How to Treat a Dog's Hot Spots at Home

Grass allergies and insect bites are among some causes of hot spots.
Grass allergies and insect bites are among some causes of hot spots. (Image: dog image by Ergün Özsoy from <a href=''></a>)

Hot spots are moist, red, itchy and sometimes painful areas on a dog, often caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite (including fleas). As soon as you notice these, take your dog to a veterinarian to determine the hot spot’s cause. A veterinarian may give your dog a steroid shot and/or antibiotics to help clear the hot spot faster. After this, home treatment is in order.

Things You'll Need

  • Fur trimmers (electric or scissors)
  • Fatty acid supplements for pets
  • Topical hot spot ointments
  • Elizabethan collar (cone)

Shave or trim the area around the hot spot (at least up to an inch out). The more airflow to the area, the better—this may help prevent infection and allow the spot to dry out faster.

Give your dog an antihistamine pill, such as diphenhydramine, if your veterinarian states it is OK to do so (if your dog is otherwise ill or has a medical condition, this may be contraindicated, so check first). Use only the dosage appropriate for your dog (this is usually determined by weight).

Add fatty acid supplements to the dog’s diet. Mar Vista Vet recommends a product called 3V caps. Adding fatty acid supplements may reduce itching.

Apply a topical spray or ointment to the hot spot daily, or as often as recommended on the product label. Pet stores carry many kinds of these, typically, since hot spots are common. You can also try a home remedy if you don’t have commercial ointments or sprays immediately available. Dog Obedience Training Review suggests using a tea compress (just boil a large tea bag, let it cool and apply it to the spot).

Put an Elizabethan collar (cone collar) on the dog if it won’t stop licking or biting the hot spot. If the dog is constantly irritating the area, it will take longer to heal and might become infected.

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