Hot Spots – Your Dog Won't Stop Itching!

Author: Dr. Jason Nicholas

Published: November 5, 2015

Updated: October 15, 2021

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dog hot spot on skin-PV

Got An Itchy dog?

Chances are, you've had a dog that's developed a “hot spot” at one point in time. Perhaps even many times — if your dog is unlucky enough to have allergies, fleas, or another condition that causes them to scratch a lot.

If you catch it early you can save your dog a lot of discomfort and yourself a lot of trouble

  • When you catch your dog itching, check their skin. If it's not too red and crusty, oftentimes, you just have to let the itchy area “air out” before it gets too out of hand. Also, try keeping them from licking the area.

  • Is their skin reddened. Are there crusty scabs? If so, use an electric beard trimmer (a useful tool for all dog owners to have!) to gently clip away the fur overlying the reddened, crusty area. Clip liberally, so as to allow good air contact and circulation of the hot spotdog bath because of skin issues.

  • Sometimes just doing this clipping is enough to help stop the itching. Other times you may need to go one step further and give your dog a bath. To help break the itch, I recommend using either Douxo Calm shampoo or EpiSoothe shampoo for their bath. If it's just a small area of skin that's a little reddened, you can likely get away with using the Douxo Calm Allergy Microemulsion spray. Avoid using astringents, such as rubbing alcohol or witch hazel … as they'll dry your dog's skin and cause them pain. And don't bathe your dog with your shampoo or dish soap!

  • If your dog’s itchiness is severe or their skin very inflamed or broken, it’s best to visit your veterinarian for additional treatment options. Not only can they help you and your dog clear up the problem more quickly, but hot spots that get to the broken skin and really inflamed stage are also more painful (don't use human pain relief) — meaning not only that your dog might require veterinary prescribed pain medication, but also that your dog might be more likely to bite you or suffer in silence from pain if you try to deal with their hot spot at home. (Some dogs need to be sedated to have their hot spots safely, comfortably, and most effectively treated. That's how painful these relatively "innocent-sounding" things can be!)

severe case of hot spot on dog skin-PV

While you’re at your vet’s office, let them help you figure out why your dog is so itchy. There truly are lots of possible reasons — from fleas or mites to a grass/pollen allergy or food intolerance, or even an underactive thyroid gland. The sooner you and your vet can get to the bottom of any underlying cause, the better it will be for your dog (and your bank account).

Consider Blood Protein Supplements

Supplements that use blood proteins that are rich in immunoglobulins may help reduce inflammation, promote healing, and provide other benefits for dogs. The WINPRO line of supplements (Immunity, Mobility, Allergy, Focus, Training) have been met with very positive feedback from dog owners. In our own experience, our dogs loved the taste of the WINPRO supplements. You only give your dog one or two (depending on their weight) each day so a bag of 60 will last you 1-2 months. You should not give your dog more than the recommended amount.winpro blood protein supplements for dogs - allergy

PRO TIP: Brush for Sensitive Skin

When bathing the sensitive skin of a mild hot spot, you can improve shampoo lathering and penetration and possibly stimulate better (healing) blood flow to the area by using a soft, silicone brush while lathering. The FurBliss brush featured below is medical-grade silicone, so it's durable, yet soft and flexible enough to be used even on mildly inflamed skin. And it's dishwasher safe and doubles as a great fur remover from furniture!

furbliss dog and cat brush and deshedder

Since that "scabby" photo isn't much fun to end this article on, here's something more pleasant, the "before" shot of Daisy's bath.

Daisy dog before a bath

About the author

Profile picture for Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Nicholas graduated with honors from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England and completed his Internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Nicholas spent many years as an emergency and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping pets safe and healthy. He is the author of Preventive Vet’s 101 Essential Tips book series.

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