What are Hot Spots in Dogs?

Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention

What are Hot Spots? 

Although commonly referred to as Hot Spots, the medical term for the inflamed patches of skin you may be noticing on your dog are called Acute Moist Dermatitis. A bacterial skin infection that can result from anything that irritates your dog's skin and causes them to scratch, lick, or bite the affected area.

What Causes Hot Spots in Dogs?

Hot Spots are triggered by self-trauma such as; scratching, licking, or chewing on irritated skin. Any skin condition that causes itchy or irritated skin can result in your dog developing Hot Spots.

Common Skin Conditions That Cause Hot Spots 

  • Parasites
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  • Food Allergies
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Ear Infections
  • Skin Infections
  • Problematic Anal Glands
  • Contact Irritants
  • Stress
  • Matted or Dirty Coat
  • Moisture Trapped in the Coat

Many conditions that result in the development of Hot Spots are chronic and if not managed appropriately, Hot Spots are likely to become a recurrent issue. If you believe your dog is suffering from a chronic condition, consult your veterinarian to ensure a proper treatment method is found.

Treatments for Hot Spots

To treat Hot Spots in dogs, it would be beneficial to first consult your veterinarian to find if a skin condition or allergy is causing your dog's irritated/ itchy skin. After it is determined what is causing your dog to scratch, lick or bite their skin, a treatment method will be recommended! 

Treatment for Hot Spots typically consists of a combination of a few different treatment methods. Treatments include the following: 

  • Clipping hair around the area
  • Cleaning the affected area with gentle antiseptic solutions
  • Applying topicals
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids to control inflammation and decrease itching
  • Medicated Wipes 
  • Putting a Elizabethan Collar (cone) on the pet to prevent scratching 

Preventing Hot Spots in Dogs

The most effective way to prevent Hot Spots from becoming a recurring issue is to find and treat the underlying cause. Parasite prevention, treatment of skin infections, and allergy management are great ways to help your dog stop scratching, licking, or biting their skin.

If your dog is excessively licking, biting, or scratching due to boredom, providing more active play time and daily exercise will likely solve this problem!

    Grooming to Prevent Hot Spots in Dogs

    A solid grooming routine and keeping up with your dog's hygiene requirements such as; daily brushing, baths, nail trims, and ear cleaning can help to promote healthy skin! If your dog enjoys swimming or is frequently bathed, ensure your dog's coat is dried completely. This will help reduce the chance of an infection developing!