What are Hot Spots in Dogs?
spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are red, moist, hot and irritated
lesions that are typically found on a dog’s head, hip or chest area. Hot spots
often grow at an alarming rate within a short period of time because dogs tend
to lick, chew and scratch the affected areas, further irritating the skin. Hot
spots can become quite painful.
Why Do Hot Spots Occur?
Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick himself
can start a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by allergic reactions, insect,
mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and
constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Developing Hot Spots?
Dogs who are not groomed regularly and have matted, dirty coats can be prone
to developing hot spots, as can dogs who swim or who are exposed to rain.
Additionally, dogs with hip dysplasia or anal sac disease can start licking the
skin on their hind end. Thick-coated, longhaired breeds are most commonly
When Is it Time to See the Vet?
You should visit your vet for an exam as soon as you notice any abnormality
in your pet’s skin, or if your pet begins to excessively scratch, lick and/or
bite areas on his fur.
How Are Hot Spots Treated?
First, your vet will attempt to determine the cause of hot
spots. Whether it is a flea allergy, an anal gland infection or stress, the
underlying issue needs to be taken care of. Treatment may also include the
- Shaving of the hair surrounding the lesion, which
allows air and medication to reach the wound
- Cleansing the hot spot with a non-irritating
- Antibiotics and painkillers
- Medication to prevent and treat parasites
- E-collar or other means to prevent self-trauma as
the area heals Balanced diet to help maintain healthy
skin and coat
- Dietary supplement containing essential fatty
- Corticosteroids or antihistamines to control
- Hypoallergenic diet for food allergies
How Can I Help Prevent Hot Spots?
The following tips may aid in the prevention of hot spots:
- Make sure your dog is groomed on a regular
- You may also want to keep your pet’s hair clipped
short, especially during warmer months.
- Follow a strict flea control program as
recommended by your veterinarian.
- Maintain as stress-free an environment for your
pet as possible.
- To keep boredom and stress at bay, make sure your
dog gets adequate exercise and opportunities for play and interaction with his
human family and, if he enjoys it, with other dogs.
How Can I Make My Dog Feel More Comfortable?
Your veterinarian will best be able to prescribe the care and
medications needed to make your dog more comfortable and allow the hot spots to
heal. He or she may also recommend the use of an Elizabethan collar around your
dog's neck to keep her from biting and licking the lesions. Such a collar
should not be used as a sole means of treatment, since the skin lesions will
continue to be painful if left untreated.