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How To Treat Dog Hot Spots: Moist Dermatitis

Golden Retriever Nibbling their paws

Many dog owners know the troubles that come with a dog over licking or gnawing at their skin and paws. This can lead to moist dermatitis or more commonly referred to as dog hot spots. In this article, I will cover what these hot spots are and how they got there along with a remedy you can try at home to reduce the hot spots down to nothing.

As with everything regarding your dog's health it is recommended to get an appointment with your veterinarian as they are the experts and will be able to help you the best they can. So without further introduction, let's get into what a hot spot actually is.

What Are Hot Spots?

Black Lab in a red harness licking its lips in a field

In short, a hot spot is a bacterial skin infection often causes by existing skin damage that is then exposed to bacteria. These are oozing sores on the dog's skin that can be extremely painful for them. The problem with Hot Spots is that a majority of the time they are self-inflicted by the dogs as they overly lick and gnaw at their own skin and paws. The bacteria that cause these hot spots are often a result of the wound remaining moist due to things like rain, showers, swimming, licking, and even the wound oozing on its own. Hot spots are what is known as Acute Moist Dermatitis and are one of the leading skin conditions seen in dogs.

If you would like to learn more about the scientific breakdown of dog Hot Spots and even see some pictures check out  this article by the Auburn Animal Hospital, Warning the pictures may be gross.

How do hot spots start?

Beagle looking sad in a grassy area

The main thing that causes hot spots on your dog is often your dog, though there are other ways it can happen as well. The way your dog causes these spots is by repeatedly licking, biting, and scratching to the point where the skin gets irritated or cut allowing the exposure of bacteria to be introduced. It can also be caused by other injuries to your dog's skin where they are then exposed to moisture and the wound is not properly dried.

Some of the things that can cause this self-grooming to the point of sores include allergies, mites, fleas, ticks, bug bites, plants, or even other wounds.

Some things to look for on your dog are inflamed reddish-pink areas that they tend to lick or gnaw at constantly. If it is still in this stage it is still early on and can easily be treated. If there is a visible wound and your dog's hair around this area is falling out the hot spot is most likely in full effect and should be dealt with immediately as to prevent further pain.

How To Treat Dog Hot Spots.

Golden retriever nibbling in a green grass lawn

Once you know that your dog does indeed have a hot spot there are still things you can do to help. First off you will want to have a meeting with your veterinarian to make sure there are no underlying problems associated with the sore as well as making sure your dog is healthy. Once this is done you can then help out your dog by monitoring them and treating their moist dermatitis.

When I say monitor it is important that your dog is not falling into the trap of repeated licking and gnawing that led them to this point in the first place. A good way to help this is to monitor them making sure they are not sneaking off to lick their hot spots. Now I know you cannot be there 24/7 but there are ways to help when you are not there as well such as the dreaded doggy cone. Your dog may hate it but it will help the healing process tremendously if they don't lick at their wound.

Another way to further help the healing period is by applying coconut oil, which can be used both orally and topically, to their daily routine. This amazing compound it great at dealing with many skin conditions seen in dogs and even has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help out hot spots tremendously.

Coconut oil can be used one of two ways, by giving it to your dog as a dietary supplement or using it as a salve for wounds and general skin care. The great thing about this, however, is the fact that you can do both for even increased benefits. By applying it directly to the hot spot you can help reduce the healing time while giving it to them orally can help with the inflammation keeping them from itching and biting at their skin.

If you would like to find out more about coconut oil check out our full coconut oil guide for dogs as well as checking out our recommended brand today!

How to tread dog hot spots



Moist Dermatitis can be a pain, literally, and knowing how to treat dog hot spots can help reduce the discomfort your dog is going through. We do recommend seeing your veterinarian if your dog has a hotspot as they can help it heal effectively. Along with this try out some of the ideas we gave you on how to help out. If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it with others so they can learn how to deal with hot spots. If your dog is dealing with hot spots and you've found an effective method to help feel free to leave it in the comments for others to try.

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How to tread dog hot spots: Moist Dermatitis

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