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Hot Spot Remedies

Last Modified on May 28, 2016

Hot spots are those nasty and extremely painful sores that develop on a dog's skin and could be the result of many things, such as a little bug bite, a small sore or a scratch on the skin that begins to itch and bother the animal. As the issue becomes increasingly irritating, the dog will begin to lick, chew and scratch at the area, causing bacteria to grow and before you know it, your puppy has a hot spot. The key with hot spots is to act fast!!! Did you know that a hot spot can go from being barely visible, to several inches in size in just thirty minutes? Did you also know that when the problem goes untreated the spot can increase to twenty times its size in just a day? Like I said, you need to Act Fast!

Here's how you can treat those hot spots at home, easily and effectively.

First of all you need to clear away some of the fur in the area of the hot spot.  Use some K-Y Jelly and apply it to the spot.  Hold a couple of fingers against the spot so that you can carefully cut away the fur above your finger line and go beyond the outer edges of the sore approximately one inch.  Use warm water to rinse the area well and you'll find that by using the jelly, the fur has stuck to it and washes out easily.  Afterwards use electric clippers to shave off only the fur that surrounds the sore.

Now you need to cleanse the sore well.  Use a Water Based Cleanser or antiseptic Betadine if you have it.  Be sure that all the cleanser is rinsed away as it could cause further irritation if any were to remain.

Treat the hot spots by using Black Tea Bags, (but don't use herbal ones).  Black tea contains tannic acids, which will help to dry out and heal the sores quickly.  Soak the tea bag in hot water and once removed let it cool.  Apply the tea bag directly onto the hotspots for about five minutes.  Repeat this treatment three to six times every day until the spot is dry and healed.

You can also use some Witch Hazel on the spots, as it will provide a cooling and soothing sensation.

Remedies for Hot Spots

Hot Spots
Natural Cures

The Popularity of Hot Spots Remedies - Full List

Alphabetical Popularity Recent Post
ACV and Omega 322007-12-03
Aloe Vera32012-10-21
Antibiotic Ointment12010-01-01
Antibiotics, Shaved Fur02009-10-19
Antiseptic Powder, Sea Salt and Water Solution12007-03-07
Apple Cider Vinegar272016-04-10
Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil12011-07-09
Apple Cider Vinegar, DMSO12012-11-17
Apple Cider Vinegar, Epsom Salts22008-12-13
Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide12010-10-18
Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil Based Shampoo12012-02-04
Apple Cider Vinegar, Vet Meds12009-06-07
Black Tea42011-06-14
Botanical Creams12009-01-19
Burrows Solution22006-07-04
Cayenne Pepper12007-01-31
Colloidal Oatmeal12011-10-15
Colloidal Silver12014-09-06
Conifer Green Needle Complex02010-11-11
Cooling Foods, Cornstarch12013-08-31
Diagnosing Hot Spots02009-09-21
Epsom Salts, Povidone Iodine, Flea Control12007-02-14
Eucalyptus and Spearmint Oil02014-12-29
Fish Oil12014-08-30
General Feedback12007-10-16
Gentian Violet12009-10-12
Gold Bond Powder42013-05-11
Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax12015-03-24
Lavender Oil22016-05-27
Light Weight Coat12009-07-26
Listerine and Baby Oil Spray12009-02-04
Manuka Honey12007-02-25
Mineral Oil, Listerine Mouth Wash12008-05-13
Multiple Remedies12013-05-31
Neem Oil22009-01-12
Neem, Olive, Goldenseal, ACV Spray12008-04-05
Omega 3 Salmon Oil02008-08-14
Schreiner's Solution12009-10-12
Sea Water22009-11-04
Tea Tree Oil22011-04-12
Tinea Powder12007-02-16
Turmeric and Clove Tincture12008-09-14
Use a Poultice12009-07-10
Vegetable Oil22009-01-31
White Vinegar, Antiseptic Powder12008-01-31
Witch Hazel and Apple Cider Vinegar12008-02-28
Witch Hazel and Gold Bond Powder12007-03-21

ACV and Omega 3  

5 star (2) 

Posted by Uli (Albany, Indiana) on 12/03/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Hi everybody, thank you for this wonderful website. I tryed the ACV and Omega 3 on my German Shepard Heidi. She had a very bad Hotspot and is also allergic to Fleas. Been using it for three days now and the Hotspot is dry and hair is already growing back. The allergy seems to slowly go away also. I still have to give her a bath. I will try the babybath, I'm afraid the dawn dishsoap will dry her out some more. She is still scratching but not as often as she did. Hope in a few days it will all be over. If anybody has any more ideas I could try, please let me know. Thanks again U

