Does Your Dog Have a Hot Spot?

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Veterinarians identify hot spots as a skin infection called “Summer Sores” or “Moist Eczema.” They appear as a bright red, swollen area that oozes smelly pus.


This is a serious condition that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. If the condition goes untreated, a dog will get more of the itchy, very painful spots and be so distressed that the areas cannot even be touched for treatment.

If you observe your dog scratching, licking and trying to bite an area, you need to immediately check for hot spots.

A very small spot can become large within hours. Hot spots are easier to prevent than cure and some dogs are more likely to get them, especially those with heavy coats, flea infestations, and grooming problems.

Most dog owners take good care of their pets and should look at allergies as a prime suspect. It can be a surprise to learn that dogs can be allergic to flea bites or can get a hot spot from a tick bite! Allergies cause itching, itching causes scratching and scratching accelerates the occurrence of hot spots.

How to treat your dog’s hot spots depends on when you discover them. If you find a spot that is large and red, and the dog will not let you touch it, you must take the dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

He will provide immediate treatment with an antibiotic for the infection, and cortisone for the itching. Some will give the dog a shot to administer the medication when the spot is so painful that you cannot apply an ointment.

For dogs with on-going, serious allergies, vets sometimes prescribe over the counter Benadryl. A new product, “Allerderm  Spot On,” manufactured by Virbac Animal Health products, is available by prescription. This product can be used in conjunction with Benadryl to control the itching.

If the spots are small and you can touch them, apply over the counter antibiotic ointment a few times a day. You can also buy one that has a pain reliever in it. A small spot can also be treated with a dab of pure aloe gel. It promotes drying and the spot quickly heals to the scab stage.

Another over the counter product can be found in pet stores. Vet’s Best makes a product called “Hot Spot Spray” that contains aloe and tree tea oil.


Being proactive with a dog that is prone to this problem is the easiest way to deal with it. Watch for increased scratching in the dog which signals the beginning of a cycle. Immediate inspection will help you find any tiny spot that has started and prevent acceleration into the serious skin infection stage.

While there are no real cures for hot spots on dogs, your veterinarian is your best resource to prescribe preventive measures for your dog and treatment when necessary.

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