What can I do for a small itchy red spot my dog just developed?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – my dog has developed a small itchy red spot-that he keeps licking-otherwise healthy with clean coat-I can’t work out the cause.


I have started to bathe it with bicarb in water. Can you give me any advice-do you think it is an insect bite? – Susan Ash


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your dog has a small itchy red spot on his skin – but you don’t know what caused it. You would like to know what the possible causes are and what you can do.

There are many causes for red itchy skin from a insect bite, bee sting, skin infection, splinter or other foreign body, or a condition referred to as a “hot spot” which is a localized are of skin inflammation and infection. In your situation – I have no idea what caused it.

If it is small, moist and localized, I’d recommend trying to gently clip the hair around it so it can dry. I’d clean it with soapy water and allow it to dry. I’d also recommend using an e-collar or bandage to prevent your dog from licking at it. You can probably also use a little bit of Neosporin type antibiotic cream on it as well. If your dog is extremely uncomfortable, the lesion is large, he won’t allow you to clip or clean it, or your dog is showing any other symptoms, I’d recommend that you see your veterinarian so they can properly evaluate and treat it.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Insect Bites in Dogs and Hot Spots in Dogs. This article on Itching might also be helpful.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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