All That You Need To Know About Hot Spots In Canines

By Alberto Roy

Updated on:

Let us start with the basics. What exactly are hot spots that you see on canines? Well, these care basically red and moist skin lesions, which can sometimes be crusty and sometimes can be oozy. And these can be extremely irritating for the canine and they can appear with absolutely no warning, and quite suddenly at that.

The problem with these hot spots is that they have the tendency to spread, so it is progressive in nature. So, if you are unable to get a hold on the same, they are bound to grow and spread faster and can create a lot of difficulty for the canine.

The hotspots on your canine are also called acute moist dermatitis or pyo-traumatic dermatitis or pyoderma. These can be tricky to handle for many, if the spread is fast and these hot spots  can appear on any part of the body.

But what is the core science or reason behind the appearance of these Hot spots. Technically, these are formed as a result of the immune-mediated skin response which can in turn be a result of an allergic reaction or an insect bite.

Even poor grooming and underlying disease can sometimes be the cause of this immune-mediated skin response. Other factors which can cause these hot spots include- stress and boredom (which in canines can cause stress), and think and long hair. You will find that the furry canines tend to be more susceptible to these issues and concerns.

Irrespective of the cause of the hotspots, you would want to have them managed and disappear as soon as possible, because these can be really irritating for the canine. But the silver lining is that in 99.9 percent of the cases, these are safe and are not fatal in nature, but can seriously impact the mood of your canine and can cause stress, which further can accentuate the issue of hotspots and can cause rapid spread, as stress itself is a factor which intensifies the spread of hotspots on dogs.

But before you opt for a solution to the issue, it is important that you find out the cause of the problem. Because, when you find out the root cause, and after treatment you address the root-cause, the chances that the issue recurs is lowered. So, on that note, it is better of you focus on finding the cause of it as well.

How exactly do you spot a hotspot in the beginning? Usually, the issue begins with the appearance of a spot which will be the size of a bug bite at best. And because of that, it is not uncommon for people to have mistaken the same for a bug bite, which often leads to ignorance in the first few days.

You will also notice that your dog will lick and chew and often scratch the area which is a behaviour induced by the discomfort caused by hotspot(s). The problem with this is that it causes the spots to spread fast, thereby making things even worse for the dog. This is also one major reason behind the really fast progression rate of hotspots.

You will be surprised to know that these can grow as fast as 5-6 inches (in diameter) in just a couple of hours. While they may not be fatal, per se, but because of this rapid progression trend, it is important that the issue is addressed as early as possible. 

Affects of Hot Spots In Canines

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin condition in dogs that can have several effects on their well-being. Here are some of the impacts of hot spots in canines:

  1. Localized Irritation and Itching:
    • Hot spots typically start as small, red, and moist areas on the skin. These can be intensely itchy and irritating for the dog. The constant licking, scratching, or chewing at the affected area can exacerbate the problem.
  2. Pain and Discomfort:
    • As hot spots progress, they can become painful for the dog. The inflammation and infection associated with these lesions can lead to discomfort, making the affected area sensitive to touch.
  3. Hair Loss:
    • Dogs with hot spots often lose hair around the affected area. This can result from the dog’s excessive grooming behavior, as well as the inflammatory response that damages hair follicles.
  4. Spread of Infection:
    • Hot spots are often caused or worsened by bacterial infection. If left untreated, the infection can spread and affect a larger area of the skin, leading to more extensive discomfort for the dog.
  5. Foul Odor:
    • In advanced cases where infection is present, hot spots can emit a foul odor. This odor is a result of the bacteria and yeast that thrive in the warm, moist environment of the inflamed skin.
  6. Behavioral Changes:
    • Dogs with hot spots may exhibit changes in behavior. They may become more irritable, anxious, or lethargic due to the discomfort and pain associated with the condition.
  7. Compromised Quality of Life:
    • The constant itching and discomfort from hot spots can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life. It may interfere with their normal activities, playtime, and sleep, leading to overall decreased well-being.
  8. Secondary Complications:
    • If not addressed promptly, hot spots can lead to more serious skin issues and complications. Chronic hot spots may require veterinary intervention to identify and address the underlying causes.
  9. Financial Costs:
    • Treating hot spots may incur veterinary expenses for medication, topical treatments, or professional grooming. The financial impact can vary depending on the severity and frequency of the hot spots.
  10. Underlying Health Issues:
    • Hot spots can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as allergies, dermatitis, or other skin conditions. Identifying and addressing the root cause is crucial to preventing recurrent hot spots.

Does this progression reflect on the behaviour and health of the dog? Most definitely yes. One of the first things that you are going to notice is that your canine is going to show signs of fatigue. Other than that, you can also witness, the loss of hair around the infected area, the region becoming cherry red colour. The area is going to be moist and the raw skin will be on display.

You will also notice inflamed skin. Then there is the likelihood of the region oozing clear or yellowish push which can get crusty. There can be bleeding as well. These are all signs of the infection setting in.

There are many ways to deal with the issue and perhaps the most ideal one, and the quick one is to take the canine to a vet and opt for hot spot per healing mechanisms. For more information about hot spot pet healing, I recommend this site for relevant data:

In conclusion, hot spots in dogs can have a range of effects, from localized discomfort and irritation to more widespread health issues. Prompt attention, proper veterinary care, and addressing any underlying causes are essential for managing and preventing the recurrence of hot spots in canines.

"Passionate dog trainer with years of experience. Transforming pups into well-behaved companions through positive reinforcement and love. 🐾🐶"