One of the prime manifestations of allergy in cats and dogs is a raised, red skin condition (usually warm to the touch) known as hot spots (or “acute moist dermatitis.”) If you have a furry pet, here’s what to watch for:

Causes of Hot Spots

Hot spots are often triggered by environmental allergens (pollens, dust mites, etc.) They can also be brought on by food allergies, fleas, or insect bites.

dog hot spots

Determining Hot Spots

Hot spots are red, moist patches often found on the head, neck, or hip. If you notice your pet licking and chewing at a particular area, there may be a hot spot looming beneath. If left untreated, you may see the affected area balding and turning into large open sores that ooze pus and blood and often emit an odor.

Preventing Hot Spots

If fleas or ticks are causing your pet to scratch, a repellant spray might help keep the bugs (and itching) at bay. If your pet does start scratching, a neck cone might be helpful in keeping them from licking the infected area. (Excessive licking can lead to exacerbation of the rash and infection).

Treating Hot Spots

Consult a veterinarian if you suspect hot spots. Topical or oral antibiotics can sometimes alleviate skin irritation. You will likely be advised to clean the irritation thoroughly before applying a topical cream by using an antiseptic spray or shampoo (and possibly to trim back the hair around the affected

If you suspect that hot spots are allergy-related, consider allergy immunotherapy to treat the source of the allergy. (If you only treat the hot spots rather than the underlying allergy, the hot spots will likely keep coming back.) Immunotherapy is available through allergy shots or oral drops. Contact PALLERGY for more information about oral immunotherapy.