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Hot Spots on Dogs: What are they and how do you get rid of them

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

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If your dog suffering from hot spots? Hot spots are a common skin condition that dogs will suffer from, especially in the summer months. Hot spots will often appear out of nowhere and spread rapidly on your dog - but don't worry, they can be treated and prevented with the correct care.

What are Hot Spots?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis or summer sores, are localised areas of skin suffering from inflamed and/or infected lesions that crop up when skin irritation or a small wound is moist. Hot spots are painful for your bulldog and bacterial infections can spread easily. Because skin irritations are hard for dogs to stop licking, scratching, or biting, it can be hard for them to heal on their own and hot spots do require treatment and on-going care management.

Often a hot spot will begin as a small red area that dog owners may mistake for an insect bite. Unlike an insect bite, a hot spot will rapidly worsen and spread, developing into a hot, red, oozing, and painful lesion

Bulldog Hot Spot
Bulldog Hot Spot

Are bulldogs prone to hot spots?

As a short haired dog, bulldogs aren't one of the dog breeds that are most prone to hot spots - however it is a skin condition that they will often end up suffering from without proper skincare.

If your bulldog loves to be in the water, then this will increase their chances of suffering from hot spots. Damp fur is the ideal environment for hot spots.

Dogs who suffer from allergies, fleas, parasites or regular skin infections are also more prone to suffering from hot spots.

Symptoms of hot spots on dogs

The main symptoms of hot spots on dogs are:

  • Well-defined areas of redness, swelling and hair loss.

  • Moist sores that will ooze pus and discharge

  • Matted hair in the areas of infection

Hot spots will spread rapidly on your dog due to the build up of bacteria in the infected areas.

Hot spots are extremely painful for bulldogs and will result in your dog licking and itching the infected areas.

With skin conditions in dogs, many of them have the same symptoms, so if you are ever unsure about a potential problem with your dog, you should seek professional advice from a vet.

Causes of hot spots on dogs

Hot spots on bulldogs are generally caused by your dog licking, scratching and chewing an infected area. The resulting trauma to the skin causes inflammation and secondary bacterial infections.

Treatments for hot spots on bulldogs

If caught early enough, most hot spots on bulldogs can be treated from home. However, you should always seek a vets advice to help you understand the root cause of the hot spot to be able to prevent it recurring in the future.

If you take your dog to the vet, the treatments that they will prescribe for your bulldog will be:

  • Oral antibiotics

  • Anti-itch medication

  • A dog cone

Depending on the cause of the hot spot, your vet may prescribe additional medication.

Home Remedies to cure hot spots on bulldogs

You can treat hot spots from home if you are unable to make it to a vet. In order to treat your dogs hot spot, you need to:

  1. Trim the hair around the hot spot. This will allow the infected area to receive air, drying out the hot spot and preventing excess moisture which will prolong the healing process.

  2. Clean the skin with a mild, water-based antiseptic spray or wipes.

  3. Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested.

  4. Place a cone on your bulldog to help prevent them from biting, licking, or scratching the hot spot.

  5. Monitor the area for improvement and signs of healing (decreased redness, less moisture, smaller lesion size).

Contact your vet for an exam to treat the underlying issue, and notify them if the area is not healing or is getting worse.

How to prevent hot spots on dogs

To prevent hot spots on dogs, you need to understand more about what is causing your bulldog to get hot spots. Good parasite prevention, treatment of skin infections, and management of allergies are essential to stop scratching and prevent trauma to the skin.

Ensuring that your bulldog is regularly groomed, has good hygiene and skincare are also great ways to prevent hot spots.

If your bulldog is licking due to stress or boredom, increasing daily exercise and active play time can alleviate this problem. Puzzle toys or slow feed bowls are a great way to keep your bulldog mentally stimulated and entertained, removing the boredom.

Supplementing fatty acids is another option to prevent and manage skin disease. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are found in fish oil. These fatty acids not only have anti-inflammatory properties, but also help promote a healthy skin barrier, making your dog less susceptible to allergens and infection.

Frequently asked questions

Are hot spots a recurring condition?

If your dog has got a hot spot, then it is likely that they will recur in the future. Proper grooming and bathing of your dog, as well as other preventative measures mentioned above will help reduce the risk of your bulldog suffering from hot spots again.

If your dog happens to suffer from chronic hot spots that are constantly recurring, then we recommend seeking immediate advice from your vet.

Are hot spots on dogs contagious?

The root cause of the majority of hot spots on dogs are bacterial infections - which are not contagious. However, if the cause of the hot spot is fungal or parasitic, then it's possible that the hot spot may be contagious and could potentially spread to other dogs or humans.

If your dog is suffering from a hot spot, then we recommend contacting your vet to try and establish the root cause of the hot spot and prevent it from being spread further.

Can hot spots kill a dog?

If hot spots are left untreated, they can spread and develop into more serious infections - which can in turn be fatal for your dog. With proper management and treatment, a hot spot on your dog should not be fatal.

Can hot spots heal on their own?

A hot spot should not be left to heal on it's own. Leaving a hot spot will only cause them to spread further, develop more bacteria and cause much more serious infections on your dog. They are also extremely painful and uncomfortable for your dog, so should be treated with a matter of urgency.

If you are struggling with treating your dogs hot spot, then we recommend seeking immediate advice from your vet.


Hot spots on bulldogs, also known as moist dermatitis, are a painful condition where the skin becomes reddened, moist, and inflamed, usually as a result of allergies, an infection, parasites, or moisture trapped within the coat. Other symptoms of hotspots include licking, scratching, biting, and discharge of pus and fluids. If not treated properly, hot spots can result in severely damaged skin, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, and act quickly to contact your veterinarian should any of them present themselves.

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