Preventing Hot Spots in Pets


Your pet may scratch, lick, and gnaw themselves into a hot spot when they are itching so bad that their skin feels like it is on fire. Learn more about these highly irritating sores to assist your furry friend in overcoming their itching.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, alternatively referred to as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are irritated lesions that form on a pet’s skin. These areas of inflammation may seemingly appear suddenly and progress rapidly, transforming into exuding, uncomfortable wounds that cause significant distress to your furry companion.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are generally caused by skin inflammation from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that causes your pet to lick, chew, or scratch an area to the point of raw skin can be a culprit. 

Hot spots can be triggered by:

  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Matted fur
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Anal gland issues

How are hot spots in pets treated?

Treating your pet’s hot spots requires quick action to prevent a deep skin infection. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, you must put an Elizabethan collar (i.e., e-collar) on your pet to prevent them from further irritating the skin. 

Upon your pet’s arrival at our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may employ a combination of sedation and potent pain relief medication, as these lesions can be highly sensitive and cause significant discomfort. Once your pet is at ease, we will carefully trim away tangled fur to promote proper air circulation around the affected region. The presence of damp, matted fur creates a favorable environment for infection, necessitating its removal to facilitate the healing process of the hot spot.

We will gently clean the area with an antiseptic rinse to flush away fur and debris, and then apply topical medications to the clean and dry skin to soothe the itch and treat the infection. Further treatment will depend on the hot spot’s underlying cause, and we may recommend allergy treatment, anal gland expression, ear medication, regular grooming, or other therapies.

If you notice an irritated, inflamed area on your pet’s skin, don’t wait. Give our team a call to schedule an appointment before a minor irritation flares into a large, painful hot spot.