How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

5 min read


Hot Spots, Moist Dermatitis, and Summer Sores


Here are a few more things you might not have known about hot spots, moist dermatitis and summer sores. They really do seem much more prevalent in the summer months. They can cause severe itching and self-trauma because the infection goes into the deep layers of the skin. This is why hot spots may take two weeks to finally look like they are going to heal. On occasion if a dog has extensive and deep areas of moist dermatitis, oral antibiotics and antihistamines may need to be prescribed and large areas of skin will be shaved

Keep your dog well groomed, especially in hot seasons. Any dog that has matted, dirty hair coat is at greater risk of developing hot spots. Many owners will have their long or thick-furred dog shaved closely in the summer. You can do this yourself—carefully, of course—by using animal clippers, especially around the ears and where there is thick fur that doest dry quickly. This really does help prevent the thick coat from covering any dampness on the surface of the skin. If the fur is allowed to accumulate too much moisture, the wet skin underneath can become the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth and hot spots.


And though they mostly occur in the summertime, hot spots can develop at any time. If your dog develop a skin lesion, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not delay! You may run the risk that your dog's condition deterioates quickly (see below).


This Golden Retriever developed a hot spot under each ear and this severe moist dermatitis developed in less than 24 hours! Both ears and both sides of the dog's face needed to be clipped and cleaned while under light anesthesia.


Treatment consisted of putting topical peroxide on the dog's hot spot every two hours and systemic antibiotics to combat the deep skin infection, as well as a single, short acting corticosteroid to stop the inflammatory reaction. Oral antibiotics and topical medication are typically continued for at least a week; two weeks of the hot spot treatment is even better for the dog.