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Preventing Hot Spots on Dogs: 8 Tips to Maintain Your Dog's Skin Health

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Dogs are known to be active, playful, and adventurous animals. They love to explore their surroundings and engage in various activities like running, jumping, swimming, and even rolling around in the dirt. While dogs need to stay active for their physical and mental well-being, these activities can also lead to hot spots on your dog's body.

Canine hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are red, inflamed and painful lesions that can occur on a dog's skin. They can be caused by various factors, including allergies, insect bites, poor grooming habits, and even stress. If left untreated, hot spots can worsen and lead to infection.

As a responsible dog owner, it is important to take preventive measures to keep your furry friend's skin healthy and avoid the discomfort of hot spots. This article will discuss eight tips for preventing hot spots on dogs.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the early signs of your dog's hot spot is crucial. Here are the top symptoms your dog may have hot spots:

Red, Inflamed, and Moist Skin

Hot spots are characterized by redness, swelling, and moisture on the affected area. The skin may also feel warm to the touch.

Intense Itching

Dogs with hot spots will often itch and scratch at the affected area due to the discomfort it causes. This can lead to further irritation and damage to the skin.

Hair Loss

Due to constant scratching and licking, the hair around the hot spot may fall off, leaving a bald patch on your dog's skin.

Foul Odor

Hot spots can also emit a foul odor due to the presence of bacteria in the affected area.

causes of hot spots

Causes of Hot Spots

Several factors can contribute to the development of hot spots on dogs, including:


Allergies, such as food or environmental allergies, can cause intense itching and irritation, leading to hot spots. Common allergens include pollen, dust, mold, and certain ingredients in your dog's food.

Fleas and Ticks

Insect bites from fleas and ticks can also trigger hot spots. These tiny parasites carry allergens that cause intense itching and irritation, leading to a hot spot outbreak.

Poor Grooming Habits

Dogs with thick and long coats, such as Golden Retrievers or Labrador Retrievers, are more prone to hot spots due to poor grooming habits. When dead hair and debris build-up on the skin's surface, it can trap moisture and create a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.

Underlying Health Issues

An underlying cause, such as hormonal imbalances or skin conditions, can make your dog more susceptible to hot spots.

8 Must-Know Prevention Tips for Dog Owners

While various treatment options are available, prevention is always preferred when it comes to hot spots on dogs. By incorporating these preventative measures into your dog's routine, you can help reduce the risk of hot spot outbreaks and keep their skin healthy:

1. Proper Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for preventing hot spots. Brushing your dog's coat removes dead hair, dirt, and debris that can irritate the skin and lead to hot spots. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 

For pet parents who are looking for a high-quality, sustainable solution for hot spots… look no further than Pet Honesty’s Restore + Soothe Spray

Combined with MicroSilver BG™, this spray provides quick relief from itching, hot spots, and irritations as well as long-lasting benefits that support sensitive, healing skin. The antibacterial formula not only soothes problematic skin but also ensures your pet stays their healthy, best self.

flea and tick prevention

2. Flea and Tick Prevention

To prevent flea and tick infestations, use preventative products recommended by your veterinarian. These can include topical treatments, oral medications, or collars specifically designed for flea and tick control.

3. Allergen Management

If your dog has known allergies, work with your veterinarian to identify the allergens and come up with a management plan. This may include avoiding certain foods, using hypoallergenic grooming products such as specialized shampoos, and keeping your dog away from known allergens, such as pollen.

4. Proper Nutrition

A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for maintaining your dog's overall health, including their skin- so prioritize choosing high-quality dog food. If your dog's hot spots are potentially caused by allergies, as mentioned earlier, be sure to avoid foods containing common allergens, fillers, or artificial ingredients that could trigger hot spots.

Additionally, provide fresh, clean water at all times to keep your dog hydrated and help flush out toxins from their body.

Can I Incorporate Supplements for Skin Health?

Yes, certain supplements can support a healthy skin barrier and help prevent your dog's hot spots. These include omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as probiotics to promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

5. Regular Exercise

Regular exercise not only keeps your dog physically fit but also helps maintain a healthy immune system. A strong immune system can better defend against skin infections that can lead to hot spots.

