All it takes is one flea bite to turn your dog’s life into a
non-stop itchy nightmare. Seriously, just one bite can cause
Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or FAD, which then can lead to hot
spots on dogs and extreme discomfort for your pet.
What are Hot Spots on dogs?
Hot spots on dogs are infected patches of skin, usually found
in a circular shape. Most times, these hot spots start small,
caused by a flea bite or another type of irritation. However,
what was a tiny welt soon can soon become a big wound if your
dog keeps scratching and licking at it.
And your dog is going to want to scratch at it. The hot spot is
going to itch so much that it will drive your pet nuts!
Not to worry. There are several steps you can take to prevent
FAD, and there are several treatment options available if your
pet already has a hot spot.
Treat your pet for fleas
Treating your pet for fleas is the best way to make sure they
don’t get FAD. Spot on treatments
like K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus for Dogs will kill the
fleas currently on your pet, as well as the pest’s larvae.
These treatments also provide a month’s protection with each
Many veterinarians suggest that you treat your dog year-round
for fleas and ticks, but if you do not wish to do so, you can
use our Flea & Tick Map, which uses historical weather data, to
figure out when your region’s flea season is the most intense.
If you choose to do this, you should begin treatment at least a
few months before the peak of flea season to ensure your pet
has proper protection.
Treat your home for fleas
Treating just your dog for fleas sometimes isn’t enough if
there has been a bug infestation. Fleas in your yard and your home can jump
back onto your pet and make their life miserable yet again.
These pests have a life cycle
that can seem to go on forever, with some staying in the pupal
stage for up to 12 months before emerging.
This means it can be important to treat your house for fleas.
You can use various powders and foggers to get rid of the pests
and their eggs, which may be in the corners and cracks of your
home. In the most serious cases of infestation, your treatments
for your house should be repeated every two weeks for six
In your yard, you can combat fleas by keeping the grass short
and watering regularly. You can also use chemical remedies,
such as an Insect Growth Regulator, to kill whatever flea
population you might have living out there.
Treating the Hot Spot
If your dog already has a hot spot, you should take them to see
a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will hopefully be
able to prescribe a treatment that will get your dog healthy
Before your visit to the vet, here are three things you can do
to make your pet more comfortable:
- You can clip the hair around the hot spot to allow more air
to reach the inflamed area.
- You can use a gentle dog
shampoo to clean the area.
- You can prevent your dog from licking the hot spot because
their tongue carries bacteria and can be rough on the irritated
area. In some cases, keeping your dog from licking the spot may
require a cone collar.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Protect Your Dog's Skin
dermatitis (FAD) is the most common skin condition in
dogs. Dogs can develop this allergy as early as their first
year, and it most commonly starts when dogs are young - up to
five years old. Dogs of any age can develop FAD, though, and
the symptoms of flea allergies will worsen with age.
parasites that evolved to puncture the skin of dogs for their
blood meal. Dogs typically react to flea bites with itching,
redness, and inflammation. But dogs who are allergic to flea
bites will have more severe symptoms and a much stronger,
prolonged sense of itchiness.
Dogs who are hypersensitive to flea bites are reacting to
antigens in the flea’s saliva that their immune system does not
recognize. Once bitten by a
flea, the compounds in the flea saliva pass through the
dog’s skin, causing a reaction that produces severe itching,
redness, and swelling.
When an allergic dog is exposed to flea saliva, the area will
become red, bumpy, and inflamed. With even one or two bites,
the dog will feel constant itchiness and discomfort. And in
severe cases, dogs will develop lesions and experience hair
loss. Dogs who are allergic to flea bites often do more damage
by scratching and biting the inflamed skin affected by the flea
saliva. This creates an environment on the skin that is ripe
for infection and secondary disease.
Flea allergy dermatitis cannot be cured, though desensitization
therapy, like allergy shots, is an option. Removing fleas
completely is the most effective way to protect your dog from
flea bites, thus eliminating the cause of the skin condition.
There are many ways to prevent fleas from infesting your pet,
home, and yard, as well as treatments to relieve skin
conditions associated with the allergy.
This information is for informational
purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the
professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your
veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been
verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.