Hot Spots
Natural Remedies

Hot Spot Remedies

| Modified on Jun 01, 2024
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.

ACV and Omega 3

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Uli (Albany, Indiana) on 12/03/2007

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)

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

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Sallie (Brisbane, Qld Aust) on 10/21/2012

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.

Aloe Vera
Posted by Gina (Houston, Texas) on 05/29/2010

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)

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

Aloe Vera
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

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Jo (Fredericksburg, Va) on 01/01/2010

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 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Pam (Sioux Falls, