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Hot Spots On Dogs : What To Look For And How To Treat Them

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Hot Spots On Dogs : What To Look For And How To Treat Them

Dog hot spots are an external painful skin problem that many dogs run into in many cases. The technical term for hot spots is moist dermatitis of the acute, moist variation. The phrase hot spot can be compared to the concept of being in the hot seat, or of a subject matter being referred to as a hot topic. Since it is a source of attention for your pup, acute moist dermatitis just happened to be called a hot spot, and the nickname stuck.

While the name might make you think of burns resulting from an underlying cause like heat or excessive sun exposure, this implication is a bit misleading. These are not always the underlying cause of hotspots. Dogs do not experience hotspots as side effects of too much sunlight or sitting near a fireplace for too long. Instead, hotspots arise when a certain patch of skin receives too much attention from your dog, whether that be in the form of biting, lickingscratching, chewing, or itching.

Dog Hot Spots | Innovet Pet

Hot Spots on Dogs: Where Do They Come From?

Some of the total number of causes of hotspots on dogs are…

  • Irritation from allergens
  • Being bitten by a bug that causes itchy skin, like mosquitoes
  • An compulsive obsession with grooming themselves
  • Skin infections in and around the anal glands
  • Cuts that go unnoticed and not treated
  • Infections that lie below the surface of the skin
  • Mites that make a home in your pet’s fur, causing scabies
  • Dandruff resulting from skin that is lacking in sufficient nutrients and moisture
  • Stress / Excessive licking as a result of heightened anxiety levels or discomfort

By running your hands gently through your dog’s fur, you can lift the long pieces of fur and examine the spaces between your dog’s hair follicles. In doing so, you’ll either find that your dog’s skin is doing well or you’ll run into a wound here or there. If you happen to find an open sore, exposed skin, or something that just does not look quite right, dial the number to your pet’s veterinarian.

As long as your pup does not appear to be in a devastating or concerning state, it is not required that you stop by the emergency office of the closest pet hospital. Instead, just book the soonest appointment time that you can at your usual vet and keep an eye on your dog in the meantime.

Dog Hot Spots | Innovet Pet

What Symptoms Do Hot Spots Cause for Dogs?

Some of the confirmed cues that hint at the presence of a hot spot on your dog are…

  • An area of warmth on your pet’s coat 
  • A patch of wet fur, likely as a result of excessive licking
  • Somewhat of an obsession with grooming themselves
  • An unusual aversion toward being pet or scratched
  • A small patch of reddened, exposed skin
  • An absence of fur randomly on some part of your dog’s coat

The following behavioral changes or patterns are identified as being an example of a hotspot, but they are also commonly paired with a bunch of other ailments…

  • Biting their own fur
  • Favoring one side of their body or the other
  • Whining as though they want more attention
  • Wincing in pain
  • Avoiding playtime
  • Preferring naptime
  • Aggressive behavior even with people your dog knows well
  • Personality changes that seem completely unusual
  • Spending a lot of time itching themselves
  • Skin Infections
  • Bleeding
  • No desire to eat food
  • An odd smell coming from their fur
  • Exhaustion

Predispositions to a Hotspot

Some dog breeds are more likely to experience hotspots than their fellow puppy friends of non-predisposed breeds. There are five dog breeds in particular that face a natural susceptibility for the development of a hotspot. These breeds include Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers.

If you live near the beach, or your dog spends a lot of time outdoors in rainy weather, then your pupper might be more likely to develop a hotspot than his or her puppy pals. This is due to the fact that wet fur that does not fully dry can result in a hot spot. The dampness and buildup of moisture can irritate your pet, causing them to itch the affected area and create a hot spot formed in its place.

Frequent scratching of the hotspot can advance the side effects that occur.

For dogs with bacterial imbalances, a hotspot may take longer to fully resolve itself, and in a similar sense, you may notice that a hotspot get worse at a pace that seems more rapid that it should. The best thing you can do for dogs that are more prone to hot spots is to be proactive.

Hotspot in dogs

Prescription Medications Available for Hot Spots on Dogs: Oral vs Topical

Oral hot spot treatment options for dogs are administered via the mouth.

Data shows that oral medications for hot spots include…

  • Antihistamines
  • Any medications that are intended to reduce pain levels
  • Cortisone
  • Steroids specifically curated to treat and obliterate skin infections
  • Antibiotics
  • Parasite-killing medication


Data shows that effective topical creams include...

