How To Treat Hot Spots In Dogs

A hot spot, or acute moist dermatitis, is a common condition that causes skin lesions and is usually caused by scratching and licking. Hot spots can spread quickly and can be quite painful, so quick identification and treatment is important. 

Hot spot symptoms in dogs: Hot spots are usually located on the head, chest and hip areas and appear as red, oozing, painful spots accompanied by hair loss or may be covered with matted hair. The spots grow rapidly and dogs that suffer are often obsessed with licking and scratching the painful area/s and can act quite grumpy if you attempt to touch them. 

Hot Spot Causes Hot spots are caused by any number of things that irritate the dog’s skin causing scratching, biting and/or licking. Hot spots can be caused by any number of reasons, including: 

  • Allergies
  • Dirty coat
  • Flea bites
  • Mites
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Stress related licking
  • Boredom related licking
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Underlying medical condition or infection
  • Dogs with anal sac disease are more prone to the condition.

Hot spot diagnosis Because hot spots can rapidly spread and develop a deep infection, it is important to get prompt veterinary diagnosis and intervention. Since hot spots can be painful, it may be wise to use a muzzle if your dog is growling or very agitated over the spot. 

Hot spot treatment 

After your vet diagnosis the hot spot and any underlying cause of the hot spots, typical treatment will include: 

  • Antibiotics and painkillers
  • Shaving the area
  • Cool compresses
  • Topical sprays
  • Dietary supplement
  • Shaving hair around the lesion
  • Cleaning the hot spot
  • Medication to treat parasites 
  • Balanced diet to maintain skin and coat
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antihistamines for itching 
  • Diet for food allergies

Hot spot prevention Tips to protect your dog from developing hot spots include: 

  • Routine vet care
  • Healthy diet
  • Allergy control
  • Flea and tick control
  • Pest control in home and yard
  • Grooming
  • Controlling stress
  • Reducing boredom
  • Treatment for obsessive licking and biting
  • Proper exercise and play time