Dogs are part of our family, and when they look uncomfortable and irritated, it is our job to find the cause and treat it. A common problem that most furry companions face is called a hot spot.

When a dog suffers from a hot spot, you will see that your dog will start to itch more than usual, and moist red spots will be found on his skin. This condition is very painful and even leaves bald spots on the dog’s skin.

If you want to know what is a hot spot? What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs? What is the treatment and how can you prevent hot spots. Then read this article to the end.


What Are Hot Spots?

It is defined as a skin condition in dogs that occurs more frequently during the summer season. In hot spots, the itchy spots appear as painful sores and can ooze out of nowhere and make your dog uncomfortable.

This condition can spread very quickly, so it is very important to diagnose it as soon as possible. Hot spots are not only unsightly but as long as they remain on your dog’s body, he will continue to experience pain and discomfort.

Technically, the term used for the hotspot is acute moist dermatitis. These painful spots appear in those areas where the skin has a bacterial infection or inflammation. At first, they look the same as small red spots from an insect bite.

But over time, the hot pots get bigger and also start to spread throughout the body. In worse condition, it becomes red, begins to ooze, and your dog will feel pain if the lesions are touched.

Hot spots mostly occur in the summer season, so be prepared in the hotter months and regularly check on your dog while grooming him. They can appear anywhere but occur most often on the limbs, head, hips, and on dog paws.

Being a pet owner, you should think that what causes these painful injuries is in the first place. If you know the causes well, you can easily treat hot spots.


What causes hot spots on dogs?

There are several reasons that cause hot spots or skin disorders in dogs. The most common reasons found are the following.


The hot spot can occur as a result of allergies, be it an inhalant allergy or a food allergy. Your dog will simply start to itch when he has an allergic reaction.

Ear infections

Sometimes an ear infection is the cause of the hot spot. Fungal or bacterial infections in the ear canal can be so irritating that your dog will start to scratch his ears and create hot spots. Hot spots are usually seen behind the ear, on the ear flap, and on the neck.

Insect bite

Hot spots also occur as a result of an insect bite reaction. Insects that sting and can cause allergic reactions are mites, fleas, bees, caterpillars, lice, wasps, mosquitoes, and ants.

Poor grooming

Hot spots can also occur as a result of poor dog grooming. If the dog’s fur remains puckered, your dog will start to bite the tangle and cause a wound as a result.

Tangled fur prevents air from reaching the skin, and the skin remains moist after a dog swims. That moist skin creates a perfect environment for hot spots.

Orthopedic problem

You will often see that dogs suffering from arthritis or back problems will usually lie on one side for a longer period of time. When a dog lies on its side for a long time, abrasions begin to appear at pressure points such as hocks, hips, and places where there is less muscle padding.

This condition is more common in older dogs because they have lost their muscle mass. When dogs feel pain at the abrasion site, they will start licking, and hot spots will form. Dogs lick or chew on the abrasion site, similar to how people rub their knee to relieve pain.

Inflammation of the anal glands

If the anal gland becomes impacted or infected, it results in an annoying and painful condition. Dogs, when they feel pain or irritation, begin to lick the area around the rectum resulting in hot spots on or under the tail.


Some dogs develop bad habits just like humans, and they do not bite their nails, but begin to chew and lick areas that are easily accessible to them. Normally, when a dog is lying down, its forearms and paws are placed under the face, so they start licking them, and hot spots on dog paws are formed.


Symptoms of Hot Spots

Common symptoms that appear in hot spots are redness, swelling, itching, pain, and drainage. Hot spots often have a bad smell. If the dog continually scratches or licks the infected area, hair loss, cysts, and further irritation will occur.


How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

To treat the hot spot, you must first eliminate the bacterial or fungal infection that will relieve the itchiness or pain. Before starting the treatment, the hair around the hot spot is trimmed, allowing the area to be easily cleaned, and it also aids in the application of topical gels.

Topical treatment is done with ointments, creams, and sprays to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation at the site. Your vet will also prescribe a course of antibiotics for three to four weeks. Some vets administer a short course of corticosteroids to relieve pain and itching.


How to Prevent Dog Hotspots

There are few things that can be used in terms of preventative measures to protect your dog from hot spots.

  • In the first place, always pay close attention to your dog’s behavior, and if you see any signs of stress or irritation, take your puppy immediately to the vet.
  • If your dog likes to swim, be sure to dry his coat when he returns. If moisture remains on the dog’s coat, it will result in a hot spot infection.
  • Use tick, flea, and lice preventative medications to keep your dog pest free.
  • Take your dog for a walk every day, so he doesn’t get bored or fidgety.
  • If your dog is allergic to any food or inhalant, keep him away from them, and if you notice any allergic reaction, consult your veterinarian immediately.



An easy way to prevent hot spots is to closely monitor your dog, and if you see any changes in the coat, fur, or any unusual markings, take a closer look and find out why. With the following preventative measures, you can’t always protect your dog from infection, but you can ease his pain by treating the hot spot early.