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hot spots on dogs

Hot Spots on Dogs

dog wearing coneWhat are hot spots on dogs? A few weeks ago I noticed something strange about my dog, Freckles. She was licking and biting an area on her leg, excessively. She would not leave it alone and a hot spot developed.

I called my veterinarian and took her in to be checked out. By the time we got there, the hot spot had grew several inches wider.


What are hot spots on dogs?

A hot spot, also know as moist dermatitis, is a skin condition in which the skin has become inflamed and irritated. The skin will appear red and moist, and it will be itchy and painful.

Hot spots can increase in size very fast and the more your dog licks, chews, and scratches the irritated area, it will increase in size. They usually appear around the head, chest, and rear end of dogs.


What causes dogs to get hot spots?

Flea, tick, and insect bites can be itchy causing your dog to scratch and lick excessively causing a hot spot to appear. Skin and food allergies can cause excessive scratching and hot spots can develop.

Poor grooming can cause hot spots, especially if your dog’s coat becomes wet for an extended length of time. Dogs with long, thick coats are more likely to have matted fur and water can remain under the matted hair causing a hot spot.


How to treat hot spots on dogs?

See you veterinarian for treatment of the hot spot. They will shave the area around the hot spot to allow air to get to it. Then they will clean the area and antibiotics will be  prescribed. A topical medication may be applied or prescribed.


How to prevent hot spots on dogs?

There are things you can do to help prevent hot spots. Hot spots are painful for dogs and you should prevent them if possible although some breeds are more prone to hot spots including Golden Retrievers.dog in water

Use a good flea prevention regularly to keep your dog free of fleas and ticks. If your dog gets hot spots from allergies, your veterinarian can prescribe medications or refer you to a veterinarian dermatologist for further testing.

Regular grooming can help prevent hot spots, especially if your dog has long thick hair. This is especially important during the summer months as long hair can become matted with water trapped beneath and cause problems that result in a hot spot.

If the cause is a behavioral issue, see a professional behavioral specialist. Some dogs suffer from anxiety and will excessively lick, bite, or scratch causing a hot spot. A behavioral specialist will show you ways to reduce anxiety in your dog.


Our wonderful veterinarian took care of Freckles and she quickly recovered. She had to wear a cone around her head for 2 days to allow the hot spot to begin to heal and the itching to cease. Her hot spot has completely healed and her hair is growing back.


If your dog starts scratching, licking, or chewing in one area of it’s body more than normal, take your dog to your veterinarian and have your dog checked out. Your veterinarian can help your dog heal quicker.

Has your dog had a hot spot? Feel free to leave a comment below or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

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2 Comments

  1. HI. My dog has a hot spot right now. I am calling the vet tomorrow to make and appointment. We have tried different shampoos and topicals but nothing has seemed to work. Great info on what the hot spots are and what causes them.

    • Alice

      June 25, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Melissa, I tried to treat my dog’s hot spot too. It didn’t get better until we went to see her vet. I hope your dog is better now after seeing the vet. Hot spots can be very painful.

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