dan-DK Restricted

Your Dog's Skin

Hot spot

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 underperforming immune system.

Dogs with a dense undercoat (Bouvier-Bernese, Labrador, Newfoundland...) or matted hair are generally the most likely to develop a hot spot. This dense hair prevents good aeration and creates a humid and hot environment favorable for infection development. That's also why they are more frequent in summer than in winter.

The primary cause is always a skin irritation which can have numerous causes! It can be caused by an otitis. A vicious cycle of itch, scratching will start. This imbalance of the skin barrier's ecosystem leads to a local overgrowth of bacteria on the skin (surface pyoderma), and infection will then progress.

Once a dog has had one episode of hot spot, they are likely to be prone to subsequent episodes later in life. So, it's essential to find the primary cause and treat it accordingly.


The affected skin patch often appears suddenly as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and itchy to the dog. You may see also sticked hair or hair loss, and you may notice a bad and characteristic odor.

A hot spot is always a local lesion whose size may vary. It usually has a circular shape, but after shaving you can see peripheral lesions. The hotspot 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 scratchlick and chew at the lesion, which will worsen the condition. It is not uncommon to note that the lesion widen very quickly (within a few hours).

6 tips to soothe hot spot

Providing relief of the irritation and restoring a healthy skin barrier ecosystem are the main goals of supportive care.

  1. Consult your veterinarian to identify the problem and treat the cause. Remedies will depend on the diagnosis. He will shave to reveal the peripheral lesions and eliminate infected hair.
  2. Help control the skin condition by using a high quality shampoo, mousse or micro-emulsion spray to soothe the irritation and to restore the skin's ecosystem. Choose special formulas for irritated and itchy skins. For flora imbalance, choose antiseptic formulas.
  3. Groom and brush your dog's coat regularly. Rinse your pet with fresh water after a swim.
  4. Keep your pet free from parasites: treat against fleas, ticks and worms on a regular basis.
  5. Feed your pet a high-quality, balanced diet. Supplement with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals if and as recommended by your vet.
  6. Schedule regular check-up consultations with your veterinarian to watch your dog's skin condition. You can also send him pictures of your dog to show the evolution.

We recommend :