Hotspots: What They Are and What You Can Do

No dog wants to be put in a cone. And no dog owner wants to see those puppy eyes through a cone. But when your pet can’t stop licking and biting their leg, it’s natural to want to protect them from their own chewing habits.

If your pet is fixating their biting on one spot, there’s a fair chance they have a hotspot. Hotspots are painful looking red spots that irritate and itch your pup, and you may see them licking, biting, or trying to scratch at this spot.

It’s natural to worry when your pet is uncomfy or in pain. But while they’re definitely a nuisance for your pet, hotspots are relatively commonplace, and shouldn’t be scary if you know more about them.

Let’s talk about:

  • What are hotspots?
  • What do hotspots look like?
  • How can you help your pup? 

  • What are hotspots?

    Hotspots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are painful, itchy red spots that your pup may have a tendency to bite or lick. Unfortunately for your pup, biting at the spots can cause them to worsen and potentially lead to inflammation or infection. 

    Many different skin conditions can lead to hotspots in your dog, from fleas or allergies to boredom that results in excessive licking or paw chewing. In some cases, hotspots could be indicative of more severe or chronic skin conditions.

    Some breeds may be more susceptible to hotspots, such as Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds. In addition, hot spots are more likely to occur when it’s hot and humid, or when dogs are frequently wet from bathing or swimming. This is because your pup’s fur coat is likely to trap moisture and hold it against their skin, causing irritation.

    What do hotspots look like?

    While hot spots vary in size, they are usually red and may have swelling and hair loss as well. They are most common on limbs, the head, and the hips, although they can occur anywhere. They are typically distinguishable from other skin conditions as they are moist instead of dry or cracking.

    It’s recommended to check your pet’s ears and under their tail weekly for signs of inflammation, redness, or infection (especially if your pup has droopy ears). If your pup seems to have fixated their licking on a certain paw, leg, or other spot on their body, double check those spots as well. Vets recommend clipping hair away from the hotspot to minimize chances of infection.

    How can you help your pup?

  • See the Vet
  • If you think your pup might have a hotspot, taking them to the vet can help make sure your pet is properly diagnosed and treated. And if you’re worried about hotspots getting worse, it’s generally a good idea to try to keep your dog from scratching or chewing at them.

  • Proper Grooming
  • Keeping your pet groomed and dry can help mitigate trapped moisture that can lead to hotspots. As hotspots are points of irritation and inflammation on your dog’s skin, keeping their skin healthy can go a long way to stop hotspots from forming. Fleas and other parasites can cause hotspots as well, so keeping up with overall hygiene can help keep pests away and keep your pup hotspot-free in the long run. Keeping your pet dry will also ensure that moisture isn’t trapped against their skin causing that inflammation and irritation that can lead to hotspots.

  • Supporting Skin Health
  • Promoting overall skin health with a fish oil supplement such as Mighty Paw Waggables Mighty Omega Chews can support skin health and coat shine. Mighty Paw also makes an Immune and Itch Chew to help maintain your pups skin health and support a healthy allergy response. Both of these supplements are bacon-flavored too, so you can be happy that your pet is taking their supplements, and your pet can be happy that you’re giving them a treat!

  • Anti-Chew Sprays, Toys, and Treats
  • If your pet just can’t stop fixating on that one spot, anti-chew sprays like Mighty Paw’s Yucky Bitter No-Chew Pet Spray are a good solution to help your dog stay away from an itchy spot on their paw. These sprays have a bitter and unappealing taste to keep your pet away from their hotspot.

    Mighty Paw’s Spray is vet formulated, safe for wounds, and may be sprayed over topical medication, so it’s a great option if your pet’s chewing fixation is a hotspot, and much more comfortable for your pup than wearing one of those pesky cones.

    And of course, there’s always toys and treats to give your pup something appropriate to chew on. Yak Cheese Chews are a great limited ingredient option for pups that’s better on teeth than a rawhide bone. The Chews are available in a range of sizes, from small, for pups ranging from 0-15 pounds, to Monster for dogs 30-90 pounds. How’s that for the cheese tax

    Hotspots definitely aren’t fun, but knowing the signs and getting your pet to their…dogtor (get it?) can help ensure any potential underlying issues get addressed. And if your pet doesn’t have a hotspot, keeping them dry and supporting overall skin health and hygiene will go a long way towards keeping your pet happy and saving them from a ruff situation.

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.