Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Breath Fresheners
Chews & Treats
Rinses & Water Additives
Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Ear Cleansers
Ear Infection Remedies
Ear Mite Treatments
Antibiotic Anti-Infective
Artificial Tears & Lubricants
Eye Inflammation
Tear Stain Removers
Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworm & Flea Control
Home Flea & Tick Treatment
Immediate Relief
Oral Flea Treatments
Tick & Flea Collars
Canned Pet Food
Dry Pet Food
Raw Pet Food
Adult Pet Food
Glucose Balance
Digestive Health & Support
Grain Free
Joint Support
Kitten Food
Puppy Food
Senior Pet Food
Skin Support
Small Breed Dog Food
Weight Loss & Management
Pet Food Storage
Joint Pain
Joint Supplements
Lifting Harness
Orthopedic Beds
Steps & Ramps for Mobility
Allergy Relief
Compound Medications
Cough Relief
Digestive Health & Enzymes
High Blood Pressure
Hormonal Endocrine
Insulin & Glucose Balance
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Seizure Disorder
Urinary Tract & Kidneys
Bowls & Elevated Feeders
Car Seats & Pet Carriers
Cat Litter
Cesar Millan Training Aids
Crates & Kennels
Drinking Fountains
Elizabethan Collars
First Aid
Furniture Protectors
Grooming Tools
Leashes & Harnesses
Life Jackets
Outdoor Cat Pens
Pet Food Storage
Stain Removers
Steps & Ramps
Training Aids
Wireless Dog Fences
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Fly Control
Grooming Tools
Hairball Remedies
Itch Relief
Ringworm Treatments
Shedding Control
Skin Care Supplements
Skin Medications
Digestive Enzymes
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Liver Support
Senior Support
Whole Food Supplements
Hot Spots Info
Hot Spots Blog Topics
PetMeds Vet Blog with Dr. Dym Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian
"Over 19 years of caring for the well-being of pets"
Visit his Ask the Vet blog.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Symptoms of Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats


Hot Spots (Flea Allergy Dermatitis) Symptoms

  • Compulsive biting
  • Licking
  • Chewing that looks like corncob nibbling
  • Scratching around the head & neck
  • Bald areas

Hot Spots on Dogs

Dogs with fleas often bite compulsively. They chew up and down their limbs as if they're nibbling on a corncob because they are so itchy. Dogs also roll on their backs to scratch the itching skin that can't be reached with their paws. The skin may have red bites, rather like mosquito bites, or large raw, wet areas called hot spots. As the allergy worsens, the hot spots coalesce and become large open sores. Bacteria and yeast enter the skin and infect it creating oozing, pus-filled areas called pyodermatitis (Pyo means pus).

Hot Spots on Cats

Cats with fleas may bite compulsively. They scratch at their head and neck because it itches. Flea-allergic cats can be so over-stimulated to groom that they actually barber their hair and develop bald areas. If this weren't enough, cats with flea allergies can develop miliary dermatitis, alopecia, eosinophilic plaque, and lip ulcers.


Compulsive licking, itching and chewing of the skin are common symptoms of fleas, and potentially flea allegry dermatitis

Where Are Flea Bites Commonly Found on a Pet's Body?

Flea bites occur along the back and hips, inner thighs, and the belly. These areas are difficult for your pet to reach to scratch and groom. With time, flea dermatitis can enlarge from its original area to become a generalized problem.

How Are Hot Spots Diagnosed?

Find the fleas on your pet or use the presence of flea dirt to confirm your suspicion of fleas. Some prefer to confirm flea bite allergies by doing skin tests that show your pet's immune response to flea proteins.

If you part your pet's coat, you may find tiny copper-colored or blackish pepper flakes, about 1/8 inch long. Unless the flea infestation is severe, you may see nothing unusual because fleas are programmed to live in dark areas. They dash out of sight to hide as you part your pet's hair. Instead of finding fleas, you may find flea dirt, which looks like dark dust. When flea dirt is damp, it becomes red because it is made of blood. It's very difficult to see flea eggs because they are only 1/64th of an inch in size and because they fall off the pet and to the floor. If you have a microscope and want to look for flea eggs, search along moldings, in cracks between boards, or in leaf litter. Eggs aren't normally seen on the pet.

What Is Flea Dirt?

You might suspect fleas are causing your pet's skin problems, but can't find them. This frequently happens with cats because cats can groom so fastidiously after they are bitten that they destroy the flea. Instead of looking for fleas, look for flea dirt. To find flea dirt, brush your pet over a white surface, such as a white rubber bath mat or dish drainer. Lightly dampen the dirt that falls on the mat and look for tiny streaks of reddish brown. That reddish brown material is your pet's blood.


More Information About Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats

Help / Customer Service
My Account
PetMeds® Sites
PetMeds® Programs
Our 100% Guarantee
About Us
Contact Us
PetMeds® Help
Privacy Policy
Printable Order Form
Site Map
Vet Directory
Request a Catalog

Email Preferences
Easy refill
Track my order
My Account Page
My pet has passed away
PetMeds® Blog
PetHealth 101®
PetMeds® Charitable Causes
1-800-PetMeds® Careers
PetMeds® Investor Relations
pet meds
Pet Meds Photos
Pet Meds News
Pet Health Articles
Affiliate Program
Shelter & Rescue Program
Join our Social Network
    PetMeds® on Facebook
    PetMeds® on Twitter
    PetMeds® on YouTube
    PetMeds® Google+
    PetMeds® LinkedIn
    PetMeds® on Instagram
Copyright © 2014 PetMed Express, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Vet-VIPPSVETERINARY-VERIFIED INTERNET PHARMACY PRACTICE SITES(CM) Online Veterinary Pharmacy Services has earned Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (Vet-VIPPS(CM)) accreditation through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).
Verisign Secured Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pharmacies in Pompano Beach FL