Hot Spots: What Causes Them And How To Get Rid Of Them

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You come home from work and greet Fido with a pat. Suddenly you notice hair missing, and a moist red spot on his head. After examining him further you see multiple spots. Fido starts to scratch and lick those areas without pause. These painful and itchy spots are known as hot spots.

Dogs experience hot spots for a slew of reasons. If your dog is part of the itchy and scratchy show, he may be suffering from hot spots.

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What Are Hot Spots?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are red, moist, hot skin lesions. Pets Web MD states, “Hot spots often grow at an alarming rate within a short period of time because dogs tend to lick, chew and scratch the affected areas, further irritating the skin.”

The most common areas to find them are on the head, chest, and hip area. If you notice your dog licking or scratching those areas excessively, check for hot spots.

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What Causes Hot Spots?

– bug bites from fleas or other insects
– allergies
– poor grooming
– underlying skin infection
– constant licking or chewing due to stress or boredom

It is important to figure out what is causing the hot spots, so you can eliminate it. Otherwise, the spots will continue to spread. This will cause Fido to be in a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.

Hot spots are always caused by something. It is just the symptom, so it is vital that you find the culprit.

How To Get Rid Of Them

Once you figure out what is causing the hot spots you can start the treatment phase. The itching can be so intense that you may need to put a cone around their neck, to prevent them from reaching the hot spot.


If the reason for the hot spots was bug bites then you need to eliminate the bugs. For flea, tick, or lice elimination you can use diatomaceous earth. It is a fine white powder made by tiny (microscopic) water creatures that make silica-based shells for themselves. Deadly to any insect or larvae, each tiny “shell” is very sharp, like razor blades to insects, but completely harmless to all animals, fish, and birds.

It is an organic, natural, and safe way to eliminate those pesky bugs. It can be used on your pet’s bed, carpet, and directly on their coat. The powder form like, DERMagic Flea Dust, works well for sprinkling on your carpet and pet’s fur. There is also a soap bar form that you could use to bathe your dog.

Photos: The Animal Rescue Site

Photos: The Animal Rescue Site

If allergies are the cause, you will need to visit the vet and find out what your dog is allergic to. It may be the food you are feeding, or the detergent you are using. Some dogs are allergic to environmental irritants like grass, mold, or pollen. Once you figure out the allergen you can focus on eliminating it.

Other topical treatments range from sprays to salves. Sprays are easy to apply, just be sure it does not contain alcohol. Alcohol will dry out and irritate the skin more. Burt’s Bees spray is a natural solution that will provide itch relief for Fido.

Photo: The Animal Rescue Site

Photo: The Animal Rescue Site


Sometimes you need something a little bit thicker to coat the area. A salve is a great option. You can purchase one like, DERMagic Hot Spot Salve, or you can make your own. Calendula is a great herb to use in a recipe as it soothes the skin, and is safe if they happen to lick the area.

Photo: The Animal Rescue Site

Photo: The Animal Rescue Site

Last, but certainly not least, you can use coconut oil. The great thing about this oil is that is can be used internally and externally. Coconut oil is all natural with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The recommended dosage per Dogs Naturally Magazine, “1 teaspoon (5ml) of coconut oil per 10 pounds of bodyweight, or 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds (13.6 kg) of body weight.” Start with a quarter amount and gradually work your way to full amount.

Fido will thank you with endless kisses for relieving those itchy spots. Hot spots are common and can pop up suddenly, so be sure to inspect Fido daily.

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who lives in West Michigan. Her horse and 3 dogs are her children. She loves to write and share her knowledge of equine and canine nutrition. In her spare time she likes to volunteer with animal rescues, camp with her husband and dogs, and trail ride with her horse.
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