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What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin disorder on dogs. Hot spots often appear as red, raw, inflamed, and irritated lesions on a dog’s body. These moist, painful, oozing sores usually get worse and spread further when the dog licks, scratches, or chews the area. Understanding what causes hot spots on dogs can help you prevent the issue from occurring in the future!

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

Hot spots can be caused by anything that irritates the skin and leads a dog to lick, scratch, or chew at the irritation. There are various causes of hot spots on dogs, but the most consistent contributing factor is bacteria. Irritated skin and moisture create an ideal environment for bacteria growth.

1. Allergies: Both environmental and food allergies can cause itching in dogs.

2. Pyoderma: Primary skin infections caused by bacteria or yeast can cause itching that leads to secondary hot spots.

3. Pests: Insect bites can be incredibly itchy! Bites from fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, mites, and other small insects can cause skin irritation and lead to itching.

4. Poor grooming: Dogs that aren’t groomed regularly can have matted and tangled hair, which can lead to moisture retention and bacterial infections.

5. Ear infections: Bacteria or yeast in the ear canal can cause dogs to itch at the area around the ears.

6. Anal gland problem: A dog’s anal glands can become infected or impacted. This area can become uncomfortable and painful and lead a dog to lick the area.

7. Behavioral issue: Sometimes dogs lick themselves because of boredom, stress, or behavioral issues.

8. Moisture and humidity: Hot spots are more likely to occur during warm, humid weather. Excess moisture in the coat caused by swimming or bathing can also lead to hot spots.

Now that we’ve outlined what causes hot spots on dogs, we can better understand how to treat this skin condition!

How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

Hot spots can spread rapidly, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the hot spots. Your veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause of the infection and come up with a treatment plan that may include antibiotics, corticosteroids, antihistamines, or essential fatty acids.

If a hot spot is caught early, at-home treatment may be successful. Many veterinarians recommend using an anti-itch, medicated shampoo to moisturize the skin and kill bacteria. The goal is to soothe the skin so that the dog stops itching the affected area and the skin has a chance to heal.

At Thomas Labs®, we understand how frustrating skin issues can be. That’s why we created MicoChlor Plus, a medicated formula to help with hot spots. MicoChlor Plus contains a variety of ingredients to combat bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections of the skin, plus it helps soothe and hydrate the skin and coat.

Finding the underlying cause is key to the successful treatment of hot spots. Understanding what causes hot spots on dogs can help you prevent hot spots and soothe them effectively!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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