Does Your Dog Get Hot Spots?

goldenI had never heard of hot spots (aka pyotraumatic dermatitis) until I got a Golden Retriever, but I understand other breeds get them, too.  Most recently, after my dog’s surgery, her incision became infected and inflamed, developing a hot spot right where the staples were – OUCH!  She has also gotten them after being groomed, where she may have been clipped too short, or maybe she jumped and the clippers nicked her skin.  They look terribly painful, and she will do just about anything to try to find relief.  She scratches at them, tries to lick them if she can reach, rubs on the carpet, etc.

According to, “hot spots are surface skin infections caused when populations of normal skin bacteria grow and overwhelm normal resistance. They are generally circular patches that lose hair, can be swollen, may exude a smelly pus, and can be painfully itchy, causing the dog to scratch, lick, or bite to the point of self-mutilation. Untreated hot spots can spread and provoke a normally even-tempered dog to growl or nip when touched.

These troublesome sores can seem to arise in a matter of hours with no warning, but they do tend to follow a pattern that helps in predicting their occurrence.

Dogs most susceptible to hot spots are those with heavy coats and histories of allergies, ear infections, flea infestations, irritated anal sacs, and grooming problems such as hair tangles and mats, but any dog can develop this infection. Dogs in warm, humid climates may develop hot spots when they shed their undercoats if the dead hair is trapped next to the skin, and dogs with behavior problems may mutilate themselves by licking and thus encourage an infection to become established.”

Our vet generally prescribes an antibiotic spray that must sting, based on Maggie’s reaction.  In this case, we had to give oral antibiotics, as well, because it was right at her surgery site.

What about your dogs – have you ever gone through this with them?  Any suggestions for prevention and / or treatment?

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog

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13 thoughts on “Does Your Dog Get Hot Spots?”

  1. My dog has them bad, I’ve tried organic shampoo’s nothing is working. He’s a big dog Malumte mixed. I’m taking him to the vet next week. I just feel so bad for him. The vet said they may have to give him something o,because the bacteria might have gone thru his system. We love him so much and he’s lost alot of his spirit. We love you Knightro hope this works.

  2. Michelle – I can only speak from what we’ve experienced with Maggie, but the spots have been crusty – no puss, no blood. I can’t say I’ve ever felt around it because it looks so painful. I try to touch it as little as possible – just spray the medication on to help it heal.

  3. when a dog gets a hotspot will it feel hard under skin surrounding the area? Also, will it have puss and little blood? Thanks

  4. i have a 3 month old chihuahua .. that i think has hotspots..but the questions is has any body out ther heard of hotspots on eyelids as well of the bottom of mouth and around the bottom of lower vet gave him antibiotics and some yellow oily med along with vitamins.. some one at vet said to mix 1/3 listerine and1/3 babyoil 1/3 water in botlle and spray it. anybody heard of this?

  5. Val – Is your dog showing any other signs of pregnancy? By 30 days after mating, you should be able to feel the pups through her abdominal wall – they will be about the size of walnuts. She should also have swollen nipples by this point, and the hair around them should be thinning.

    Either way, I would have your vet check her. If she is bleeding vaginally for this long, it could be a sign of a serious problem, regardless of whether or not she is pregnant.

    Thanks for writing, and congratulations on your impending grandmotherhood!

  6. Hello
    I think my dog may be pregnant and it has been just over a month since
    she may have conceived, my question is can she still be spotting around the
    vulva and should it still be swollen.

  7. I have a puppy that is barely 4 months old and the past week she has begun to loose hair on the top of her head, and get a terribly bad red bumpy rash on her belly that has started spreading down her legs. She is a Chihuahua and pickinese so she is very tiny anyway. I did not administer her puppy vaccines until yesterday because I thought she already had them. Now I have de wormed her and gave her the 7 in 1 vaccine and am applying hot spot medication on her. I plan to take her to the vet if it gets any worse I just wanted to ask if anyone has had a simular expierence and may know what may be wrong with her or what else I can try.
    Thank You Jessica O

  8. I use Carnoyum. My dog gets big hot spots that he chews and chews. He’s been using it for a while now and I haven’t had any issues or flare-ups. Plus, I like it because it is all natural. Anyway, it’s made by a company called Dinovite.

  9. just to let you know, i had a chow that got hot spots on a regular basis. we never knew what caused them but our vet would treat them with some kind of steriod cream, and they would dissapear in a week or so.

  10. Hard coated Terriers also get hot spots . Along with what has been mentioned in Terriers I find it can also be caused internally .Too hot a diet may cause hot spots Dogs eating a high protien diet seemed to be more prone to them . Feeding a lower protien diet and cutting out canned meats quite often will stop hot spots from appearing . To heal the hot spots I have used nitro furizone ointment . It works very well . You can purchase it in a feed store, Horse people have used it for years on the horses for scrapes, abrasions and saddle sores . A small amount goes a long way . It is somewaht like vaseline so if your dog is a couch potato it will get on your sofa. I also use betadine solution just dab it on with a cotton balll and for shampoo I use betadine surgical scrub. Both can be found at a pharmacy Both will kill the bacteria The main thing is you must trim the hair arounfd the hot spot otherwise the hot spot will keep getting larger.

  11. Poor Maggie… My Golden Chester also gets hot spots, always in Summer, and especially after going for a swim, or getting a bath. If his coat stays wet or damp for a certain period of time, he develops these horrible hots spots in a manner of hours. I’ve tried all sorts of medications, but nothing seems very effective. The only solution is preventing him from licking it and waiting for it to dry out. I hope Maggie gets better soon.

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