Moist dermatitis, acute moist dermatitis, or simply call it hot spot. These are all referring to the localized area of skin inflammation and infection on dogs. These can either be shallow or deep and you’ll find them anywhere on your dog’s body, usually on the head, hip, or chest area.

The medical term for this condition is “”pyotraumatic dermatitis”. “Pyo” means pus. “Traumatic” refers to the self-inflicted trauma that’s caused by scratching, licking, and/or biting. While “dermatitis” refers to the skin’s inflammation.

Signs of Hot Spot

Check your dog and see if he has oozing, pain, redness, and itchiness and hair loss. These are the hallmark signs of hot spot. Look closely as the hair, sometimes, covers the lesion, concealing its size and severity.

These lesions suddenly appear and grow rapidly because of the dog’s continues licking, scratching, and chewing of the affected area. In the morning, you may notice an inch or a few centimeters of inflamed skin. As you come home from work, you may notice that it has grown into a large size, as big as the palm of your hand.

Because it’s painful and itchy, dogs become restless and would not leave the area alone. They even growl or snap if the affected area is touched.


The extreme licking and scratching is usually triggered by a number of factors. Check if it has external parasites like fleas and mites, or insect bites, allergies (inhalant, food, contact), or injury like wound or scrape. In some cases, they “start” the hot spot themselves due to boredom or stress-related psychological issues. If they have matted fur or are infrequently groomed, they also become prone to hot spots. Although this can happen to any dog, long and thick coated breeds are more likely to develop them.


Because they quickly spread and are very likely to cause deeper skin infection, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. Ensure to follow what the vet says first, then do the treatments at home. Just be cautious as these are painful and your dog may not appreciate being touched. For your protection, you may also use a muzzle.

1. Shave the affected area. This will dry them out as the air gets to the area. Hair loss is among the symptoms of hot spot. However, they can also mat over the affected area, which covers a possibly more severe problem. Most likely, shaving the inflamed area will be your vet’s first step towards healing. This is seldom recommended as an at-home cure.
2. Wash the inflamed area using cold water and mild skin cleanser.
3. Use cold compress in the affected area using a cool wet washcloth. Do this 2 to 4 times a day.
4. Your veterinarian may recommend taking oral antibiotics, topical drying spray, and/or using special shampoo, depending on the severity of the case.
5. To prevent biting, licking, and scratching of the inflamed area, try using an Elizabethan collar or something similar.

Remedies at Home

While waiting for your appointment with the vet, here are some at-home treatments to alleviate your dog’s discomfort.

1. Use topical spray like Vetericyn. This doesn’t sting, promotes quick healing, and is safe even if your dog licks it.
2. Apply green or black tea bag compress or use it to wash the area.
3. Spray Domeboro’s (Burow’s) solution or use it as compress. This is available over-the-counter, made of aluminum acetate, and helps dry the skin out.
4. Apply thin film of ointment or cream like hydrocortisone cream. However, talk to your vet first as these only serve to “gunk up” the area. If used incorrectly, this could prevent proper drying. Check the ingredients too to ensure that it isn’t toxic.


Here are some recommendations to avoid hot spots:

1. Practice regular grooming.
2. For dogs with long coats, shave or clip their fur, especially during summer.
3. Follow a strict regimen for flea control
4. Maintain a stress-free environment
5. Give him toys and exercise to avoid boredom

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. If your pet shows signs of illness, please consult your vet.


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