How To Manage Your Maltipoo’s Hot Spots

Lady smiling and cuddling with her Maltipoo

Maltipoo: A Brief History

The Maltipoo has gained popularity in recent years for its charming size and lovable personality. This smaller dog breed is a mix between the Maltese and Mini-Poodle, both of which are known for their beautiful, soft coating. These traits were inherited by the Maltipoo as their eye-catching, curly-cue hair is one of their most endearing features. These little pooches garner attention because their floppy ears, round heads, and small stature give them the appearance of a puppy for most of their lives. What dog lover wouldn’t enjoy the company of a pup-sized pet? They are alert and intelligent, a perfect fit for any household. 

What are Hot Spots? 

Canines may be prone to skin conditions during the warmer months of the year because of excess moisture. Dogs, like humans, tend to perspire in the summertime, and due to their thick coating, sweat gets trapped. Hot spots are also referred to as acute moist dermatitis; acute because of how sudden the large, reddish lesions appear. They can also worsen in a short period, so paying close attention to the health of your Maltipoo’s skin and coating is paramount to preventative practices. 

At first glance, the start of a hot spot may resemble an insect bite or minor skin irritation. Within a short time, that hot spot will fester and grow, turning into an infectious, reddish lesion that seems warm to the touch. Its inflamed appearance can’t be mistaken for a mild issue as your Maltipoo will whine from the pain. Consulting with your veterinarian should be a priority when you suspect a skin infection because certain dermal issues can become chronic. Like with any chronic illness, your Maltipoo may develop high anxiety or stress from constantly dealing with it. 

Maltipoo posing outside for cameraRoot Causes of Hot Spots

Hot spots are painful and can continue to spread, worsening your Maltipoo’s stress levels along with their coat and skin health. These distressing lesions are also infectious, and, if left untreated, will affect your animal companion’s immune system. Examining them to determine the root cause will help to develop the right treatment and preventative measures. Some of the common causes for acute moist dermatitis include, but aren’t limited to, different types of infection, allergies, lack of healthy grooming, impacted anal glands, or bone and joint conditions. 

Parasitic Infections 

If your Maltipoo develops hot spots from a parasitic infection, this means the insect bite you spotted could have been the cause. Fleas, mites, and ticks are the common culprits to watch out for. These bugs can easily attach themselves to the dog’s hair, making their way to the skin where they can bite, feed, multiply, and leave behind waste. A single bite can cause your adorable little one to itch, lick, and chew at their skin. These actions can cause secondary infections, as bacteria in their saliva or on their paws can spread to the compromised area of the skin. Other possible parasites or insects your little doggo could’ve been bitten by include mosquitos, lice, wasps, bees, caterpillars, beetles, gnats, spiders, or ants. Mosquitos can carry parasitic organisms, like the heartworm, which can transfer to the host that’s been bitten. Heartworms can cause serious respiratory issues and wreak havoc on your canine’s cardiac health. It’s important to remember, any bug bite can be the carrier of a parasite or bacteria. 

Bacterial or Yeast Infections

Ear and skin infections can be caused by bacteria or yeast. Ear infections in your Maltipoo could be the causal factor behind their hot spots. Inflammation of the ear canal can be painfully irritating for your canine companion. In the warmer months, moisture might begin to build in their ears and bring your dog’s natural yeast balance to unsafe proportions. This leads to a yeast infection in their ears. The area could become itchy, causing the dog to constantly scratch behind or under their ears and around their necks. An ear infection can have an odorous discharge which leads to matted or crusted fur in those areas. Constant scratching irritates the skin and causes secondary infection, leading to hot spots around their neck, ear flaps, and behind the ear. 

Pyoderma is a skin infection that’s commonly caused by a bacterial infection but can also be caused by a yeast infection or cancer. According to Merck Veterinary Manual, pyoderma is defined as “pus in the skin.” Areas around the dog’s body that can be prone to this type of infection include folded areas, such as the armpits, around the paws, or any lip, facial, or neck folds. Bacteria can collect in those areas, and if your Maltipoo is scratching or licking at them, secondary infections can worsen the irritated skin. The results are quickly spreading hot spots that will cause heightened stress for your small canine family member. 


