Best Way to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs [Solution for Irritated Skin]

To treat hot spots on dogs, keep the area clean and dry, and trim the hair around the hot spot. Applying a veterinarian-approved topical solution can help soothe the area and prevent infection. Preventing the dog from licking or biting the spot is essential for healing.

Key Takeaways

  • Identifying hot spots: Look for red, inflamed areas that appear suddenly and excessive licking or chewing at the spot.
  • Trimming and cleaning: Gently clean the hot spot with a mild, dog-friendly antiseptic, trim the hair around the spot, and disinfect the area with a vet-recommended antiseptic solution.
  • Using appropriate antiseptic solutions: Choose a vet-approved antiseptic spray, cleanse the hot spot with warm water, and mist the solution lightly over the area.
  • Gentle drying methods: Pat the cleaned hot spot with a soft towel, consider air drying, and prevent licking or scratching during the drying process.

Identifying Hot Spots on Your Dog

Before you can treat a hot spot on your dog, you’ll need to recognize the signs of this irritating skin condition. Commonly, you’ll see a red, inflamed area that seems to appear suddenly. Your dog may incessantly lick or chew at the spot, which only worsens the irritation. The affected skin can also ooze and become crusty.

If you notice these signs and symptoms of hot spots, it’s time to take action. Understanding the causes of hot spots is crucial too. They can stem from allergic reactions, insect bites, or even poor grooming.

Essentially, anything that creates an itch or discomfort can lead your dog to scratch excessively, breaking the skin and setting the stage for a hot spot to develop.

Trim The Hair Aroudn The Hot Spot

The first thing you’ll want to do is trim the hair around the affected area to promote better air circulation and healing.

trimming techniques are key:

Preparing the Area

  • Gently clean the hot spot with a mild, dog-friendly antiseptic.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean, soft towel.

Trimming Techniques

  • Use sharp, sterilized grooming scissors or clippers.
  • Carefully clip the hair around the hot spot, avoiding any contact with the sore itself.
  • Aim for an even trim to prevent matting, which can exacerbate the issue.

Aftercare and Monitoring

  • Watch for signs of hair regrowth to assess healing progress.
  • Keep the trimmed area clean to support recovery and prevent further irritation.
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Cleaning the Affected Area

Once you’ve trimmed the hair around your dog’s hot spot, it’s crucial to clean the area properly. Use an appropriate antiseptic solution recommended by your vet to gently disinfect the spot.

Afterward, make sure you dry the area thoroughly, using a soft towel and avoiding any harsh rubbing.

Appropriate Antiseptic Solutions

To effectively manage your dog’s hot spots, you’ll need to apply an antiseptic solution directly onto the affected area after carefully trimming away the surrounding hair. Choose an antiseptic spray specifically designed for wound care in dogs. This will help prevent infection and promote healing.

When you’re ready to apply the antiseptic:

Gently Cleanse

  • Wet a soft cloth with warm water
  • Dab around the sore to remove debris
  • Pat the area dry with a clean towel

Apply Antiseptic

  • Shake the antiseptic spray bottle
  • Mist it lightly over the hot spot, avoiding the eyes
  • Allow the solution to air dry

Monitor Healing

  • Check the spot daily for signs of improvement
  • Reapply antiseptic as needed while keeping the area dry

Gentle Drying Methods

Your dog’s skin will heal more quickly if you ensure the cleaned hot spot is gently and thoroughly dried.

After cleaning the area with an appropriate antiseptic solution, it’s time to focus on gentle drying techniques. Pat the spot with a clean, soft towel instead of rubbing, as this can irritate the skin further.

Letting the air naturally dry the hot spot is less abrasive than using a blow dryer, which can be too harsh and cause more irritation.

It’s crucial to monitor your dog during this process to prevent any licking or scratching that can hinder healing.

Gentle drying is a simple yet vital step in treating hot spots effectively.

Topical Treatments For Hot Spots on Dogs

Once you’ve cleaned the hot spot, it’s time to consider topical treatments to speed up your dog’s recovery.

You can apply recommended antiseptic solutions to ward off infection or use natural soothers to ease discomfort.

Barrier creams can also be useful in protecting the area from further irritation and self-inflicted trauma.

