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Hot Spots in Dogs

Hot spots in dogs, medically referred to as Acute Moist Dermatitis and also Moist Eczema, can seemingly turn up anywhere on a dog’s body and any spot affected has the potential to quickly spread. This unpleasant skin condition has got a number of causes such as flea bites, mosquito bites, stress and anxiety; however, the most common reason is usually a bacterial infection.

Common places for “hot spots” to occur would be the side of the face and also the flank areas. Younger dogs as well as Golden retrievers and St. Bernards appear to be predisposed, while there are rarely, if ever, found on cats.

Hot spots often arise during the summer, and dogs having matted, soiled fur have an increased risk. Keeping your long-haired dogs shaven during the summertime will help avoid any sort of moisture on the skin from being covered by a dense undercoat. Consistent grooming allows for quick identification of any developing hot spot;

Should the surface of the skin be moist, anything that irritates or penetrates the dog’s skin can produce the ideal environment for bacterial infections. The body’s response is to either cause itchiness and/or develop inflammation. Typically the itchiness leads your dog to lick and/or gnaw the spot which, unfortunately, further irritates the dog’s skin and fosters a cycle of itching, scratching and gnawing which can become relentless and difficult to stop. When left untreated, it will often worsen and the infection will enter into the deep layers of the epidermis. Veterinary assistance is highly recommended.

A diagnosis is typically evident from the clinical symptoms, however, your veterinarian may also look for any kind of contributing factors through allergy testing, as well as taking a bacterial swab or skin scraping to ensure that the selected antibiotic will specifically target the responsible bacteria. The good news is the majority improve with oral and topical antibiotics.

Preventative Measures:

– Provide your dog with an all natural diet without additives, colors or preservatives

– Keep your dog’s hair clipped or shaven, especially during the summer

– Brush your dog’s coat daily

– Bathe your dog regularly;

– Protect your dog from flea and tick bites with an anti-flea program

– Avoid exposing your dog to irritants such as smoke, household cleaners and detergents, fertilizer and   pesticides

– Vacuum your carpets and dust regularly to reduce respiratory irritants

– If your dog is prone to hot spots near the ears, clean the ears regularly;

– If your dog is prone to hot spots on the rear legs or near the anal glands , express anal glands on a   regular basis;

– Provide your dog with fresh, clean water daily to cleanse his system and avoid dehydration

– Detox your pet regularly to get rid of unwanted toxins

What you should check for:

– Itching or chewing on one area continuously

– An area of fur loss along with reddened moist skin accompanied with pus

– Scabs and crusts – Bordering fur damp from saliva

– If a hot spot is found on one of the dog’s back legs it is worth checking that the anal glands aren’t the   culprit causing their discomfort by expressing them.

Natural and Holistic Remedies:

These remedies are a safe and gentle option that support overall health and wellbeing. Homeopathic ingredients consist of Viola tri, Arum triph, Chamomilla, Cina and Comocladia, which offer relief from itchiness, scratching, redness and burning and restores the skin and coat back to health.


Trim the fur in the area of hot spot. The hot spot might be far more substantial than it initially seems. Trimming and exposing the area to air will produce a scab and speed up recovery;

Topical ointments: the spot should be disinfected using an antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine, along with a topical antibiotic cream application. There is little benefit should the dog simply lick the ointment away (use topical cream if the hot spot is on the face or a head cone)

Stop the scratching cycle. To permit the hot spot to heal, your dog will need to stop scratching at it. A steroid injection is often very effective; however, a brief run of oral steroids is usually necessary. Your dog is likely to experience an increased appetite and thirst while receiving corticosteroids; this is often a typical side effect. As a result, your dog may need to urinate more frequently than usual.

Oral antibiotics. The ideal way to address a deep skin infection would be to deliver antibiotics to the area through the blood stream. If the hot spot is fairly advanced, at least a 10-14 day course of a broad spectrum antibiotic is necessary to stop immediate recurrence.

Aggressive flea management;

Rule out food or environmental allergies etc.


Disclaimer: All content provided on, is meant only for educational purposes on health care and medical issues that may affect animals or pets and should never be used to replace professional veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any veterinarian or other medical health care practitioner’s advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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