• Flame icon depicting Lavengel is effective in treating and healing canine hotspots

Canine Hot Spots: Pictures, Solutions, and Prevention

For a deeper dive into these pesky red patches, see our Ultimate Hotspot Guide.

Remember, we always recommend consulting with your vet for any of your dog's health concerns.

Hotspot with fur loss on back of head of blonde French bulldog

What is a Hot Spot?

Hot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are red, inflamed, often shiny patches of skin. Thinning or loss of fur are common in and around the spot.

These raw, red areas are extremely itchy and can be very painful. Hotspots are most commonly found around the head, neck, hips, groin, and tail.

Drawing of basset hound dressed as Sherlock Holmes with magnifying glass in mouth

Key Identifiers of Hot Spots

  • Red and inflamed area of skin or sores
  • Skin appears to be raw and ‘angry’
  • Pus, blood, or discharge may be present
  • Fur around the area may be matted or missing
  • Scabbing in and around the area
  • Excessive licking and scratching at the area
  • Your dog seems to be painful around this area
Bright red hot spot on head of Golden Retriever

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

Hotspots are created (and made worse) by a dog’s constant licking, biting, rubbing, and or scratching at an itchy area. They can appear and set in quickly - many people remark that they seem to "appear overnight."

The initial irritation could come from allergies (seasonal or food-related), fleas, insect bites, bee stings, scrapes, razor burn, moisture trapped under the fur, or persistent rubbing from a collar or harness. The broken and damaged skin also invites microbes that can cause infections and make the issue harder to treat.

Breeds Commonly Affected by Hot Spots

Hotspots can happen to any breed of dog, but they tend to be more prevalent in breeds with thicker coats or skin folds, such as:

  • Drawing of pitbull dog wearing aviator sunglasses and lavender bandanna


  • Golden Retrievers

  • Drawing of English bulldog wearing lavender collar and propellor hat

    English Bulldogs

  • Illustration of German Shepherd wearing sunglasses and lavender tie

    German Shepherds

  • Illustration of French bulldog wearing lavender hoodie


  • Labradors

  • Yorkies

  • Drawing of a Siberian Husky wearing a lavender bow tie


  • Drawing of Rottweiler wearing lavender tiara and collar


  • Illustration of happy Akita dog with lavender collar


  • Drawing of a sitting pug wearing a purple cloak and party hat


  • Drawing of Shih Tzu wearing lavender Santa hat

    Shih Tzus

Hotspot rash with thinning fur on back of brindle-coated dog

How Do I Prevent Hot Spots?

Here are a few things you can do to keep acute moist dermatitis at bay:

  • Keep your dog's fur well-groomed and, if needed, trimmed.
  • Make sure your dog is completely dry after a bath or being wet to prevent trapped moisture.
  • Make sure collars and harnesses aren’t too tight and allow appropriate air flow.
  • Keep them on a flea/heartworm prevention medicine, even during the cold months.
  • If your dog has seasonal or environmental allergies, see your vet about an oral antihistamine regimen.
  • Disallow them from agitating a specific spot; this may require booties, a cone
  • Use Lavengel® on itchy spots to help heal and prevent them from worsening

How to Treat a Hot Spot with Lavengel

If you notice your dog scratching at a specific area for a prolonged period, take a closer look. Like many skin problems, the sooner you can catch a hot spot, the better. Stopping the repeated agitation is key. The more dogs lick, chew, and scratch, the worse they get, and the risk of developing pyoderma (bacterial infection) or a yeast infection greatly increases, too.

Lavengel® is an excellent means of countering canine hot spots at any stage - yes, even with infection. Its natural lavender oil soothes the irritation, so dogs are less prone to itch. Then, its powerful combination of antioxidants fight off microbes and provide the micronutrients needed to quickly repair damaged skin.

It's really as simple as these three steps:

  • Large number 1 inside of lavender circle

    Clean the Area

    Make sure the hotspot area is clean - chlorhexidine first aid wipes can help here. You may also need to trim or shave excess fur in or around the area.

  • Large number 2 inside lavender circle

    Apply Lavengel

    Lightly massage the soothing ointment onto the area 2-3 times daily. Because it’s concentrated, A Dot on the Spot® is all you need.