Replied by Anna
St.Helena Bay, South Africa
Hi, I have a question about the ACV & Omega3 do I use it? what quantities and how ...together ...mixed??? Anna
Replied by Kevin
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Hi, I was wondering about the ACV and omega-3 treatment. Do you have to make the dog drink it, or use it in a spray bottle, or what? My German-Shepherd Maggie has been itching eversince she became spayed. We've tried everything from non-allergen food to giving her baths almost every bi-weekly.
Replied by Jayne
Mugla, Turkey
What a good website very informative. I was very weary about treating hot spots. I live in Turkey and I have 3 street dogs but only 1 as this condition. I thought it might be stress due to him being bullied by 1 of my older dogs. What do you think? I will try the acv treatment, hope it works.
Replied by Y
Cincinnati, Oh
what is Apple Cider Vinegar and omega 3 treatment for my dog hot spot, where do I get it?
Replied by Shelby
Upland, Ca
I love the products from Vitality science dot com and have seen an improvement. They too suggests tea bags for immediate treatment and they have a noni lotion that can go on the site after the tea bags. Its ok for the dog to ingest it as well. I have worked super hard at keeping two of my dogs skin problems at bay. I use Serra pro (enzyme) to decrease inflammation as well as flax oil and or krill oil from Vitality Science. I put it in the dogs food. I have tried shark liver oil on spots that break out with great success. I dont clip the dogs hair at all. I just apply the oil. A guy from a natural dog food company told me about that one. It works well for one of my dogs. I do home cooking, probiotics and I really think it is partly hereditary. The one JRT that is not related has no problems and neither do his relatives. :) My girls are bad breeding. They are fixed. :) whewwww
Replied by Leslie
I have a burmese mtn dog and she has hot spots but they smell real bad. I don't see anyone else mentioning that. Do your animals spots give off a bad odor also?
Replied by Karen
Deltona, Fl
I too have a German Shepard that gets hotspots and itchy skin. I would love to know more about the ACV and omega-3 treatment. Do we apply it externally or should my dog ingest it? Thank you all for contributing your info. I am going to put what we have done incase it helps someone else

I purchased Neem "protect" spray and the shampoo made by Ark Naturals ( got this at my local health food and medicine store "Debbies") Anyway the spray is AMAZING, the shampoo is good because it is gental and recommeded to use every so often because it works to cleanse the dogs hair and skin of anything that could cause skin issues. I have used the spray and not washed with the shampoo, using reg dog gentle shampoo and the results are still good. Except not this last time, she ended up getting hotspots and now she has a major one that just today has gotten as big as a tennis ball. Which brought me to this site.

I didn't know what to do when I came home and saw that where ever Sahara was laying she left a tiny bit of blood from right where the hotspot would have hit the floor. So I felt I had to act quick, I first rinsed the sore area with water using a water sports bottle, then I took some perioxide and lightly squirted it on the area while comforting Sahara and not letting her lick it, patted with paper towel and repeated process 2 more times. Then I cut her hair on and around the area back and applied 100% aloe vera from the bottle. After about 20 minutes I then applied a bandaid (one we would use on our knee) And this all seems to have really relieved her and now she can't keep biting at the spot because the bandaid stops her. When I remove the banaid I plan to do so buy cutting it out of her hair, I wouldn't want to pull her hair out and and hurt her.
Thanks again:)

Replied by Sierrahennessy
Fairfax, Va
Hot spots with stink sounds like you may have yeast. A vet can confirm with a simple skin scraping. If yes, you've got a long road ahead of you. If no, look for allergies, or times of year the problem worsens or improves.
Replied by Diamond
Salisbury, Usa
I wouldn't take my pet to another vet especially as minor as suspected hot spots(?)And Yes hot spots do smell. I have yet to see, know or hear of any pet coming out with less than what they went in for. I use a safe remedy for hot spots. Disolve 2 adult asperins in 2-4 tbls. rubbing alcohol-soak any type tea bag- mix all ingredients together, apply to the spot(s) as often as you can.

It takes time but better then a million dollar issue vets. may have created for you & the pet.

Try her on a rich but fat free diet.

here is some great info. good luck & god bless.

