Hot Spots on Dogs by Emily Lim, RVT

What are Hot Spots?

A Hot Spot is a general term used when there are areas of irritation and inflammation on the skin, often they are infected with bacteria.

How do I know if my dog has a Hot Spot?

  • They can be a red, warm, or moist, area on the skin, often with hair loss and odour.
  • They can be painful and itchy causing the pet to bite, lick, or rub the area.
  • They are often found on pets with thicker or longer hair (like Labradors and Golden Retrievers).
  • They can be found anywhere on a pet, but commonly under the arms, behind the ears, and on the neck.

When do dogs most often get Hot Spots?

In the summer/hot months of the year or after swimming or bathing. They are often provoked by bug bites, allergies, excess moisture on the skin, matted fur, scrapes or cuts.

How do I prevent my dog from getting a Hot Spot?

  • Dry him or her thoroughly after swimming or bathing
  • Consider grooming the hair so it is shorter or thinner

How are Hot Spots treated?

  • Any hair in or around the affected area should be trimmed down or shaved with clippers.
  • Keep the affected area clean and dry.
  • An antibiotic or topical medication is often required to get the infection under control.
  • Wearing an e-collar will prevent licking and spreading of the affected area.


If you suspect your dog may be suffering from hotspots please do not delay calling our Scarborough veterinary clinic. The bacteria found in these skin infections can be very intense and spread extremely rapidly. Hot spots are generally very itchy and uncomfortable for our pets so the West Hill Animal Clinic team would like to ensure that your pet is treated immediately.