Hot Spots on Dogs: Prevention and Treatment

What are Hot Spots?

Canine owners discuss hot spots on dogs daily in online forums. Contrary to popular belief, hot spots have been around for a very long time. Unfortunately, they have a notorious reputation for causing severe discomfort, this is the main reason why dog owners must pay close attention to their dog’s skin. Recognizing the symptoms is the key to keeping things under control.

A hot spot is a common skin infection that occurs in canines. When skin bacteria overwhelm the skin’s defenses, damage normally occurs on the surface. Intensive studies show that the skin damage takes place when the dog begins licking, gnawing, and scratching itself.

What happens to the dog’s skin during the early stages of the formation of the hot spots?

It becomes moist, red, and infected. It’s also important to point out that pus begins to run from the infected area. When this happens, crust will begin to develop over the hot spot.

There’s a strong possibility that your furry friend will lose hair in the infected area. Your dog may bark and pull away when you touch their irritated skin.

Dogs do not take the right approach when a hot spot develops. They get the impression that licking and gnawing helps relieve the pain associated with hot spots. However, this type of behavior causes more irritation and pain.

There’s an old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Hot spots are not as bad as they look. In most instances, they can be treated with topical treatment.

Why do dogs begin to lick and chew on themselves in the first place? This is an excellent question. The dog will instinctively scratch, gnaw, and lick on an area that is causing discomfort.

Here are several things that cause canine skin irritation: skin allergies, matted hair, flies, ticks, fleas, excessive skin moisture, skin scrapes, and humidity.

This may be hard to believe, but some dogs are driven by boredom. When boredom sets in, they may scratch and gnaw for entertainment.

Your veterinarian will make an earnest effort to diagnose the problem. The location of the hot spots may provide helpful clues.

Let’s say your dog has a hot spot on their hip area. This may be a sign of an anal gland infection, hip arthritis, or fleas.

What if your dog has a hot spot near their ear? They could have a nerve irritation, an allergy, or an ear infection.

Home Remedies for Hot Spots on Dogs


If you catch the early stage of a hot spot, you may be able to treat it with over-the-counter products. At this point, the medication should be able to deal with a small and non-painful hot spot.

What kind of over-the-counter product should you use? You can go with a medicated shampoo, a topical spray, or herbal therapy. You have several options at your disposal.

However, you should make certain that the product is safe for your beloved pet. If you’re in doubt, you can get in touch with your veterinarian.

It’s vital for you to avoid using human products for hot spots on dogs. This may seem like a good idea, but this can have an adverse effect on your dog’s health.

Human topical products contain zinc oxide. If your dog ingests this powerful ingredient, it could make them sick.

Here are the fundamentals of home hot spot treatment for canines:

  • If the infected area is small, carefully clip the fur covering the hot spot. This will make it easier for medication and air to penetrate the wound.
  • I know that may be a huge challenge, but you should discourage your canine from licking the hot spot.
  • Do not cover the infected area with bandages.
  • Do not use over-the-counter products that are not approved by your veterinarian. Check with your vet before starting the home treatment process.
  • Place a warm compress on the area three times daily for five to ten minutes. This will help keep the area clean and speed up the recovery process.
  • Go to the source to stop the irritation. If you don’t, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Preventing hot spots:

  • Flea control should be your top priority. A flea collar or flea shampoo will help fight off fleas.
  • Dry your canine thoroughly during the warmest months of the year.
  • Regular grooming will help keep your dog’s skin in tip-top condition.
  • If your dog gets bored, give them mental stimulation. Take them for a walk, or introduce them to a new exercise routine.
  • Buy dog food that has essential fatty acids. This will help maintain a healthy coat.

What should you do when hot spots get out of control?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 30% of canines who develop hot spots typically have another kind of skin disease. This could be a bite wound, a serious immune-mediated disease, or a severe skin infection. If you think things are serious, you should contact your veterinarian. They will access the condition and take appropriate action.

If the infection begins to spread, you should take your dog to the vet. They will sedate your dog. This will make it easier for them to clip and clean the hot spot.

Your vet may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medications, oral antibiotics, and oral pain medications. They may also use strong topical treatments.

The severity of the situation will determine your vet’s approach. For example, the vet will take massive action if your dog is in severe pain.

Some dogs may get one or two hot spots during their lifetime, while others may battle them throughout their life.

Final Word

Hot spots on dogs can lead to serious medical issues if they are ignored. Your veterinarian will not hesitate to tell you this is a serious subject that dog owners cannot afford to ignore.

If you notice the symptoms early, you may be able to use over-the-counter products to eliminate the hot spot. If you wait too late, you will have to take your dog to the vet. Luckily, hot spots are treatable. They cause discomfort, but they will not put your canine’s life in jeopardy.