Replied by Dryogabear
Northport, Ny Usa
Cancelled vet appointment, brewed black tea, using aloe vera juice, and already he seems to have stopped chewing his butt off. Thank you for all your tips and advice.
Replied by Unknowen
Portland, Oregon
Ok all of this stuff helps but has anyone got the hot spots cleared up and then in about two or three days they return again... What do you think might cause that??? I never see my dog licking or scratching.... He is a very heavy haired dog because he is a Chesse.... And he is a very nervous dog... He is hydosefelis.. That is not right spelling but anyway he was born with water on the brain so he sees everything different in this world... Your thoughts on this would help... Thank You
Replied by Mssnk9368
Janesville, Wisconsin
5 out of 5 stars

I found this site totally by accident, but what a happy find.

I was helping a friend find and inexpensive way to treat hot spots on her dog. We tried the 50/50 mix of ACV what a difference (the topical application). The first 24 hrs we saw and improvement and it is continually getting better. We are now on the third day it is almost gone.

Since the ACV is working so well I started reading more posts on the site about its usage for other remedies. Last year my 2 dogs suffered so much from fleas, I was at my wits end trying to help them. This year I'm going to try the ACV I've read so many good things about it on this site.

Thanks to everyone for their posts I learned alot about ACV.

Replied by Keleeemo
Dover, Nh, Usa
I find hot spots on my Boston Terrier when she eats something she is allergic to like wheat or change something in her diet. I learned one thing and that is do not feed dogs with allergies grocery store dog foods or cheap treats. They contain wheat and fillers that make her allergic and then the hot spots appear. She does well on wheat free kibble. You can find better dog foods at Petco or pet stores. I have to be careful with treats too because many of them are made of fillers. When she gets a hot spot I bathe her with oatmeal dog shampoo every couple of days and keep the hot spot clean by washing it daily with betadine solution and then applying cortisone cream 1 or 2 percent. That and cutting back her diet to just her wheat free dog food will usually will take care of the hot spot. I bought some hot spot spray at Petco for hot spots that had tea tree oil in it and that helped but not as well as hydrocortisone cream. For the itching I use some anti itch lotion that has pramoxine and zinc acetate along with oil of rosemary and oil of lavender. It smells a lot like calamine, poison ivy cream and does take away the itching and scratching. If the area has an odor then it is infected and I would cleanse the area with antibacterial soap followed an oatmeal shampoo. Then dry area and put on an antibiotic cream and some Gold Bond foot powder in case it is yeast. It will clear up and you don't need a vet because they will just treat it with an antibiotics and over charge you. Try and find a good dog food at They have some good articles about what goes into grocery store pet foods which shocked me to learn. They rate them by 1-5 stars according to their ingredients. It is well worth the money buying Organic dog food if it keeps us out of the vets office!

Aloe Vera  

5 star (3) 

Posted by Sallie (Brisbane, Qld Aust) on 10/21/2012
5 out of 5 stars

My poodle is constantly getting hot spots from my other dog licking and giving him love bites!

I wash the hot spot with salt water, dry it with paper towel, clip all the hair around it and then use aloe leaf (I slice both sides off the leaf, just leaving a Little bit of aloe jelly on the leaf and rub that on him) he finds it very soothing.

The hot spots clear up around 3-5 days

But after reading the posts on Apple Cider Vinegar I'm going to try that also, he has a new one now.

Posted by Gina (Houston, Texas) on 05/29/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Hello. I have a akita-chow mix.She had horrible hot spots from fleas. We got fleas in control. Since I am a plant lover, I have lots of aloe vera, and I thought since that stuff is great for human skin,why not animals .So I tore off a leaf, cut it open with a knife, and rubbed the gel from the aloe on her hot spots. I did this every day. By the third day, I noticed she wasnt licking them any more and there was peach fuzz growing in where there wasnt any fur! I only needed to do it for a week. All gone!

Replied by Jacky
St. George's, Grenada
5 out of 5 stars

I do the same for my German Shepherd's hot spots, Wonderful plant.

Posted by Rox Rub (Sylmar, CA) on 07/30/2009

My dog has a couple of hot spots and I was told to use Aloe Vera Gel directly from the plant which is very healing and helps to dry out the hot spots fast. Is this good to use?

