How to Treat and Prevent Hot Spots in Pets

When their skin feels on fire from itching, your pet may scratch, lick, and chew so much that they create a hot spot. Help your furry pal beat the itch by learning more about these incredibly uncomfortable sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, which are also known as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that develop on a pet’s skin. These spots often seem to pop up overnight, and can quickly become an oozing, painful mess that is extremely painful for your pet.

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 pet skin irritations treated?

To avoid a severe skin infection, treating your pet’s hot spots as soon as possible is essential. Put your pet in an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar) as soon as you notice a small area of inflammation so they can’t irritate the skin any more.

As hot spots can be excruciatingly painful to the touch, we may give your pet sedation along with a potent analgesic when they come to our hospital for hot spot treatment. Once your pet is at ease, we will remove matted fur to make room for air. To enable the hot spot to heal, the wet, matted fur must be removed because it acts as a breeding ground for infection.

To remove fur and other debris, we will gently clean the area with an antiseptic rinse. Then, to relieve the itch and treat the infection, we will apply topical medications to the clean, dry skin. We may suggest allergy treatment, anal gland expression, ear medication, routine grooming, or other therapies depending on the underlying cause of the hot spot.

Don’t wait to act if you see an inflamed or irritated area on your pet’s skin. Call our staff to make an appointment before a small annoyance develops into a significant, uncomfortable hot spot.