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Identifying And Treating
Dog Hot Spots

dog scratching Dog hot spots, the familiar name for the medical condition of pyotraumatic dermatitism, is a common but generally not serious condition affecting our canine friends.

Mostly this problem affects adult dogs, but can show up in puppies that are not getting the best of care. It is one of the dog skin allergies that can be very uncomfortable, even downright painful, for our pets, but fortunately very treatable.

How To Recognize Dog Hot Spots

A hot spot is pretty easy to locate and recognize because first of all you will notice your dog constantly scratching or licking the area. When you take a closer look you will generally see a bare spot on his coat either near the tail or around the ears. The spot itself will look like a very inflamed (red) sore that is round in shape.

dog hot spots

The spots usually have a bad odor, may be oozing, and are obviously very itchy to your pet. One other very recognizable feature of hot spots is that they grow bigger amazingly fast - generally within hours.

The symptoms can be very painful to your dog, so much so that he may not allow you to touch them, so proceed with caution. If you get a lot of resistance to your touch then you know the area is extremely painful to your dog and you may choose to take him to the vet for his expert handling.

Causes of Dog Hot Spots

Hot spots get started when a dog develops an itch and keeps scratching at it until the skin breaks, allowing bacteria to spread inside and around the area. The basis of the itchy skin is usually an allergic reaction of some type. Many pet allergies can often be traced to bad quality pet food that contains toxic ingredients, chemical additives, preservatives or grains to which they are sensitive.

Other things that trigger allergic reactions can be of an environmental type, such as parasites, pesticides, vaccinations, harsh grooming products or insufficient grooming etc.

Hot Spot Treatment

Although the sores may look very nasty and can be extremely to the touch, they are usually not serious and can be treated with several home remedies.
  • They don't call them hot spots for nothing, so in order to cut the heat apply a dab of Witch Hazel 2-3 times a day.
  • Keep the surrounding skin free of hair to discourage mats from forming near the hot spot. Mats not only trap moisture, but are the ideal environment for bacteria to spread and worsen the condition.
  • Soothe them with an antibacterial solution such as dog hot spots- green tea septiderm v Green Tee Septiderm-V spray and/or dog hot spots - malacetic skin cleanser MalAcetic Skin Cleanser which will also dry out the spots.
  • Keeping the sores dry promotes rapid healing. You can do this by spraying them two to three times daily with an old time favorite product called dog hot spots - burows solution Burows Solution.

    As an alternative you can brew black tea bags and when cool apply to the sores for five minutes or so.
  • One last remedy that is healing and soothing to dog hot spots, is the natural juice of the aloe vera plant.

And here's a caution: Do not apply anything greasy as this will trap the bacteria and possibly drive the infection inward.

If you treat the hot spots with home remedies and they do not clear up in a few days, or appear to be getting worse, it's time to call your vet.


To prevent further development of dog hot spots, one of the best thing you can do is find the underlying cause of your dog's itching so that you can take steps to stop the itch cycle.

Another, is to groom your dog well to prevent mats from forming which can harbor parasites and start the itching cycle. Read this article we wrote for to learn the secrets of removing mats: "How To Undo Your Dog's Tangles - The Delicate Job Of Dematting"

Related Grooming Pages:

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