Our dog is driving us crazy! She is licking certain spots on her body obsessively and causing irritation (which only makes her lick the spots more!). What is going on and how can we get her to stop?
Bugged by the licking in Woodland Heights
It sounds like your dog has a “hot spot.” When a dog continually chews and licks at a certain spot, this behavior can lead to an infection in the upper layer of the skin otherwise known as pyotraumatic dermatitis, or a “hot spot.”
Allergies, insect bites could be culprits
Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained what commonly causes these areas of raw, red skin.
“Hot spots are typically caused by an inflammatory insult, including allergies, insect bites or other causes of itch in dogs and cats,” Diesel said. “We most commonly see hot spots on the back or rump of dogs due to flea-allergy dermatitis and behind the ears, due to underlying and unaddressed ear infections.”
Long-haired breeds more prone
While hot spots can occur in just about any breed of dog or cat, dogs with longer hair coats seem to be more prone to this skin condition, especially during warmer months when it is humid. To keep your pet’s itching and scratching from causing an even deeper skin infection, Diesel said it is best to have a hot spot evaluated by a veterinarian right away.
Breaking itch-scratch cycle
“Treatment often relies on breaking the itch-scratch cycle, addressing the infection, and keeping the pet from further traumatizing the wound,” Diesel said. “This may involve a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, topical antiseptics, and a local treatment for the wound. In addition, some sort of mechanical barrier, such as an e-collar or T-shirt, can help stop the pet from causing a deeper infection.”
Hopefully your dog’s itchy problem will get resolved soon. In the meantime, consider new changes that have occurred in your dog’s routine, such as a new food or new grass in your yard that may be causing the reaction. Hopefully your dog’s itch can finally get scratched once and for all!
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