Hot Spots: Moist versus Dry


hot spot

Example of a typical moist hot spot. This one has no infection. It was caused by trauma. You would not want to use a salve or oil on this but rather a drying or astringent tea.

Hot spots are a problem in dogs and cats and indicate a deeper skin condition due to a wide variety of causes. Skin allergies, trauma, auto-immune diseases, nerve problems, mites or mange and fleas or flea bite dermatitis are some of the common reasons dogs and cats get hot spots.

All of the hot spots in these photos cleared up using only holistic treatments. It is important to identify the cause in order to pick out the best possible treatment options.

In the video below, I explain the difference between moist hot spots and dry hot spots. Please do not allow any of your friends to apply tea tree oil to hot spots. Often very inflammatory itself, tea tree oil or melaleuca oil has many potential side effects and some animals have died after it’s application. However, lavender oil applied in a diluted form is safe and will immediately cut the pain and burn out of a hot spot, whether it’s moist or dry.

To show the dry form of hot spots, I introduce Lucy,  a cat who came in with this skin condition:

lucy skin close up copy

Notice the infection and the purpling of the skin where cell death and sloughing has occurred

Lucy skin

Lucy has a dry hot spot. Notice there is no moist sebum layer. It’s still an infection with underlying allergies but it’s dry in nature.

Dry hot spots can be treated with oil or salve because the added moisture can be helpful but cats will lick any salve off. Her skin responded well to holistic treatments especially when the underlying allergy problem was addressed. Lucy was allergic to fish and chicken. It’s hard to find canned food with no fish but that is what her person did. This cat was fourteen at time of treatment and had skin issues most of her life. She came in weekly and in six sessions of acupuncture and NAET and with external compresses of calendula tea, here is what her skin looked like:

lucy healed up copy



In this video, I work with Daphne, a thirteen year-old Shitzu with a recent history of allergies. Because she has been on a raw diet, she responded very quickly to NAET allergy clearings for proteins and trees as well as an herbal formula. The underlying reason for her hot spots was allergies which can be addressed from the inside to affect the skin. Her hot spots were under her chest area and under her front legs and they were caused by a secondary Staphloccocus infection. We also used Zymox shampoo to help clear them up. After 2 treatments, her skin cleared up almost entirely. Here we talk about some of the topical treatments for hot spots.  There are three at-home treatments presented in this video.  Anything applied to the skin must be safe enough to ingest orally both for dogs and for people. Moist hot spots are very common and in general, teas work best for them instead of salves or heavy applications of oil.

Lavender essential oil: one drop diluted 50:50 with three drops olive oil. Use a very small amount on skin.Lavender and St. John’s wort tea or oil will take the burning pain away instantly. Lavender is the best treatment for low-level burns. In humans it is not diluted. Usually we do not use any essential oils for animals directly on the skin, but lavender is an exception because it is very safe.

Witch hazel/Black or green tea: For moist hot spot to draw out the moisture and heat

Fresh aloe gel, calendula, plantain leaf:  Hot water infusion, mix well and apply at room temperature. This is the best treatment for dry hot spots but can be used for moist ones as well.

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