Dog Hot Spots and Skin Rashes

Your pet can not tell you that an area is irritated and itchy. A hot spot is a skin rash. It can be a small red irritated sore or an open oozing wound. Most dog owners do not realize their pet is struggling with a skin problem till it becomes a major issue. Don’t wait for excessive licking, itching or a sore spot to begin. You can stop skin issues in their tracks if you simply check your dog over once a week looking for anything different. Learn how to do the once a week pet scan and how to prevent problems.

Is your dog casually scratching an area or is your dog aggressively scratching a certain spot like something is biting them? Is it to the point your canine can’t stop licking or itching a specific area? If your dog is going after the same spot in a similar fashion that you would try to swat biting mosquitoes, then that spot could become a hot spot. A hot spot is an irritated area that bacteria, fleas or mites have set up camp. It is an itchy patch that makes your canine uncomfortable. It can become an open sore.

A skin irritation can start from a collar or harness rubbing. Look for burrs and other debris that became trapped or entangled that caused the skin irritation. Dog jackets can trap dirt and help bacteria grow, wash them as needed.

If your dog’s hair becomes matted it becomes a perfect place to hold moisture and harbor bacteria. Keep your pet free of mats by keeping the coat short or keep up with the required grooming for your pet’s breed.

Over bathing with harsh shampoos dries out the natural oils and can cause skin issues. Have you ever had itchy skin due to hard water? Most dog shampoos are to be used only once a month. Use dove or ivory bar soap followed by any conditioner if you want or need to bath your dog more than once a month. Why use bar soap instead of liquid soap? Dove and Ivory bar soaps do not have sodium lauryl sulfate (garage floor degreaser) in the ingredients list.

The healthier your dog is the less likely it is to have issues. Hot spots can be a sign of a diet that is high in sugar, foods with fillers (corn or soy), preservatives (msg) and foods that cause allergies (wheat). Hot spots can be a reaction to a vaccine. It can also be a reaction to parasites, fleas and mites. What a hot spot is telling you is that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. You need to investigate to solve the real issue. Find the source to correct the problem.

First learn to read the ingredients of all the products you use and to identify the good from the bad. If you don’t know what an ingredient is you can put it in the search bar of your browser and the internet will tell you what it is. Try not to overwhelm your dog’s immune system by giving many different types of drugs/vaccines all at once. Give vaccines, topical flea and tick repellants, and heartworm in stages not all the same day. Let your dog’s body recover from one type of chemical for at least 3 days before adding another drug.

If you discover a hot spot, cut the hair away from the area. You want to expose the sore to air. Gently clean the spot with weak solution of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. To make a 3% H2O2, mix 1 oz. of hydrogen peroxide to 11 oz. distilled water (preferably) or filtered water and store it in refrigerator after each use. Most vets would recommend using a medicated shampoo. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to relieve itching and to heal. The tea tree oil is not poisonous. Your dog can not lick the medication if it’s wearing a cone. There are many other natural products available to use. You may treat with a topical analgesic if the case is mild.

Topical pain-relieving drugs are applied to the affected area as a cream, ointment, gel, or spray. They help reduce inflammation below the skin surface and alleviate nerve pain that makes your canine want to itch. They can be purchased as over-the-counter while other stronger forms are available with a vet’s prescription. Treat the area with prednisone if the hot spot is severe.

If the source of the hot spot is fleas or mites you will need to use a dip, wash all the bedding, toys or flea bomb your home and repeat the process in 2 weeks to stop the cycle.

Ask yourself the following questions to discover the under lying causes that created the hot spot. When did the problem start? How long has it been going on? Was the problem after receiving vaccinations? Did it occur after surgery? Did it show up after going to the groomers, vet office or boarding kennel? Does your pet have fleas, mites or other parasites? If you can’t find the source it is usually mites. Is it a weak immune system due to a poor grade diet or too many low quality treats? Has the licking and scratching gone on for a great length of time and now become a habit?

Learn more about how to heal with Eastern Medicine, it shows you how to correct your dog’s body naturally. Choose drugs to get the problem under control if the natural remedies do not show sign of improvement in a day or two. Then give your dog’s body what it needs to stay healthy.


The author offers information and opinions, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. It is advised to consult with your vet before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone. Your vet can provide you with advice on what is considered safe and effective for your animal’s unique needs or diagnose your animal’s particular medical history.