooting me a look as if to say, “mom, that. was. not. cool.”

Well, success! The next day they were 95 percent gone, so I didn’t spray him again. I know, the next time isn’t going to be so easy, he’s on to me.

Two days later, the hot spots were completely dried up. We dodged one trip to the vet, which is always nice for the wallet.

I’m still checking him to make sure he’s hot spot free.

There is a residual effect of a home treatment, with me being the doctor. When Luke sees me coming, he tenses up, or runs to hide. I can read his mind, “what is she going to do to me now …?”

He no longer rolls over for a belly rub, not from me anyway. He’s lost all trust in me. Will he ever trust me again? I think with a few more carrots, or a nice yogurt ice cube, he’ll come around.

So, dog lovers everywhere, keep a look out for these nasty things known as hot spots! Get treatment immediately because they spread like wildfire!

Now with all the issues that come along with pets in the summer weather: heatstroke, ticks, we can now add hot spots to the list, awesome …

I hate to say it, but I think I’m ready for Fall!