Back to News

Published: Jan 19, 2012

If you've noticed that your canine companion is consistently licking or chewing on a specific area of their body, they could be developing a hot spot.

Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are a common canine skin disorder that can appear suddenly and develop into swollen, irritated lesions, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Chewing and licking the irritated area can cause it to grow larger and even more painful.

These painful sores can crop up as a result of flea, tick or other bug bites, or they may be caused by allergic reactions to food or something in their environment. A veterinarian will be able to determine the root of the problem, which is the first step to treating a hot spot, VCA reports. Anxiety and stress can also be factors in the development of this skin affliction.

The ASPCA indicates that a treatment of a hot spot may include shaving the infected area so air and topical medications can effectively reach the site. The vet may also prescribe dog shots of corticosteroids or antihistamines to control itching and antibiotics to ward off infection.

Typically, once a hot spot has been diagnosed and treated, the symptoms subside rapidly. However, the issue can be recurrent in some canines. Dogs with chronic hot spots should be tested for allergies and other underlying conditions that could be to blame. Regular grooming and flea-prevention can help keep your pet hot spot-free as well.