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Hot Spots

May 25, 2016

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are red, moist, hot and irritated lesions. 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.

Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick them self 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, moist skin, and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom

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 affected.

To treat hot spots first, your vet will attempt to determine the cause of hot spots. Treatment may also include the following:


  • Shaving of the hair around the area which allows air and medication to reach the wound
  • Cleansing the hot spot with a non-irritating solution
  • 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 acids
  • Corticosteroids or antihistamines to control itching

Best ways to prevent hot spots:


  • Make sure your dog is groomed on a regular basis, especially during the spring and summer months
  • Follow a strict flea control program as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Maintain as stress-free an environment for your pet as possible.
  • 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.
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