How to Get Rid of Hot Spots on Dogs

Canine hot spots are no fun for your dog.
Canine hot spots are no fun for your dog. (Image: brown cute dog puppy eye image by Paul Retherford from

This hot spot should not be mistaken for London or the French Riviera. To your dog, there is nothing “hot” about it. Canine hot spots are inflamed patches of skin and can be extremely itchy and painful. They can be the result of food allergies, fleas or even humidity. Treat them swiftly to prevent spreading to other areas. Here are a few basic steps to treat them successfully at home. If they do not clear up within a few days you should take your dog to the vet.

Things You'll Need

  • Razor
  • Soap
  • Hydro-cortisone cream
  • Sterile towel
  • Tea bags
  • Vitamin E topical cream


Shave the hair around the infected area with a clean razor to dry and gain access to the hot spot. If necessary, use scissors to first trim the hair.

Clean the area with a sterile towel and water. Use a gentle household soap to lather the area. Dry the hot spot thoroughly.

Hold a moist, wadded-up towel against the hot spot two to three times a day. This acts as a compress. It is preferable to use cool water to soothe the inflammation. Place cold tea bags in the compress for added relief and drawing power. They will aid in drying out the hot spot.

Rub in vitamin E or a similar topical relief cream to dry the hot spot. Use hydrocortisone cream to help with itching. A low dose cream (0.5% or 1%) can be purchased from a pharmacy without a prescription. If this does not do the trick, your vet may prescribe a stronger preparation.

Purchase a plastic dog cone from your vet or pet supply store and place it around your dog’s neck to prevent him from scratching and chewing the infected area. Continue to clean and apply hydrocortisone cream to the hot spot several times a day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Treating hot spots can be painful to your dog. Use a muzzle for your protection if necessary.
  • Dogs will sometimes start hot spots out of boredom or stress.
  • A vet may prescribe oral antibiotics and antihistamines for your dogs if the condition is severe enough.
  • Special shampoos designed for hot spots can also be used. You can purchase these from your vet or a pet supply store.
  • Test a different brand of food on your dog to see if the hot spot is diet related. Premium brands are usually better.
  • Keep your dog well-groomed especially during the summer. A matted coat is at greater risk of developing hot spots.
  • Hot spots are warm to the touch. They can sometimes emit pus.
  • If you use a hydrocortisone cream on your dog, make sure that it is nontoxic as your pet will attempt to lick it.
  • Do not use hydrocortisone cream on more than one hot spot at a time. If your dog has multiple infected sites you should take your dog to the vet.

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