If you know your Maltipoo suffers from certain allergies, taking special care of them during the warm summer months is a must. This is because all types of allergies will affect their immune systems and impact their skin and coat health. Hot, dry, or humid weather will affect them too and only worsen whatever allergic reactions they’re experiencing. Food allergies can cause them to have chronic health issues, including developing hives, rashes, and even colitis. Environmental allergies can cause sneezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes, the common

seasonal or year-round allergies. Any airborne allergens can also cause irritability with your pooch’s skin and coating. For example, they might scratch at their face, due to itchiness near their nose, muzzle, eyes, or around their ears and neck. Once they begin scratching at those areas, the skin might get irritated, eventually turning into a rash. Scratching, licking, or pawing at themselves can be all it takes to irritate the skin enough for hot spots to develop. 

Skin allergies or allergic dermatitis are some of the most common reasons for hot spots. Your Maltipoo may have adverse reactions to their grooming shampoo and conditioner, or there could  be allergens in their bedding. Regardless of the root cause, once the skin is affected, hives or rashes might develop. If not caught early, your Maltipoo might end up with itchy areas all over their body. Like most canines, they might lick, chew, or scratch at the areas, only making the allergic reaction worse. The rash could develop secondary issues because germs from their saliva or scratching from their nails could lead to worsening skin conditions. Once an infection develops, it won’t take long before hot spots grow and spread. 

Maltipoo getting groomedGrooming Practices

Maltipoo’s have a beautiful coating thanks to their Maltese and Mini-poodle relatives. That mix of curly and soft, short to medium-length hair requires daily hygiene care to stay healthy and tangle-free. This means brushing it and washing it when needed. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner is recommended, as the Maltipoo is typically a low-shedding dog. If good grooming practices aren’t followed, lack of brushing can lead to matted fur. Tangles and matted fur are uncomfortable for dogs, and they tend to bite at them. Biting does nothing to detangle or un-matte the fur, but it does irritate the skin. Wounds can develop from the biting, which can result in hot spots. Even without biting, matted spots all over the coating will prevent proper air circulation, thus trapping any moisture. Getting caught in the rain, swimming, or bathing can also trap moisture. Any trapped moisture beneath their fur provides an environment for bacteria to proliferate which could lead to acute moist dermatitis. 

Impacted Anal Glands

When your Maltipoo has impacted anal glands, commonly referred to as anal sac disease, it shouldn’t be ignored. This could indicate they have impacted or infected anal glands which is extremely painful. Maltipoo’s are a smaller dog breed and predisposed to this condition, especially if they are slightly overweight or obese. The anal sacs become impacted, infected, abscessed, or neoplastic. The anal sacs are supposed to express during defecation. When they fail to and your canine companion cannot get any relief, they get constipated. Dogs might begin to scoot their bottoms, bite at, or lick the inflamed areas around their rectum. This area is already prone to germs and licking at it will allow even more bacteria to build up, causing hot spots to grow around their tail. 

Bone and Joint Issues

As your Maltipoo ages, they may suffer from orthopedic issues such as arthritis, back problems, or bone and joint issues. These problems prevent them from being as active as they used to be. Instead, they may prefer to relax and lie down in their cuddle bed. Although staying comfortable is great for their mental health, laying down too much can cause skin issues. Certain areas of their skin might develop abrasions, particularly around pressure points. For instance, their hips, ankles, and other bony areas will get constant friction from laying down. Any area where they have decreased muscle mass should be a cause for concern. Once abrasions develop, your aging Maltipoo might lick at the wound, which causes bacteria to fester and hot spots to grow. It’s important to understand that your dog might rub, lick, or chew at painful, degenerating joints. Over time, that constant rubbing, licking, and chewing can cause hair loss and abrasions, which can further complicate the formation of acute moist dermatitis.  

How Hot Spots Affect Your Maltipoo’s Well-Being

Like most skin irritants, annoyance with the problem usually comes first. However, unlike a small bug bite, hot spots can quickly get out of control. Hot spots are extremely painful, and no dog owner wants to see their Maltipoo wail as they struggle to handle the unsightly skin lesion. Due to the nature of the lesions, hot spots can harm your animal companion’s well-being. Their stress level can skyrocket as pain, irritation, itching, biting, and licking become their daily norm when dealing with it. As you treat their skin condition, keeping your doggo calm should be the priority. Introducing them to calming dog treats can do wonders for their mood. Preparing a comfortable calming bed for them can also help with their stress. Consider looking into calming products to meet their emotional needs as they work to overcome any physical health issues they’re experiencing. Stress and anxiety can make things worse, so investing in products that can combat stress is highly recommended. 

Maltipoo sitting on sofaLife Expectancy: Can Hot Spots affect a Maltipoo’s lifespan? 

