How to treat Hotspots in Dogs

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Hotspots swollen sores on the skin surface. They are one of the most common skin conditions in dogs, especially during the summer months. These painful, swollen sores can appear invisible and often spread quickly. Sure, hot spots may be difficult to deal with, they can be treated and prevented with appropriate management.

An Overview

Hotspots are also known as acute dermatitis, hot spots are localized areas of skin inflammation and bacterial infections. Often the hot spot will start as a small red spot that owners can be mistaken for insect bites. Unlike insect bites, the hot spot will expand rapidly and spread, growing into a hot, red, blue, and painful sore.


What Causes Hotspots?

These sores are often caused by scratching, licking, or chewing on the affected area. The irritation that develops on the skin causes inflammation and bacterial infection of the second. Unfortunately, this self-harm makes the area more attractive, creating a cycle of biting and scratching that furthers it. Therefore, any situation that causes your dog to feel bitten has the potential to lead to a Hotspot. Common causes of cycle biting / scratching dogs include:


  • Parasites
  • Flooding dermatitis allergy
  • Food bodies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Ear or skin diseases
  • Anal sac disease
  • Contact irritants
  • Depression or boredom that leads to excessive licking
  • Dirty coat or matting
  • Moisture trapped in a blanket for swimming or bathing


Many of these conditions are chronic problems that can lead to recurring hot spots if not properly managed. For treatments of hotspots, identifying and addressing the root cause of your dog’s hot spot is one of the most important factors. That also works for preventing future skin problems.

Other brands such as Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Labradors, and Rottweilers tend to improve because of their larger coats. They also have a high probability of occurrence during warm weather and periods of high humidity. Dogs that are frequently wet from swimming, bathing or bad weather are more likely to have hot spots due to excess moisture trapped on the skin with their coats.


Many skin conditions have similar symptoms, so it is important to consult a veterinarian if you are worried about your dog. Hotspots are visible areas of redness, swelling and hair loss. They can appear anywhere, but are most often seen on the head, arms and buttocks. The affected area is moist and can produce pus or fluid, which can lead to cracking and thinning of surrounding hair. The  hotspot can become painful and itchy, and will grow faster as the dog’s itching continues to plague the area.

Treatment for Hot Spots

If you suspect your dog may have a hot spot, the first step is to visit a veterinarian. While it may be tempting, many dog parents make the mistake of waiting for a hot spot to resolve on its own, delaying treatment will only make the problem worse. In order to properly treat the hot spot and prevent it from recurring, your veterinarian will need to determine the cause. They will thoroughly check your dog, and may recommend additional tests such as skin removal to look for parasites. Once the basic cause of your dog’s bite has been identified, your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

The usual treatments involve a combination of the following:


  1. Cut the hair around the area to prevent growth.
  2. Clean the affected area with mild antiseptic solutions such as chlorhexidine.
  3. Prescribing topical or oral antibiotics to treat secondary viral infections.
  4. Determining topical or oral steroids to control inflammation and reduce itching.
  5. You use medicated wipes or solutions to thoroughly clean the area daily.
  6. Wearing a collar  to prevent further scratching.

Fortunately, once your veterinarian has started a tropical treatment, most dogs progress quickly. In most cases, the hotspot is resolved in less than 3-7 days after the start of treatment.

Preventing Hotspots

The best way to prevent more wounded areas from occurring is to identify and address the underlying cause of your dog’s bite. Proper protection against infections, treatment of skin diseases, and allergies are important to stop scratching and prevent skin irritation. Good hygiene and cleanliness can also help. Dogs that swim or bathe regularly, it is also important to make sure that their coats are properly dried after these activities.

If your dog’s stress or boredom is compelling it to lick then increasing daily exercise and active play time can reduce this problem. Using natural nutrients such as jigsaw puzzles or slow-moving feeders is a great way to keep dogs mentally refreshed, or you may not be able to play with them. Your dog will love the extra work and will be healthier too.

Adding fatty acids is another way to prevent and control skin diseases. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are mostly found in fish oil. These fatty acids not only contain anti-inflammatory properties, but also help promote a healthy skin barrier, making your dog more susceptible to infections and infections. The aloe vera extract can also help reduce damaged skin and reduce itching, but it is important to make sure that your dog does not absorb the aloe, which can lead to runny and light.

The hotspots are a serious problem for your dog. They cause itching and pain, and may be a recurring problem if the underlying condition is not addressed. Fortunately, with proper care, your dog’s hotspot will resolve quickly and will not lead to permanent injury.

Wendy Hendriks

Wendy Hendriks

This is Wendy Hendriks From iClean Internationals Ltd. Life-long learner, committed to working hard at self directed learning environment.

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