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Itchy, Red & Inflamed: 5 Easy Steps to Treat Dog Hot Spots

July 15, 2021 4 min read

Itchy, Red & Inflamed: 5 Easy Steps to Treat Dog Hot Spots

Dog Hot Spots

A skin condition that your dog can suffer from is known by the layman name of ‘hot spots’. So, what are hot spots and what can you do about them? In today’s article we’re going to answer these questions and more so that you’ll know all of the symptoms and you’ll be ready to help your furry best friend to get a little relief.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at dog hot spots.

What are hot spots?

Known as pyotraumatic dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis, dog hot spots are a skin condition characterized by inflamed, often infected skin along with redness and sometimes with a bit of oozing. This tends to mat the fur up a bit and that’s another sign that your dog might have hot spots. 

We should note, if you are seeing these symptoms then it’s a good idea to bring your dog into the vet. Some of the symptoms are common in other conditions which could be serious and it’s best to get your vet’s input before beginning a home treatment regimen. That said, let’s take a look in detail at the symptoms and some of the treatments which you may employ.

Symptoms of dog hot spots

The most common symptoms of dog hot spots include the following:

  • Aggressive licking and chewing of the skin
  • Abnormally Aggressive behavior when touched
  • Dry skin
  • Itchy, inflamed skin
  • Redness and swelling
  • Scabs and/or sores

How to treat dog hot spots

Treating dog hot spots can be done at home (in part, see steps) if your dog is of the calm variety. In order to treat hotspots the following steps need to be followed:

  • Shave the affected area – Hot spots need to be dried out, as moisture just makes them worse, so you will need to remove the fur around the area. This can be problematical, as your dog is in pain, so you really should consider getting vet assistance. That said, if your dog will put up with it without sedation then you should shave the area for the next step.
  • Sponge the area – Sponge the area off gently with water first, followed by a gentle skin cleanser.
  • Apply a cold compress– You will want to apply a cold compress at least 2 – 3 times per day to assist in healing. A wet washcloth is fine but make sure it is cold, as this will soothe your pet.
  • Medicate the area– This is where you’ll certainly need your vet. Your dog needs antibiotics, drying sprays, and might even need some special shampoos.
  • Time for a doggy head-cone –That is layman’s terms for an Elizabethan collar, also known as an E-collar. E-collars will keep your dog from chewing at the area while it heals up.


Over the counter medicines and dog hot spots

Note: Do NOT try over the counter creams without consulting your veterinarian first. These creams can sometimes do more harm than good, blocking up the area from healing properly.

Once you’ve gotten approval from your vet, some over the counter treatments that can help with dog hot spots are as follows:

  • Chlorhexidine Solution 2% - 4% - Make sure that you ONLY use the 2 -4%, otherwise you will need to dilute the solution. Chlorhexidine is a topical antiseptic and incidentally, it’s what your vet will be using to clean the wounds as well. Dampen a cotton pad and gently clean the wounds, rinsing afterwards with saline solution. Do NOT use this to clean the dogs face, as it can ulcerate the eyes, and don’t leave it on the skin. Clean, rinse, and you’re good.
  • Domeboro's solution – Used as a spray, this solution will help the wounds to dry out and this is what we want.
  • Hydrocortisone – Hydrocortisone will help your dog to feel a little better with a sparing application, however you don’t want to put it anywhere that your dog can lick.
  • Vetericyn– Vetericyn comes in a spray or gel form and it is designed to hasten healing. It is also non-toxic, so it’s safe to use in areas that your dog might lick.

Natural remedies

Make a compress out of green or black tea that you apply 2 – 3 times per day. This will help to hasten the wounds in drying out so that your dog can heal naturally. You can also use cold compresses for pain as well.


Moisture and parasites are the primary causes of dog hot spots. Invest in a couple of doggy towels to make sure that your dog is thoroughly dried after any wet playtime outside (especially if your dog is very shaggy) and be sure to keep a close eye for excess scratching so that you know if you need to address allergies or potential parasite issues.  

Hangry Woof Multivitamins can also help with your dog’s skin during hot spots!

If you like going with natural remedies then you might be interested to know that Hangry Woof Multivitamin Chews are packed with them! In regards to your dog’s skin, these power-packed chews have Icelandic Sea Kelp, which hydrates the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties to help get your dog back to feeling 100% again.

Some closing words on hot spots

We hope that this information will be of use to you in helping your itchy dog to find a little relief. Hot spots can certainly be vexing, both to the dog and the worried owner, but with a little assistance from you your doggie is going to be just fine. Hang in there and until next time, we wish you good luck and a speedy recovery for your furry best friend!

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