Maltipoos have a lifespan of between ten and fifteen years. Their longevity is highly dependent on their overall health. Due to their smaller size, maintaining a nutritious diet and fit lifestyle is a must. They need to get enough exercise and avoid eating unhealthy foods that cause weight gain. Even slight weight gain can cause them health issues, from affecting their heart, gut, and respiratory health to impacting their bone and joint function. Allergies should also be taken seriously. Food and skin allergies along with airborne allergens can wreak havoc on your Maltipoo’s immune system. All allergic reactions should be taken seriously because every canine will respond differently. Mild symptoms can be managed from home, but severe reactions like anaphylaxis will require emergency medical attention. If left untreated, acute moist dermatitis will only increase the stress your Maltipoo is experiencing. Not only is this skin condition painful, but it also requires special attention because it will not heal without proper treatment. 

Signs of Hot Spots 

To gain a deeper understanding of skin allergies that can quickly get worse, learn to recognize the signs of hot spots. The early signs usually involve an area of the skin that looks like an insect bite or mild, bumpy rash. It irritates your Maltipoo’s skin, so they may begin to scratch, lick, or chew at it. If your little pooch continues to react this way, it will worsen the infected area. In a short period, you will notice a large, raw area of skin that is inflamed and looks moist. Other, hard-to-miss symptoms of hot spots include swelling, hair loss in the area, and a discharge of pus or fluid which leads to matted, crusty fur. If left unchecked, your Maltipoo will continue to scratch or lick at it, further traumatizing the skin. Some bleeding may occur as lesions worsen and discharge of infectious fluids continue. If you notice your Maltipoo scooting, or expressing distress while sitting, this may indicate an issue around their rectum. Even if you don’t spot the acute moist dermatitis, an underlying infection could be the cause of their discomfort and warrants a trip to the vet. 

Proper Care and Treatment for Hot Spots

To properly treat hot spots, the underlying cause must be found and treated. If the root cause remains unknown, chronic acute moist dermatitis may become the norm. A veterinarian can help you figure out the root cause and come up with an effective care and treatment plan to heal the hot spots and prevent them from returning. While determining the underlying cause, the infected area must be cleaned and inspected. Your vet will gently clip the fur and clean the wounds with antiseptic. They will use best practices to scrub the skin with chlorhexidine. Your vet may apply a cone or e-collar to prevent your doggo from licking or scratching at any wounds. Effective treatment usually involves a combination of any of the following solutions. 

Follow-up and Treat Bug Bites

If it looks like a bug bite, don’t ignore it. Hot spots can spread rapidly from the onset of an insect bite. Anytime you bring your Maltipoo to a dog park, make sure to inspect them after for parasites. Fleas and ticks are some of the most common culprits of skin allergies, and administering treatments to get rid of annoying bugs are recommended.

Maltipoo playing on patio deckPreventative Grooming Routines

Establishing excellent grooming practices will make a difference in your Maltipoo’s skin and coat health. This means gently brushing your little one’s fur, detangling, and preventing matted areas from occurring. Use grooming products, such as hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners with sensitive formulas to avoid irritating the skin or causing dull, unhealthy coating. Make sure their fur and skin are thoroughly dried after every bathing or swimming session. 

Antibiotic Medications 

Depending on the severity of the skin infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics, including injectable, oral, and topical solutions to combat bacterial infections. The prescribed oral or topical steroid medications can help with inflammation. These medications will help to decrease itching while eliminating any secondary skin infection. Medicated wipes or gentle solutions should be used daily to clean the area. Your vet may recommend allergy medications to help treat the cause of the itchiness. 

Regular Checkups and Exercise

If your Maltipoo suffers from chronic hot spots, getting regular checkups is highly recommended. Scheduled checkups help ensure every possible preventative measure is being taken to promote optimal health. If your Maltipoo is bored, they may develop the habit of licking, scratching, or chewing at themselves. This may lead to a bacterial infection on the skin and increase the likelihood of hot spots. Keeping them preoccupied with exercise, toys, and games can help prevent boredom and stop them from forming bad habits.  

Help Your Maltipoo Live A Fulfilling Life

Skin allergies may cause chronic discomfort, but that’s no reason your Maltipoo can’t live a happy, fulfilling life. Once a prognosis is made and an effective treatment plan is put into action, healing can be just as quick as the spread of hot spots. In most cases, once the underlying cause of acute moist dermatitis is addressed and treatment begins, hot spots can resolve in as little as one week. If no root cause is determined and acute moist dermatitis becomes a chronic issue, following the recommended treatments is integral to your Maltipoo’s overall health. Remember, introduce a comfortable bed and calming treats for your canine companion to relax and destress while they heal. 

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