Get My Free Quote

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

by | January 20, 2020 | Pet Care

Weimaraner puppy looking up

As dogs can experience various health issues from time to time, it’s important to know what conditions may occur and how to treat them. One type of health issue which your dog may experience is hot spots. Hot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis, are localized areas of bacterial infection and skin inflammation. You may see hot spots on a dog’s belly or hot spots on a dog’s back.

Hot spots start small, appearing as a simple red area that might even resemble a bug bite. But hot spots don’t end there. They can worsen and spread, transforming into a lesion that is red, hot, and oozes. As you might imagine, this is very painful for your pup to experience.

The following will detail further information about hot spots, including what causes these lesions, whether or not they’re contagious, and various treatment methods for hot spots.

What Causes Hot Spots to Appear?

Gray puppy wooden floor

Now that you know what hot spots on dogs are, you may be wondering what causes hot spots on dogs. There are a few main reasons why these appear, including chewing, scratching, and licking of the fur and skin. This results in inflammation and bacterial infection of the area. So, why do dogs bite and scratch at their skin? Here are a few reasons:

  • Fleas
  • Food allergies
  • Parasites
  • Skin infections
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Contact irritants
  • Stress
  • Boredom

Since most of these previously mentioned items are continual factors, your dog may experience hot spots frequently. Some of the reasons mentioned above can be tended to, resulting in fewer hot spots appearing, while others may be a bit more difficult to eliminate or control.

Are Hot Spots on Dogs Contagious?

Yellow Labrador outdoor

Now that you know what causes hot spots, you may be wondering if this type of medical condition is contagious. You can rest easy knowing that hot spots are not contagious. They are caused by the list of reasons mentioned above and will be experienced by your dog but not passed on to other dogs or humans. Your dog may develop more than one hot spot simply because they are scratching and biting at different areas, not because the one wound is spreading to other parts of the skin.

Hot Spot Dog Treatments

Black dog portrait

When you discover red marks or lesions on your dog, the first step should be to visit your dog’s veterinarian for a diagnosis. You may have a feeling that your dog has a hot spot, but you want to be certain before treating the area. Once the veterinarian has confirmed that the lesions are hot spots, the next step is the treatment for hot spots on dogs. You can treat your dog’s condition by following these steps:

  1. Clip the fur around the lesion
  2. Clean the infected area with a pet-friendly antiseptic solution
  3. Topical/oral antibiotics for the infection
  4. Topical/oral steroids for the inflammation and to help eliminate the itching
  5. Clean the area daily with medicated wipes
  6. Have your dog wear a cone to prevent further irritation of the area

Home Remedies for Hot Spots on Dogs

Happy dog riding in car

If you’re searching for some home remedy ideas to treat hot spots on your pup, there are a few options to consider, including:

  • Make sure your dog wears a cone until the skin heals
  • Continue to trim the fur around the wound so that air can reach the infected location and promote faster healing
  • Refrain from applying bandages to the area
  • Use a warm, moist compress on the skin for five to ten minutes, three times a day

How to Prevent Hot Spots on Dogs

Dog snout closeup

There are ways to prevent hot spots from appearing on dogs. The best way to prevent these lesions is to treat the cause as soon as possible. For example, if your dog has fleas, you want to make sure you manage this issue right away. Doing so will help to prevent hot spots from being an issue.

And, suppose your dog has had hot spots in the past due to boredom or stress. You want to make sure you keep your pup entertained and relaxed to keep them from chewing or licking at their fur, as this can lead to these spots developing.

Preventing hot spots often means treating the issue that causes them and therefore preventing hot spots by doing so.

Hot Spots on Dogs are Treatable Conditions

Australian Shepard in a garden

Now that you know what to look for when it comes to hot spots and how to treat this medical condition, you can rest easy knowing that you are fully prepared should this issue arise.

If you’re looking for another way to be informed and prepared to care for your pet, consider obtaining a quote and purchasing pet insurance. Prudent Pet offers inclusive dog insurance policies to help you find financial security when it comes to treatment for your pet.

Learn more about your options and how to find the right pet insurance for your pup.

Author Profile Image

Alice

Alice is the proud mama to her beautiful 3-year-old Labrador Retriever, Bella. Bella loves to cuddle up with Alice when she's reading a book on a cold Chicago night. No matter what the occasion is, Bella is always ready to pounce at the closest squirrel or rabbit when Alice runs with her along Lake Michigan in the summertime. When Bella's not tracking down random animals, she's taking a cozy nap or destroying toys left and right.