Hot Spots in Dogs
Recognize, Treat, and Cure.

Hot spots in dogs are painful, itchy, and often seem to pop up over night.  They're also recurrent so once you see one, your dog is likely to suffer from other hot spots over time.  If your dog already has a hot spot it is important that you know how to treat it and prevent more from recurring.  Here's how.

Hot Spots by Another Name

Acute moist dermatitis

Pyotraumatic dermatisis


Hot spots in dogs are painful and extremely itchy for dogs.

Recognizing Dog Hot Spots

Hot spots are basically angry looking sores.  They are characterized as being red, hairless, inflamed areas of skin that are  warm to the touch and very painful and itchy for your dog. They're fairly easy to spot as most often the area exudes pus and can be foul smelling. You'll probably notice your dog obsessively itching, licking and biting at the area. 

You may also notice that they seem to appear out of nowhere. This is fairly typical as these sores start out as small circular patches that enlarge rapidly - frequently within a matter of hours. This is caused by your dog licking and biting at the area due to the extreme discomfort. 

Dogs Prone to Hot Spots

Any dog can get one of these angry sores, but they typically affect dogs with long thick coats such as:

  • Newfoundlands
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bermese mountain dogs are prone to hot spots.
Newfoundland dogs are prone to hot spots.

Treatment for Hot Spots in Dogs

The aim for any treatment of hot spots in dogs, is to relieve the itching, dry the area out, kill the bacteria and heal the skin.  

Step 1 - Stop the Itch

Wham Anti-Itch Spray

First step, should be to stop the itching.  If you don't, your dog is going to be licking and biting at it, which won't help the healing process and will cause it to spread.  And hot spots in dogs spread fast. 

Best bet is to get yourself an Anti-Itch spray that specifically targets Hot Spots.

I like Nature's Specialties Wham Anti-Itch spray as it has natural ingredients and works immediately.

16 FL. OZ $19.99
 8 FL. OZ $11.99

Step 2 - Bathe with Antiseptic Shampoo

Next you need to work on treating the skin with an antibacterial and antifungal agent.  I like Derma-Treat shampoo as it is relieves a whole host of irritations on your dog's skin not just hot spots.  

Although you may be seeing only one area of concern (the hot spot) there may be other issues with your dog's skin that you can't see under all that fur.  

That's why I recommend using a shampoo that is not only going to treat the hot spot, but will treat the whole skin and eliminate the root cause, preventing more from occurring. 

Besides, given that hot spots are usually secondary to a lot of other skin irritations (as listed above) it makes sense.

$16.99 16 FL. OZ

Step 3 - Treat the Area Topically

Finally, in conjunction with the baths and anti-itch spray, you need to treat the hot spot topically.  There are a couple of ways to do this, you can either use the conventional method, as below, or you can use a natural home remedy.  

I've always found that natural home remedies work very well for treating hot spots in dogs and usually work within a few days.  Most of the things you need will either be in your cupboard already or will be available from most supermarkets or at least a health food store.

My e-book "Natural Remedies For Common Dog Ailments" contains a complete list of natural remedies you can try to treat a hot spot.  Download your FREE copy now by signing up for my newsletter below:

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Conventional Method For Treating Hot Spots

The conventional method is based on using over-the-counter products and prescription medication prescribed by your vet.  Here's the steps to take:

  1. Expose the sore by clipping the hair around it as short as possible (1 inch)
  2. Thoroughly wash the sore with an antibacterial solution (Betadine or chlorhexidine) and leave open to the air.  (see  below for buying options)
  3. Apply an antibiotic cream or powder twice a day for 10 - 14 days (from vet)
  4. Apply spray or cream for the itching (try Wham - anti-itch spray)
  5. Oral antibiotics and corticosteroids (for the itching) may also be prescribed by your vet. 
  6. Find and treat the root cause (flea-bite, skin allergy, etc.)

Common Causes of Hot Spots in Dogs

There are many reasons dogs can be affected by this acute form of dermatitis, here are some of the most common reasons:

Dogs that swim a lot, live in a humid climate, or even just before shedding are also likely to be affected more.  Basically any situation that causes moist, dead hair to be trapped next to the skin can also cause a hot spot in dogs.

Dogs swimming in a lake.

Prevention of Dog Hot Spots

Preventing hot spots in dogs.

My Favorite Method

As you can see, there are many treatment options for hot spots in dogs but I personally recommend using a natural remedy topically along with a natural shampoo and anti-itch spray.  Do all three and you should have your dog free of hot spots in no time. 

No matter which method you choose, it's always a good idea to bathe your dog first with an antiseptic shampoo and moisturizing rinse to help with the overall itching.  I like Natures Specialties as they only use natural ingredients.

You'll also need to prevent your dog from licking or biting at the area whilst it is healing.  You can use an e-collar but that will drive your poor dog nuts with an itch he can't scratch.  That's why I prefer to use an anti-itch spray.  A bitter apple spray will also deter licking but be warned, bitter apple won't stop the itch!  

Finally, no matter which method you use to treat hot spots in dogs, you should also to try find the root cause and treat that to stop the sores from recurring.  You can find more information on how to do that here.

Other Pages You Might Like.....

Dandruff in dogs.
Dry skin in dogs.
Skin infections in dogs.
Skin allergies in dogs.

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