Hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) are patches of sore, infected skin. Hot spots can appear anywhere on the body and usually look red, angry and wet.

Hot spots develop and grow very quickly, they tend to be very itchy and sore. Your dog will lick them which usually makes them a lot worse.

See your vet if you think your dog may have the start of a hot spot. It’s best to catch the problem early on before it gets much worse. Try to stop your dog from chewing, licking or scratching the area. A buster collar or body suit may be needed to stop your dog from licking the affected area or areas. 

Hot spots are areas of inflamed, infected skin. They are usually caused by something simple for example a graze, insect bite or flea bite.
Once a dog starts to scratch, bite or lick the affected area the hot spot will increase in size. Bacteria will then start to cause an infection. Hot spots can be smelly, they may develop scabs on top and are very sore and irritating for your dog. The skin tends to be red, raw and looks wet. If a hot spot isn’t treated quickly a more serious infection can develop.


Smelly, red, wet patches of skin (sometimes with scabs).
Scratching, licking or biting one area of the body.
Bleeding skin.

Hot spots are painful and can increase in size very quickly. If you see a hot spot developing, take your dog to the vet straight away.

Treatment will help to stop it spreading making your dog much more comfortable.


Itchy skin
Allergic skin disease (atopy)
Insect bites
Cuts and grazes


Clipping and cleaning the area
Clipping and cleaning the hot spot allows air to reach the infected skin and aids recovery. 


Your vet might prescribe a cream for you to put on the area to help reduce inflammation. They might give your dog steroids (to reduce inflammation) and antibiotics if they are necessary. Antibiotics aren’t always necessary. 

Some dogs seem prone to hot spots and dogs who have skin allergies are more likely to develop them because their skin is more fragile. Fortunately, hot spots usually respond quickly to treatment. Ask your vet if further tests may be required to ascertain why your dog may be getting reoccurring hotspots. 
Also, their immune system may be  compromising the healing process. 

Regularly check your dogs coat for fleas or flea dirt. 

Seek veterinary advice as soon as you notice a hot spot or unhealthy skin on your dog.