Hot spots (acute moist pyotraumatic dermatitis) appear as localized, moist, reddish sores. Hot spots are the result of a bacterial infection: something irritates your dog’s skin & the irritation becomes itchy, so your dog does the logical thing—scratch, lick, or both—causing a red, ugly oozing sore. So what causes your dog to be itchy in the first place? Itchy skin can be caused by a variety of things, such as allergies to the surrounding environment, food, & fleas. Factors such as mange, anal gland disease, poor grooming, tick or mosquito bites, & even warm weather can cause your best friend to start the dangerous cycle of repeatedly scratching & licking an itch. Dogs with long, dense coats tend to be more susceptible to this condition. In some situations, licking can be a behavior issue. If your dog is passionate about licking and/or scratching, or if you notice hair loss & irritated skin that is oozing, crusty or scabby, seek medical care for your pet! Your pet will need some relief from the itching & medications to treat the irritated skin. Depending on your dog’s history your veterinarian will recommend the right combination of tests. These may include blood tests, microscopic skin evaluations, cultures, & allergy testing. How will your dog find relief? Your veterinarian will likely clip the hair away from the infected area, gently clean it with a mild antiseptic, & prescribe the appropriate medications. Healthy skin is the key to preventing hot spots! Make sure your dog is free of fleas & ticks. If your pooch has a thick, heavy coat, groom them regularly to prevent the coat from matting. Matted fur traps moisture & parasites, such as fleas, creating the ideal environment for hot spots!