Hot Spots and your Pet

Hot Spots” , otherwise known as moist dermatitis is a skin condition seen in pets. They occur when something irritates or breaks the skin while it is moist. The majority of hot spots are caused by your pet excessively licking, chewing or scratching at their skin.


Hot spots are created when a moist area of skin (due to licking, grooming, scratching, bathing, swimming etc..) becomes inflamed. This creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth to occur on the surface of the skin.

Treatment of hot spots

Hot spot on a dog after clipping the area

Hot spot on a dog after clipping the area

  • It is most important that the area is allowed to dry. This is best accomplished by clipping/shaving the area surrounding the hot spot so that the fur doesn’t trap any more moisture close to the skin. While it might be tempting to wrap or bandage a hot spot, this could cause it to worsen as the bandage material will continue to trap in moisture.
  • Antibacterial cleanser/topical antibiotic cream may be prescribed to help healing and to stop the infection from worsening. Treatments are usually applied 1 to 3 times a day for a week or so. If you are prescribed both a cleanser and cream, use the cleanser first, allow the area to dry completely then apply the cream.
  • If the area is very inflamed and itchy a steroid cream may also be prescribed to ease the itchiness and help relieve the redness.
  • Douxo® Spot-on is a formulation that contains phytosphingosine, a pro-ceramide to help support the normal production of sebum and skin cells, and help support a healthy skin barrier. This may be prescribed for your pet to help promote overall healthy skin. The product is not applied directly to the hot spot, it gets applied 3-4 cm away from the affected area. It contains a carrier, so that once it is applied it will disperse to the affected area.
  • In order for the hot spot to heal we must stop the licking and scratching that may have started it in the first place. It will be recommended that your pet wears an E.collar (cone of shame) while healing.
  • If the hot spot is severe oral antibiotics and/or oral steroids may also be prescribed alongside the topical medications.
Small hot spot on a cat near the ear

Small hot spot on a cat near the ear

If hot spots are a reoccurring concern with your pet chances are there is an underlying condition that needs addressing. It could be something as simple as not drying your pet off enough after a swim or bath. Other culprits of reoccurring hot spots include food allergies, environmental allergies, poor grooming habits, external parasites and in dogs, hypothyrodism.