6. Stress Management

Stressful situations, such as changes in routine, new environments, or separation anxiety, can trigger hot spots. Provide a comfortable and secure environment for your dog, and try to minimize stressors as much as possible.

7. Proper Wound Care

If your dog develops a hot spot despite taking preventative measures, it's essential to provide proper wound care. Keep the area clean and dry, and consult with your veterinarian for treatment options, such as topical ointments or antibiotics.

8. Regular Vet Visits

Regular visits to the veterinarian can help catch any underlying health issues that may make your dog more prone to hot spots. Your veterinarian can also provide recommendations for preventative measures and proper skin care.

Treating Hot Spots on Dogs

For minor hot spots, cleaning the area with a gentle, dog-safe antiseptic and applying a veterinarian-recommended topical treatment such as Pet Honesty’s Restore + Soothe Spray may be sufficient. 

However, severe cases often require veterinary attention, including oral antibiotics to control infection and inflammation.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

It is essential to monitor your dog's hot spots and seek veterinary care if they do not improve within a few days. Additionally, if you notice any of the following signs, it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian for proper treatment:

  • Hot spots that are large, deep, or rapidly spreading
  • Signs of infection, such as discharge, pus, or foul odor
  • Lethargy or loss of appetite
  • Excessive pain or discomfort for your dog
  • Hot spots that do not improve with at-home care

How are Hot Spots Treated Naturally?

In addition to proper wound care and veterinary hot spot treatment, some home remedies can help alleviate the discomfort of hot spots on dogs. Here are a few options:

Aloe Vera Gel

The soothing properties of aloe vera gel can help calm the itching and inflammation associated with hot spots. Apply a small amount of pure aloe vera gel to the affected area and let it dry before gently rinsing off.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help soothe hot spots. Gently massage a small amount onto the affected area, and avoid your dog licking it off.

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal is known for its calming and soothing properties, making it an effective natural remedy for hot spots. Grind plain oatmeal into a fine powder and mix with warm water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.


Can hot spots on dogs be contagious to other pets or humans?

No, hot spots are not contagious between animals or humans.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to developing hot spots?

Yes, some breeds with thick coats and heavy undercoats, such as Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, may be more susceptible to hot spots due to moisture and bacteria getting trapped in their fur.

Can hot spots be prevented entirely?

While it is not possible to completely prevent hot spots, following the above preventive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of your dog developing them. However, if your dog has a history of recurring hot spots or underlying health issues, it's crucial to work closely with your veterinarian for proper prevention and treatment plans.

How long does it take for a hot spot to heal?

The healing time for a hot spot can vary depending on the severity and individual cases, but it typically takes around 1-2 weeks to treat hot spots.

Can changing my dog's diet help prevent hot spots?

Yes, switching to a high-quality, balanced diet that is free from potential allergens or fillers can help prevent hot spots in dogs with food allergies.

can my dogs age affect

Can my dog's age affect their susceptibility to hot spots?

Yes, older dogs may be more prone to developing hot spots due to a weaker immune system and lack of grooming abilities. Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help prevent hot spots in senior dogs.

Can anxiety or boredom lead to hot spots?

Yes, dogs who experience anxiety or boredom may excessively lick or chew on their skin, leading to hot spots. Providing mental stimulation and addressing underlying stressors can help prevent this behavior.

Can I use human products, like hydrocortisone cream, on my dog's hot spots?

No, it is not recommended to use human products on your dog without consulting with a veterinarian first. Some ingredients may be harmful to dogs, and they may require a different dosage or form of treatment.

Can hot spots develop in winter?

Yes, hot spots can occur at any time of the year, especially if your dog has a thick coat that retains moisture and bacteria. It's important to continue proper skin care and grooming during winter..

Are there any natural supplements that can help prevent hot spots?

Yes, some natural supplements, such as fish oil and probiotics, can help improve coat and skin health, making them less prone to developing hot spots.

All in All...

Hot spots on dogs can be a painful and frustrating issue, but with proper care and preventative measures, they can be managed effectively. Remember to monitor your dog's skin, provide a healthy and stress-free environment, and seek veterinary care if needed.

With proper treatment and prevention, you can help keep your furry friend happy and healthy!