When you think of a hotspot you may imagine a hip nightclub or a packed restaurant, but dog hotspots are nowhere near as fun. For a dog a hotpot can be a painful irritation that can potentially be a serious health complication if infection sets in. So what is a canine hotspot, and how do you know if your dog has one?

What are Hotspots?

            A hotspot begins when your dog’s skin itches, for a variety of reasons. It could be that allergies are irritating the skin, or that trapped moisture is making him itchy. Because dog allergies are more common in the summer (grass and pollen abound) they are often known as a summertime ailment, but they can happen year round. Mats in longer haired breeds also create an ideal situation for hotspots because the skin can’t breathe and moisture gets trapped beneath the matted hairs. When the pup begins to scratch the itchy area repeatedly he digs into the skin, creating a raw area that is vulnerable to bacteria. These germs move in and set up house, creating an irritating open sore known as a dog hotspot.

How Do I Recognize a Hotspot?

            Sometimes dog hotspots can be sneaky little things, hiding under hair so that you don’t even know that they are there. The first step is to monitor your dog’s behavior. Is he itching a particular spot over and over? Also look for licking and even whining, which indicates that the area is painful for your dog. If he exhibits these behaviors, cuddle up to him and explore the itchy area. Pull back the fur so that you can see his skin and look for raw and red areas. If you find a hotspot make sure to trim the fur away from the area gently so that the hotspot can breathe, trapped moisture only promotes bacterial growth.


            Now you know how to find out if your dog has a hotspot. Don’t worry though, hotspots are easily cured, sometimes even at home.