Pictures of Hot Spots on Dogs: What Does a Hot Spot Look Like on a Dog?

Hot spots, or moist dermatitis, are a skin disorder that causes an intensely itchy and inflamed sore on the skin of dogs. They are most commonly found around the feet and tail but can happen anywhere on the body. Here you can see treatment and pictures of hot spots on dogs.

How to treat hot spots on dogs at home (pictures)

What causes hot spots on dogs?

Hot spots as a result of licking and biting, the surface becomes very red, covered with numerous minute blisters which rupture and bathe the area with a serous fluid giving it a glistening appearance.

Hot spots are not infectious to man or to other animals, but irritate the dog, making them scratch the affected part. This further inflames the skin and so the itching cycle begins.

What do hot spots look like on dogs?

Hot spots may be seen in various sites on the body surface but commonly the face and ears are the first to show signs.

The skin becomes scaly and wrinkled, and the hair falls out over an irregular area due to continual scratching, biting and rubbing. Many cases become bleeding raw areas before they finally dry up to a scaly, scurfy appearance.

Itchiness is intense and the poor dog forgets all else to bite, scratch or rub on any convenient object in a vain endeavor to obtain relief.


How to treat hot spots on dogs at home?

The cure consists of external and internal medication. On their own, external lotions are seldom efficient as they only treat the symptoms. The whole object is to remove the underlying cause.

To treat a hot spot, you’ll need to clean it and apply a topical medication. If the hot spot becomes infected, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics and other medications as well.

  • Curaseb Medicated Chlorhexidine Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs & Cats
  • Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot & Itch Relief Medicated Spray/Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
  • Pet MD Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs – Medicated Spray for Dogs and Cats
  • Forticept Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs Kit
  • PetHonesty Chlorhexidine Shampoo – Ketoconazole & Aloe for Dogs & Cats
  • SENTRY Hot Spot Skin Remedy for Dogs

Where eczema affects the scrotum or vulval region, particular care must be taken in the cleansing operation as considerable pain can be caused by eczema in these regions.

Where eczema affects the feet, causing inflammation and suppuration between the toes, the foot should first be washed in warm, soapy water followed by an astringent solution, then after drying, applying a soothing ointment. The foot should then be bandaged carefully.

No skin disease can be thoroughly treated without the removal of the hair although this is often a painful and difficult task in moist eczema. It may be assisted by sprinkling and swabbing the area with warm water, particularly where the hair is matted.

Where the lesions are intensely painful cold lotions to the skin cause considerable pain and then it is desirable to warm the medications prior to use.

There are available soothing lotions and ointments incorporating the anti-allergic principles causing eczema which are now being used with good results.

Please note: For complex cases, the veterinary surgeon’s advice should be followed in order to help clear up the condition.

What do vets prescribe for hot spots?

Immunomodulatory medications are generally recommended as the first line of treatment for hot spots in dogs. These drugs have been proven to have a positive effect on reducing the symptoms of allergic skin disease in many patients.

The most commonly used medication is Apoquel, which is given orally once daily and has been shown to reduce itching and inflammation, even if it is not curative.

Cytopoint is another immunomodulatory drug that can be administered by injection every 4 weeks. This drug has been shown to be very effective in clinical trials, and it may provide faster relief than oral Apoquel.

In some dogs, these medications alone do not provide adequate control of their symptoms, and more potent anti-inflammatory medications are then added such as prednisone. And finally, secondary skin infections need to be treated with antibiotics and/or antifungals.

Conclusion of hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) in dogs

Hot spots are extremely uncomfortable for dogs, you must treat them immediately.

The first thing you should do is clean the wound with medicated spray or shampoo. Then apply an antibiotic ointment or cream over the affected area.

If your vet suspects that the hot spot is caused by fleas, he will recommend using flea control products. It’s important to remember that even with flea control products, you’ll still need to treat your entire home and yard to prevent future outbreaks of fleas.

If your dog’s hot spot becomes infected, the vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs for him to take orally. Your vet may also recommend using a cone collar to keep your dog from biting at his wounds and spreading bacteria around his body.

Learn about Dermatitis & Environmental Allergies in Dogs (Atopy)
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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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