The Ultimate Guide To Treating & Preventing Hot Spots On Dogs

Skylar Dial
Written by
Last update:

But first, what exactly are hot spots?

Hot spots on dogs are red, puffy skin lesions that can be painful for your dog. It could be either caused by an allergic reaction or irritation. To avoid hot spots, it's important that you keep your dog clean, but it's also important to quickly and effectively treat the spots to prevent them from worsening.

Dehydration is an underlying cause of hot spots. In severe cases of hot spots, vets will prescribe antibiotics for hot spots on dogs. But, you can use natural, home remedies to treat hot spots like tea tree oil to decrease irritation, inflammation and decrease the chances of infection. Canine hot spots are another great reason to have the best dog brush you had handy. They are the only effective tool for removing hair, dirt and debris to help prevent infections. BarkBox has an amazing DIY dog brush recipe that could save you from a vet bill.

Why do dogs get hot spots?

Dog hot spots are hot, red areas of irritated skin, usually on the dog’s belly, between the stomach and the hind legs. Hot spots also sometimes appear on neck, paws, and armpits. Hot spots are caused by a bacterial infection in the hair follicles or skin pores.

When breeding dogs, hot spots are one of the most common skin issues in dogs. Other skin conditions such as allergies or fleas can also cause hot spots in dogs. Scratching can also cause a skin infection, leading to hot spots in dogs. Hot spots are also more likely to occur if the dog in an ill or underweight.

What dogs are more at risk to hot spots?

Hot spots are not limited to a specific breed or size of dog. Any dog can have one. However, some dogs are more prone to them because of certain characteristics. Dogs with long or thick hair, dogs with certain coat types, and dogs with allergies are more at risk for hot spots.

Here are some additional factors that could make your dog more at risk to hot spots:

Coat length

Dogs with a longer coat tend to have more trouble with hot spots. For this reason, areas that are more exposed to the elements like the armpit, throat, back of the legs and the tail are more likely to be affected.

Age

Dogs 2 to 4 years old are most at risk for developing hot spots.

Allergens

This is one of the main causes of hot spots. Dogs that have problems with a certain pollen, mold or food can develop hot spots.

Tick or Flea Infestations

The saliva of a flea or tick can cause a hot spot in an area that it previously bit.

How to treat hot spots

Hot spots on dogs look painful and unsightly, but they’re relatively common. They are caused by irritation of the skin and typically show up on your dog’s neck or at the base of his tail. A hot spot is an infection of the skin that is usually accompanied by a severe infection of the hair follicles.

A hot spot is essentially an infection of the hair follicles deep under the skin. The inflamed follicles may have many fine red hairs growing out of them. The skin covering the follicles can be red and raw, generating additional pain and itchiness. Scratching opens the follicles, inviting infection.

The hair around a hot spot will typically be dark, curly and wet looking and the skin will not only be red, but often swollen as well. The hair may be brittle and break easily. Some dogs will have a fever along with a hot spot. While the symptoms can also be caused by parasites and cancer, this type of hot spot tends to be bacterial in origin.

How to prevent hot spots