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What are 'Hot Spots' And How does it Affect my Dog?

August 14, 2018

Chocolate labrador Playing at the Beach. What are Hot Spots on Dogs?

Is your dog overly itching or biting themselves? 
Does their skin look irritated and sore? 
Have they been swimming or been out in long grass lately?
Are they long coated or known to have allergies? 
It's certainly worth checking to see if they have any Hot Spots! 
**Warning, this Blog post will contain graphic images**


Moist Dermatitis or Canine Pyoderma is more commonly known as 'Hot Spots'. It is a skin condition in dogs where the skin under the fur has become irritated and lead to inflammation and infection. Common areas in which they can occur is on a dog's Chest, Head, Under Ear or Hip area. The spread of Hot Spots is very quick because dogs tend to lick or bite themselves when they have an itch, but in this case, it will simply irritate the skin further spreading the infection. 

What to Look Out for: 

  • Reddened Skin 
  • Oozing Puss Sores 
  • Moist Skin 
  • Possible Hair Loss
  • Strong Smell from Wound

This infected area will be very painful for the dog and itchy. Continued scratching or licking of the infected area will cause further problems for the dog. 

Hot Spot Scab on Dogs

How do Hot Spots Occur: 

This infection can be caused by anything that causes itchiness to the skin such as Fleas, ticks, bites, food allergies, environmental allergies, skin abrasion, poor grooming, over-scratching or biting due to stress or boredom.

Hot Spots can form due to the effective skin being weakened and open to bacterial infection. This infection will be present deep within the dog's skin and can be hard to see at first. 

Which Dogs are Most Affected by Hot Spots: 

Thick coated or long-haired breeds are among the most common dogs to develop Hot Spots, however under groomed dogs or dogs with dirty or matted coats are prone to developing the infection. In addition to this, if your dog swims a lot or is exposed to rain or extreme heat you should also be checking your dog regularly for Hot Spots. 

Labrador With Hot Spots after visiting the Vets

How do you Treat Hot Spots: 

As with any infection, it needs to be treated straight away, to relieve your dog of any pain or itching, contact your vet immediately. They will most likely shave or clip the fur surrounding the infected area, clean it and apply the appropriate medications - these will contain something to kill the bacteria and to help with pain and inflammation. They may also supply antibiotics and put the dog on a dietary plan. Following an examination of your dog, they should hopefully identify what caused the initial reaction. 

Dog at the Vets

After treatment keeps an eye on your dog to make sure they do not scratch or lick the wound, they may be given a cone collar to prevent this. Keep them medicated, bathed and cool. 

Sadly due to Kye's Hot Spot placement, he could not wear a cone so Mum Barbra tried him with some sock-mittens, though he didn't seem too pleased...

Dog with Socks on

How do I prevent Hot Spots? 

  • Keep your dog's hair clipped short during the warm months 
  • Groom your dog regularly  
  • Make sure your dog is in a stress-free environment 
  • Stop your dog getting bored with exercise and play opportunities - especially when they are on their own. 

Shaven Dog with Hot Spots


A week on and Kye is looking much healthier and having regular check-ups with the vet.

Happy Dog on the Beach


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