  • Large number 3 inside lavender circle

    Distract Your Pup

    Use a treat to keep your dog from licking the gel for a moment so it can absorb. A bandage may also be advisable, depending on location or severity.

Hot Spot Healing Photos

You can see the full write-up of these and other testimonials on our Stories page.

  • Before and after images of Lavengel healing extensive hotspot rash on back and tail of rescue dog
  • Before and after images of Lavengel healing hotspot on groin of Siberian Husky
  • Before and after images of Lavengel healing heat rash on back and tail of rescue mutt

Dog Hot Spot FAQs

Will my dog's hotspot go away on its own?

While it is possible for a dog's hot spot to go away on its own, it is unlikely, for it requires that the dog completely refrain from licking or scratching the area until the skin heals. If the hotspot is infected, there is a high probability that it will get worse if left untreated.

It is strongly recommended that hot spots are treated early and consistently until they are gone.

That's where Lavengel® comes in. It's powerful enough to soothe itch and heal the skin while being safe enough for dogs to lick without fear of gastrointestinal upset.

Are dog hot spots contagious?

No, canine hot spots are neither contagious to other dogs, nor humans.

However, it is possible that the original cause of the hotspot (what actually started the itch) can be spread, such as certain parasites like scabies mites, fleas, or ticks, or a fungal infection like ringworm.

Are dog hot spots fungal or bacterial?

Hot spots themselves aren't necessarily considered "fungal" or "bacterial," unless an infection has developed.

Hot spots are caused by repetitively licking and scratching an area of skin that's bothering them, which could have been caused by anything - a cut, bee sting, allergies, flea bites, or even anxiety.

The damaged skin of a hot spot makes a prime location for a bacterial infection (pyoderma) or fungal infection (such as Malassezia or ringworm) to develop. This adds to the irritation and makes dogs want to scratch and lick even more to soothe their skin, causing the lesion to grow.

Are dog hot spots dangerous?

Hot spots, like other skin wounds and disruptions, can become dangerous if they develop an infection. Infections, if left untreated, could spread and become systemic, affecting the whole body.

This is why it is best to treat a hot spot on your dog quickly with Lavengel®. It will greatly aid in soothing the itch, healing the skin, and guarding against infection.

Will my dog's hair grow back after a hot spot?

Yes, it is very likely that your dog's fur will grow back after a hot spot, especially if they generally have healthy skin and coat.

It requires significant damage to the hair follicles and lower layer of skin (dermis) to deter a healthy dog's hair from regrowing.

Dogs with compromised immune systems, malnutrition, or other skin disorder may not be able to regrow hair as quickly or easily.

Are there any home remedies for dog hot spots?

Let's put it this way:

If you're willing to spend the money and time to buy and mix up a bunch of random ingredients and/or essential oils in your kitchen, we will save you both money and time with a product that's just as natural and safe, with over 14 years of research and thousands of happy dogs behind it. That's Lavengel®.

  • 5-star rating for Lavengel for dogs

    Soothed my dog's hot spots immediately

    It helps my Shih Tzu with her hot spots caused by licking and scratching. It seems to start working almost immediately after being applied!

    -- O.R.

  • 5-star rating for Lavengel for dogs

    Better than her oral hot spot meds

    Everyone needs this remarkable product in their home. I first used Lavengel as an anti-itch ointment for my dog’s hot spots - much more effective than her oral meds from the vet. I will never be without it while traveling!

    -- Joanne T.

  • 5-star rating for Lavengel for dogs

    No more hotspot and less itching

    A great product. Soothed hot spots and seemed to reduce itching. So much better than all the other products I’ve tried. My labrador has chronic pyoderma and this has been what has helped.

    -- Pamela R.

  • 5-star rating for Lavengel for dogs

    That hot spot disappeared fast

    I used Lavengel on a hot spot on our dog and the spot cleared up within a couple of days. This stuff works so well. I keep telling everyone about it.

    -- Melissa P.

  • 5-star rating for Lavengel for dogs

    Cured my dog's hotspot allergy

    My dog had gotten like a really severe hot spot/allergic reaction to something. Had to trim her hair down and putting this on those hot spot areas did the trick!

    -- Eliana