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Why do dogs get hot spots? #doghealth #didyouknow #dogs #veterinarian

Welcome to our latest blog post, where we delve into the intriguing topic of why dogs get hot spots. As pet owners, it’s important for us to understand the various health concerns our furry friends may face, and hot spots are certainly one of them. In this article, we will explore the causes behind these uncomfortable skin irritations, shedding light on the reasons why our beloved dogs may experience this condition. So, grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into this informative discussion about dog health and the mysteries of hot spots. #doghealth #didyouknow #dogs #veterinarian


Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin condition that affects dogs. These painful and itchy sores can appear suddenly and cause immense discomfort for our beloved furry friends. But have you ever wondered why dogs get hot spots? In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for hot spots, shedding light on this common canine health concern.

Why do Dogs Get Hot Spots?

Hot spots can occur for various reasons, and understanding the underlying causes is crucial in effectively managing and preventing them. Let’s explore some of the leading factors that contribute to the development of hot spots in dogs:

  1. Allergies: Allergies, whether they are food or environmental, play a significant role in the formation of hot spots. Dogs can be allergic to a wide range of substances, including certain foods, pollen, dust mites, and fleas. When a dog comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system may overreact, leading to intense itching and scratching, which can create the perfect environment for hot spots to develop.

  2. Skin Irritation: Any form of skin irritation can trigger hot spots in dogs. This can include insect bites, flea infestations, ticks, or even excessive scratching due to boredom or anxiety. When the skin is constantly irritated, dogs will instinctively scratch or chew at the affected area, breaking the skin’s protective barrier and creating an ideal environment for hot spots to thrive.

  3. Moisture and Heat: Dogs that frequently swim or have thick coats that do not allow for proper ventilation are more prone to developing hot spots. The combination of moisture and heat creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which can quickly lead to the formation of hot spots. Additionally, dogs that are not properly groomed or have skin folds that retain moisture are at a higher risk of developing these irritating sores.

  4. Underlying Health Issues: Certain underlying health conditions can weaken a dog’s immune system and make them more susceptible to hot spots. These may include hormonal imbalances, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease, or other dermatological issues like seborrhea or atopic dermatitis. Dogs with compromised immune systems are often unable to effectively combat bacterial infections, making them prone to hot spot development.

Symptoms of Hot Spots in Dogs

Identifying the symptoms of hot spots in dogs is essential for early detection and prompt treatment. Here are some common signs that your canine companion may have a hot spot:

  1. Intense Itching and Scratching: Dogs with hot spots often exhibit intense itching and scratching at a specific area of their body. You may notice them incessantly biting, licking, or chewing at the affected spot.

  2. Red, Inflamed Skin: Hot spots are characterized by red, inflamed skin that may appear moist or oozing. The affected area may also be warm to the touch and emit a foul odor.

  3. Pain and Discomfort: Dogs with hot spots may experience pain and discomfort, leading to restlessness or changes in their behavior. They may become irritable or exhibit signs of discomfort when the affected area is touched or manipulated.

  4. Hair Loss: Due to the constant scratching and biting, dogs with hot spots may experience localized hair loss around the affected area. This can further exacerbate the condition, making it easier for bacteria to flourish.

Treatment Options for Hot Spots

To effectively treat hot spots in dogs, it is essential to address both the underlying cause and the symptoms. Here are some common treatment options that veterinarians may recommend:

  1. Trimming and Cleaning: The first step in treating hot spots is to trim the surrounding hair around the affected area. This prevents further irritation and allows for proper cleaning. The hot spot should then be gently cleaned with a pet-safe antiseptic solution to eliminate any bacteria.

  2. Topical Medications: To alleviate itching and soothe the hot spot, veterinarians may prescribe topical medications, such as hydrocortisone sprays or creams. These provide temporary relief while allowing the skin to heal.

  3. Oral Medications: In cases where the hot spot is severe or caused by an underlying allergy or infection, veterinarians may prescribe oral medications. These can include antibiotics to combat bacterial infections or antihistamines to alleviate allergic reactions.

  4. Addressing Underlying Causes: Treating hot spots involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes. This may include dietary changes, flea prevention measures, or allergy testing to ascertain specific triggers. By addressing the root cause, recurring hot spots can be minimized.

  5. Preventive Measures: Preventing hot spots involves regular grooming to ensure proper coat hygiene and removing any potential irritants. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, addressing allergies, and providing mental and physical stimulation for your dog can help prevent the occurrence of hot spots.


Hot spots can be a painful and discomforting skin condition for dogs, but understanding the causes and symptoms is key to effective treatment and prevention. By identifying allergies, addressing skin irritations, managing moisture and heat, and treating underlying health issues, we can minimize the occurrence of hot spots in our furry companions. Remember to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs.


  1. Can hot spots be contagious to other dogs?
    Hot spots are not contagious to other dogs. However, the bacteria that may be present in hot spots can potentially be transmitted to other dogs through excessive scratching or biting, so it’s essential to handle affected dogs with care.

  2. Can hot spots heal on their own without treatment?
    In some cases, hot spots may heal on their own if the underlying cause is addressed promptly. However, it is always advisable to seek veterinary attention to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.

  3. Are hot spots only common in certain dog breeds?
    Hot spots can occur in dogs of any breed, but some breeds with thick coats or skin folds may be more prone to developing them. Regular grooming and coat maintenance can help prevent hot spots in these breeds.

  4. Can hot spots be prevented through proper diet?
    While a healthy diet is crucial for overall well-being, it may not directly prevent hot spots. However, addressing food allergies or sensitivities can help reduce the likelihood of hot spot development in dogs.

  5. Should I apply any over-the-counter creams on my dog’s hot spots?
    It is essential to consult with a veterinarian before applying any over-the-counter creams or medications to your dog’s hot spots. Some products may contain ingredients that can further irritate the skin or may not be safe for use on dogs.