How to Spot, Treat, and Prevent Hot Spots in Pets

If your pet’s skin is intensely itchy, they may scratch, lick, and chew excessively, which can lead to the development of a hot spot. To assist your furry friend in overcoming this discomfort, educate yourself about these unbearable sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are irritated sores that form on a pet’s skin. They can appear suddenly and turn into a painful, oozing problem that causes a lot of discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Skin inflammation from environmental factors, flea or food allergies usually leads to hot spots on pets. Nevertheless, if your pet habitually licks, chews or scratches any area of its body excessively, it can also cause raw skin and result in a hot spot.

Hot spots can be triggered by:

  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Matted fur
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Anal gland issues
  • Insect bites


How are hot spots in pets treated?

When you notice a small area of inflammation on your pet, you need to take quick action to prevent a deep skin infection. These sores can become quite severe in less than 24 hours. One way to do this is by putting an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) on your pet to stop them from further irritating the skin.

If your pet comes to our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may use sedation and powerful painkillers because hot spots can be extremely painful. After making your pet comfortable, we will remove matted fur to allow air to reach the affected area. Wet, matted fur can cause infections and needs to be removed to promote the healing of the hot spot.

Next, we’ll rinse the affected area with an antiseptic solution to remove any fur or debris. Then, we’ll apply topical medication to the dry and clean skin to ease the itchiness and address any infection. More severe cases often require oral antibiotics. Treatment options will vary according to the root cause of the hot

spot, and we may suggest allergy treatment, regular grooming, ear medication, anal gland expression, or other therapies.

It is important to schedule an appointment with our team if you see an area of your pet’s skin that is irritated and inflamed. Don’t wait until it becomes a large, painful hot spot.