Health | 1 Min Read

How to prevent hot spots

With weather warming, humidity rising and swim days abounding, hot spots become more frequent. Thankfully, identifying and addressing the underlying cause for your dog’s hot spot will help you prevent these skin conditions.

What are hot spots?

Also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are itchy areas of skin inflammation that some people may mistake for insect bites. Dogs will repeatedly scratch, chew and lick the site, making the inflammation worse and often causing a secondary bacterial infection. 

They initially start as red hairless areas. As the secondary infection begins, hot spots become moist and may discharge pus or fluid, which can lead to crusting and matting of the surrounding hair. Hot spots are painful, very itchy and will expand quickly as a dog’s scratching continues to traumatise the area.

This unintentional self-trauma becomes problematic as the cycle continues: itch, lick, chew, infection. Sad tails. 

Common causes

  • Flea allergy dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and contact irritants are common causes.
  • Moisture trapped in the coat following swimming is very common throughout Australian summers, as many Labrador and Retriever owners will know!
  • Dirty and matted coats


Daily brushing with a Slicker Brush and Rake and/or Comb will be your best prevention. Not only will you reduce and remove knots, you’ll be able to identify inflamed areas of skin before they become a problem. 

If you notice your dog chewing a localised area, inspect their coat and get them to the vet for further assessment. A topical treatment and possibly a systemic medication may be prescribed which can help you manage these pesky spots in future. 

If your dog has allergic skin disease, using an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement can help reduce inflammation and the symptoms of skin allergies.