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Your Dog's Skin

Hot spots

Tackling sudden sores

What's going on?

A ‘hot spot’ (also known as pyotraumatic or moist dermatitis) is a common condition whereby an area of skin has become inflamed and infected. 


Any dog can develop hot spots, but they are more common in dogs with:

  • Thick coats
  • Dirty and/or moist skin
  • Fleas, allergies or an under-performing immune system

Dogs with a dense undercoat (German Shepherd, Labrador, etc.) or matted hair are especially likely to develop a hot spot. Dense hair creates a humid, hot environment that's ideal for bacterial overgrowth. Hot spots are more frequent in summer than in winter.

The primary cause is a skin irritation that triggers itching.  When scratched, it causes more trauma, triggering more itching.   It's a vicious cycle of itching and scratching.  This trauma can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast on the skin, and an infection develops.


The affected skin patch often appears suddenly as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and itchy. You may notice hair loss and bad odor.  A hot spot is always a local lesion whose size may vary. It often has a circular shape. A hot spot can appear anywhere on the body, but they are often present behind the ears, on the cheek or on the hips.

The irritation will cause the dog to scratch, lick and chew at the lesion, worsening the condition. It is not uncommon for the lesion to widen within a few hours.


Take your dog to the veterinarian at the first sign of a hot spot.  Early treatment can help prevent infections that may require antibiotics and repeat visits to the veterinarian.  Your veterinarian will probably recommend topical therapy with DOUXO® S3 or DOUXO®  products to clean and care for the skin, while also repairing the damaged skin barriers.

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