Antibiotic Ointment  

5 star (1) 

Posted by Jo (Fredericksburg, Va) on 01/01/2010
5 out of 5 stars

We have a Siberian Husky that frequently gets hot spots, not always able to afford vet. We have found that antibotic ointment (we use the generic brands) applied liberly several time a day (only because she licks it off) works really well. She normally gets a black spot in her fur when it grows back but with using this she does not even get that.

Antibiotics, Shaved Fur  

1 star (1) 

Posted by Pam (Sioux Falls, Sd) on 10/19/2009
1 out of 5 stars

Hotspot Absurd: I'll tell you what DOESN'T work! I've kept my 5-yr Papillon in bed, WITH ME! for 7 weeks. I have been able to talk her out of biting/scratching every time she does it, but, guess what? The minute "we" got out of bed, she'd start again and I became distraught, medicating her with human's stuff (couldn't get to vet.

NOW, if I don't let her sit on me all the time she just starts biting and I crumble. I got her to the groomer and she shaved her to the pink body skin but knew nothing to do either. (previously the vet knew nothing except antibiotics!!)

Needless to say, she's traumatized by the shaving and every time I go near the medicine she starts to vibrate like many chihuahuas do and she looks like a Mexican hairless so what a misery I've allowed to develop due to ignorance of options and of this site. Thank you thank you.

Antiseptic Powder, Sea Salt and Water Solution  

5 star (1) 

Posted by Tara (UK) on 03/07/2007
5 out of 5 stars

My Black Lab developed 2 hotspots on her belly after we got her spayed. I used a dry antiseptic powder (over the counter brand) which I applied approximately 3 times a day. After a few days of this I then dabbed sea salt and water solution on with cotton wool before I applied the powder. I used the sea salt solution approximately 3 times a day and the powder approximately 3 times a day. After 2 weeks she was completely free of hot spots. It is obviously highly important to the healing process to stop the dog licking the area as much as possible. Best regards

Apple Cider Vinegar  

5 star (27) 
1 star (2) 

Posted by Karen (San Tan Valley, Az) on 04/10/2016
5 out of 5 stars

After reading about using ACV on dog hotspots, I decided to use it in my 2 year kitty, who developed two spots. One near belly button and one much lower on underbelly. This happened last spring and I took him to the vet, who gave him a steroid injection and antibiotics. This worked, but I don't want to subject him to steroids. I mixed up Apple Cider Vinegar a solution of vinegar and water put it into a spray bottle. I sprayed once about 9:30 this morning only. It is now 5:30 and I realized kitty has not chewed or licked all day. He is running and playing as usual. I love this site.

Posted by Karen (San Tan Valley, Az) on 03/25/2016
5 out of 5 stars

After reading about using ACV on dog hotspots, I decided to use it in my 2 year kitty, who developed two spots. One near belly button and one much lower on underbelly. This happened last spring and I took him to the vet, who gave him a steroid injection and antibiotics. This worked, but I don't want to subject him to steroids. I mixed up Apple Cider Vinegar a solution of vinegar and water put it into a spray bottle. I sprayed once about 9:30 this morning only. It is now 5:30 and I realized kitty has not chewed or licked all day. He is running and playing as usual. I love this site.

Posted by Lisa (Bremen) on 09/04/2015

Side Effects:
I just did my first application by spray bottle of the ACV Solution...for done reason she went crazy...she is now chewing the hot spots more than before and I'm not sure off I should keep going with this. Hoping this is just a reaction to a new thing..

Posted by Michelle (Chicago) on 08/23/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I used 1 cup water to 1/2 Apple Cider Vinegar. My lab immediately stopped itching didn't itch until middle of the night again. Sprayed again day 2 and no scratching. her "hot spot" is already healed. She has fleas and although this doesn't kill them it helps keep them off her. Thank you ;)

Replied by Melissa
Does vinegar harm my dog, when I spray he licks it?
Replied by Wendy
Make sure you're spraying him with organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV - Organic, Raw, Unfiltered, with the 'Mother' ). It will not hurt him to lick it. In fact, adding 2 tablespoons to his food, in addition to spraying him with a mixture of 1/2 distilled water & 1/2 ACV will be very beneficial for him, especially if he has any skin/allergy issues.

NOTE: do not spray any areas on his skin that are open sores or oozing because it will really sting!

