Hot spots are the slang term for acute moist dermatitis, a skin condition that affects dogs. This painful condition should be treated promptly—read more below as a Fayetteville, NC veterinary professional discusses the cause, treatment, and prevention for this disorder.


There are many possible causes for hot spots in dogs, because anything that irritates the skin can cause one. Allergic reactions, insect bites, flea infestations, improper grooming, habitual licking or chewing, or skin infections can all lead to acute moist dermatitis.


The main sign of hot spots are red, hot, moist, irritated skin lesions on your dog’s body. They most typically occur on the head, chest, or hip area. Many times, dogs will lick, scratch, and chew the affected area in an attempt to relieve the irritation, which only leads to further irritation. Dogs with long hair or thick coats are most commonly affected by acute moist dermatitis.


Take your dog to the vet if you notice these symptoms. Your veterinary professional will determine the underlying cause, whether it is allergies, an infestation, or other problem, and take steps to eradicate the health issue. The hot spots themselves may be treated with ointments and cleaning products, and your dog may be given medications, painkillers, and antibiotics to alleviate the pain and irritation.

Many times, a dietary change is part of the treatment—your vet might advise your dog getting on a hypoallergenic diet, or taking dietary supplements to get essential fatty acids.


You can do your part to prevent hot spots by keeping your dog properly groomed. This is especially important for thick-coated, long-haired breeds. Also make sure your pooch is on a proper flea and tick preventative. If your dog has a habitual chewing or licking problem that leads to hot spots, you may want to seek the help of an animal behaviorist or trainer. Call your Fayetteville veterinarian to get a referral.