Recommended Antiseptic Solutions

When treating hot spots on your dog, your vet may suggest:


  • A gentle, non-stinging formula
  • It’s effective against bacteria and fungi
  • Comes in wipes, sprays, or shampoos


  • Dilute with water until it’s the color of iced tea
  • Apply with a soft cloth or cotton ball
  • A natural disinfectant, great for sensitive skin

Hydrogen peroxide:

  • Use sparingly, as it can impede healing if overused
  • Dilute with water (50/50 ratio)
  • Fizzing action helps to remove debris
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Natural Soothers

After applying an antiseptic solution, you can also use natural soothers to aid your dog’s hot spot healing process. These natural remedies can be gentle and effective, offering relief without harsh chemicals.

  • Aloe vera, known for its soothing properties, can be applied directly to the affected area to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Chamomile tea, cooled and used as a rinse or compress, can be a calming homeopathic treatment for irritated skin.
  • Honey, for its antibacterial benefits, but it’s sticky and may attract more dirt, so use it judiciously.

Always remember to consult with your vet before trying new natural soothers, as they can provide guidance on the safest homeopathic treatments for your dog’s specific needs.

Barrier Creams

Applying a barrier cream can provide a protective layer over your dog’s hot spot, aiding in the healing process and preventing further irritation.

The use of barrier creams for hot spots treatment comes with several benefits:

Creates a Healing Environment:

  • Moisture is locked in to promote healing
  • The area is shielded from bacteria and contaminants

Reduces Itchiness and Discomfort:

  • Soothes the skin to minimize scratching
  • Provides a cooling effect to calm inflamed areas

Prevents Further Damage:

  • Deters your dog from licking and biting the spot
  • Forms a physical barrier, safeguarding against external irritants

Preventing Licking and Biting of The Hot Spot

Preventing your dog from licking and biting at hot spots is crucial for their swift recovery.

You’ll need to stop them from aggravating the area to allow the skin to heal without interruption.

One effective method for preventing excessive licking is using Elizabethan collars, also known as E-collars. These cone-shaped devices fit around your dog’s neck, creating a barrier that makes it difficult for them to reach the affected spot with their mouth.

Be sure the collar is fitted properly to ensure comfort and prevent your dog from slipping it off. Consistent use of the E-collar, especially when you can’t supervise your pet, is key to a quicker healing process.

Don’t forget to provide plenty of distractions like toys or chews to help them cope with the annoyance of the collar.

Dressings and Bandages For The Hot Spot

It’s smart to apply dressings or bandages to protect the hot spot and discourage further licking or biting. Proper wound care is crucial, and an integral part of this is:

Ensuring the dressing is:

  • Non-stick, to prevent further irritation when changing the bandage.
  • Breathable, to allow air circulation and promote healing.

Bandaging the area to:

  • Keep contaminants out, emphasizing the importance of keeping the area clean.
  • Provide a barrier from your dog’s mouth, deterring them from interfering with the wound.
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Regularly checking and changing the dressing to:

  • Monitor the healing process.
  • Refresh the wound environment, reducing the risk of infection.

Monitoring The Hot Spot and Follow-up Care

After applying the dressing, monitor your dog’s hot spot regularly for signs of improvement or any indications of worsening.

This monitoring progress is essential because it allows you to quickly address any setbacks in healing. You’ll want to look for reduced redness, swelling, and a decrease in discharge as positive signs.

Conversely, increased swelling, pus, or continuous licking and biting are red flags that require immediate attention.

Understanding the importance of follow-up is key in preventing recurrence. Keep in close contact with your vet, and don’t skip the recommended check-ups.

The vet will assess the healing and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Your diligence in these follow-up steps ensures your dog returns to their happy, healthy self as swiftly as possible.

Preventing Future Hot Spots

To ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from hot spots again, you’ll need to identify and address the underlying causes that led to the skin irritation in the first place. Preventing recurrence involves long-term management, which includes:

  • Regular grooming to keep fur free of mats and debris
  • Brushing to distribute natural skin oils
  • Trimming fur, especially during warmer months
  • Maintaining a healthy diet to support skin health
  • Omega fatty acids for coat quality
  • Limited ingredient diets for allergy-prone pups
  • Addressing behavioral issues that lead to excessive licking or chewing
  • Providing mental stimulation with toys and puzzles
  • Ensuring plenty of physical exercise to reduce anxiety and boredom