Posted by Evelyn (Knoxville, Tn) on 08/19/2015
5 out of 5 stars

My dog, Jack, has been driving me crazy with his scratching at his hotspots. But I knew he was more aggravated with it than I was, because I can hear the poor baby whining. So I search the web found "Earth Clinic" and people home remedy cures. My dog now loves me again because I use the remedy of 1/2 c apple cider vinegar and 1 c water. I sprayed him down with this mixture and immediately he quit scratching. This is no joke. Try it you have nothing to lose. Except for one more night of sleep, lol.

Posted by Laura (Bryan, Tx) on 12/12/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I tried ACV for a hot spot on my dog's paw, and within a few days it was gone. All I did was put some ACV on a cotton ball with just a tiny bit of water, and rubbed the spot twice a day. By the next day, it was not oozing, and appeared to be drying up. After about another 2-3 days it was gone. It saved me a trip to the vet and the cost of prescription topical spray.

Replied by Em
Harvey, La
I want to know how to use this on my dog she mixed and I have apple cider vinegar. How much to used and how many days because she won't wear no guard or nothing on her foot need help now please
Replied by Kate
How do you keep dog from licking it off?
Don't worry about them licking off the Apple Cider Vinegar ("ACV"). It's good for them! Just make sure you get the organic kind, the one that begins with "Br".

Read up on this site about all the benefits of ACV for dogs and people.

Replied by Mama To Many Donate

You probably can't keep your dog from licking off the apple cider vinegar, unless you use an e-collar, which I am not suggesting. Apple cider vinegar is safe for your pet internally, so it is okay if he licks it off. You may want to apply it more often if he does though. Remember to dilute it - 1/2 water and 1/2 apple cider vinegar.

Posted by Betsy (Toluca, Il) on 11/26/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I just want to say thank you for your website! A couple of years back, I had to take my golden retriever to the vet for hot spots, which of course necessitated an injection of an antihistimine as well as medications to heal the spots. The second time I went, the vet threatened to charge me over $200 to put him out so they could shave the spot and treat it. Luckily, we ended up not having to do that. But I vowed we weren't going to go through that again! We have since discovered on your site the wonders of ACV to treat this! It works wonderfully. We make sure to keep his coat short in the warm months, and if he does develop the hot spots, we treat it with the diluted ACV. The ACV works like a charm every time to dry up the hot spots. I highly recommend it!

Replied by Marlene
Buffalo, New York Usa
I am going to try ACV. I have also found patting some cornstarch on hots spots drys them right up, when irritated. I use it on my chow/ lab mix it it works like a charm! I found this out from a holistic, breeder.

Posted by Salina (Sumner, Ga United States) on 06/26/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I tried ACV for hot spots on my 150lb lab and it works great! I have a little advice. My lab was absolutely raw with chewing and licking her back and tail area. I was terrified to use Apple Cider Vinegar on it because she was biting me just when I was cleaning it. I gave her benadryl 3 times a day for 2 days before starting the acv. It was instrumental in stopping the extreme itch all together and allowed her to heal enough so I could use Apple Cider Vinegar without the extreme burning. You can use Benedryl up to 3x a day in pill form. 1mg/for each lb of weight, exp 20lb=20mgs I didn't excede 5omgs. My lab 150lbs=50mgs. You can look up Benedryl for dog online! It stopped her itch all together with the use of a hydracortisone spray! This has been a godsend. Thank you so much.

Replied by Hailey
Hi Salina ... Just to clarify so that someone reading your post doesn't get confused about the dosage of Benadryl when figuring it out. It's actually 1mg/kg NOT 1mg/lb ... That's why you never exceeded 50mg for your 150lb dog ... 150mg would be far too high a dosage!

So, when calculating how much your dog needs, you calculate based upon 1mg/kg of weight. A kg is equal to 2.2lbs of weight.

Whenever I've used Benadryl, I just have a rule of thumb I go by ... Any of my little dogs under 20lbs, I use a half tablet of benedryl (same as I would use for Pepto for an upset stomach) OR a whole tablet (same as I would use for Pepto for an upset stomach) for any of my dogs over 20lbs. My biggest dog is 75lbs. And, anytime, there is access to a children's version or dosage amount (example liquid Pepto has a child dosage amts.) of anything, that is what I use. The dosage needed is more in line with the amount the dogs need or at least require less adjustment. :)

Beyond this clarification so people don't administer too much of the benadryl, I too, am going to try the ACV for hot spots ... my guys seem to have developed a few and I can't explain why. :( But, avoiding an unnecessary vet bill and medicated creams is what I'd prefer if possible! :)