Scrapes, scratches, and skin irritations are part and parcel with dog ownership. Here’s how to be prepared when little accidents happen.
There are quite a few ways that your beloved pooch can get hurt, especially when it comes to skin injuries and irritations. From minor cuts and burns, to scrapes and allergic reactions, knowing what can cause these problems and how you can provide immediate treatment at home will help prevent them from escalating.
Hot spots are moist, painful, red, irritated, and – you guessed it – hot lesions that can develop on a dog’s skin, usually on the chest, hip, or head. They are also known as acute moist dermatitis, and often start out as small spots on the skin that will eventually increase in size significantly if left unchecked. In fact, they can grow rather quickly, especially if your dog ends up chewing, scratching, or licking them, causing further irritation. So what is the underlying reason for these painful lesions to pop up? A hot spot could be caused by anything that ends up irritating your pet’s skin, forcing them to lick or scratch themselves. Usually, it’s either a bacterial infection or skin inflammation that leads to the forming of the oozing, wet lesions on your dog’s sensitive skin.
Some of the common causes of the infections and inflammations that lead to acute moist dermatitis include insect bites and mites, fleas, allergies, and poor grooming. Often, it’s a combination of all bundled into one- an allergic reaction to an insect or flea bite which was made possible by subpar grooming. However, sometimes there isn’t a more serious cause for hot spots- the reason can be quite straightforward. If your dog is bored, stressed or anxious and constantly chewing or licking their skin, a hot spot could develop in that case as well. The combination of saliva and trauma to the skin from chewing and aggressive licking is irritating enough for lesions to form on sensitive skin. Hot spots are also more common during humid, warm weather, so you might notice your dog dealing with this irritation during the summer, which is also when insects and fleas are prevalent.
In addition to keeping an eye on your dog’s skin to ensure it isn’t irritated or injured, you should also check their paws for injuries and irritations. While paw pads have a rougher texture naturally, it doesn’t mean they are not sensitive at the same time. Extreme temperatures are one of the most common reasons why your dog’s pads can be sore or hurt. During summer months, a simple walk around the block can lead to a world of trouble, as the hot asphalt can burn your pet’s pads. Similarly, during winter, snow, ice, and salt can also take their toll, causing frostbite and surface cuts. Of course, elements are not the only thing to be on the lookout for when it comes to paw pads. Bacterial and fungal infections are a common paw issue, and can often evolve into issues with the pads, as well- so keep an eye on those pooch paws and keep them clean and well-protected at all times.
There are two common ways to protect your dog’s paws when they are outside either in the hot temperatures of summer or the colder winter weather. The first is a popular choice for those that enjoy winter sports like skijoring and dog sledding and that’s the use of paw wax. Paw wax creates a protective barrier on the surface of your dog’s paw pads, preventing snow and ice from collecting while also allowing your dog to perspire normally through the paw pads to better regulate their temperature. For this reason, it’s a popular choice for those that enjoy winter sports. The wax does wear off over time, so it must be reapplied regularly.
The other option is to purchase a pair of high-quality dog booties. You can find boots that offer a durable rubber sole that will protect your dog from the rough, uneven terrains that they can encounter during the winter as well as the hot asphalt during the summer months. They are an investment; however, they work well to prevent unnecessary pain and injuries. In addition to keeping your dog’s paw pads safe, they also offer additional traction when navigating slippery surfaces.