  • Dog hot spot neosporin
  • Cooling creams
  • Coconut oil
  • Lotions that contain antibiotics
  • Drying sprays to help the skin repair itself
  • Hydrocortisone creams to make the itchiness fade away
  • Corticosteroid lotions
  • Flea and tick treatment
  • Shampoos designed to cleanse the skin and heal the exposed areas

Dog Hot Spots | Innovet Pet

Alternative Hot Spot Treatment Methods: The Natural and Holistic Approach

You might have heard of CBD before. Whether you know a lot or a little about cannabidiol, the benefits of CBD as an addition to quite literally every single lifestyle out there are endless.

Here are a few possible perks of cannabidiol in terms of your dog’s health...

  • Lowers anxiety levels
  • Decreases production of stress hormones
  • Decreases the activity of the central nervous system
  • Calms the body
  • Assists in the prevention of seizures
  • Works as a pain reliever
  • Helps with allergies side effects
  • Soothes pain in hips
  • Decreases boredom
  • Reduces head aches
  • Tested for safe ingredients
  • Helps reduce prevalence of epileptic symptoms
  • Free from lead and dangerous ingredients
  • Minimizes painful side effects
  • Lowers discomfort at the hotspot site
  • Calms origins of allergies and increases comfort levels
  • Joint support and mental support


Other natural remedies for a hotspot are…

  • Witch hazel from the store
  • Antibacterial, non-scented soap
  • Essential oils like tea tree oil
  • An increase in vitamin E consumption in your pup's diet
  • Bathing your dog with oats
  • Lowering exposure to allergies
  • Creating a spray with apple cider vinegar and water
  • Applying coconut oil

Before you apply CBD to your dog's external pain, call your vet on the phone. Listen to what the vet says while you're on the phone and take a page from their media books. There might be a few factors at play regarding your pet's hotspots, but stay dedicated to the cause and perform any of the tips your dog's vet recommends. You might have to play around with CBD products and doses, but you'll get there in due time!

Dog Hot Spots | Innovet Pet

Cannabidiol for Dogs with Hot Spots: Where to Buy CBD

CBD can help your dog have fun again. By creating a structure and map of CBD for pets, you can embark on a mission to stay committed as you start the healing process for our pet. A hotspot is a never fun, but CBD is an absolutely amazing addition to the lives of dogs with a hotspot.

For instance, let's connect CBD and hotspots. As a supplement that can help to reduce the pain the hot spot is causing them, cannabidiol not only improves your dog’s physical state and makes it possibl for your dog to play again, but your dog’s mindset as well. Hot spots take a psychological toll on your pup because the fact that they have an open sore takes up a lot of space in their mind. If your dog isn’t itching their hot spot, then they are thinking about itching the location of their hot spot.

The best thing you can do for a dog with hotspots is to make your pet feel supported while you work to figure out the underlying affected area and developing side effects of hotspots. While the number one way to figure out what has developed on your pet's skin is to call a non profit organization or hospitals to schedule an appointment, you might want to wait.

This is because even though you need to report the hotspot, you'll want to first ensure that your pet's skin has limited exposure. Make sure you don't touch the hotspots because it can make your dog jump or display signs of frustration due to the pain it could cause. No matter what country or part of the world you live in, you will need to schedule a date to take your pet into the vet so they can start testing the area and figure out what caused the issue to occur.

When CBD devices are at play, your pet will have the means to return back to normal and begin to play again. It takes time to fix the issue, but just stay dedicated and apply the lessons in this article. With this advice, you'll be able to march your way towards healing for your pet!

HotSpot Anti Itch Spray for Dogs | Innovet Pet

From oils and chews to treats and capsules, our hemp products are top of the line. Try CBD for pets as a dog hot spot treatment! You’ll notice that your pet feels so much better on days where CBD is part of their routines. Let us know if you have any questions. In the meantime, we hope your pet loves CBD just as much as you love them!


How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs
First Aid for Hot Spots in Dogs
Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats
Cases of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis


Approved by:
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since getting her degree from her colleges, she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband, Greg, bake yummy desserts, and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids: a dog daughter named Ruby, a cat called Oliver James or “OJ,” a rabbit named BamBam, and a tortoise named MonkeyMan.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. We Love You!

The Innovet Team


Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.


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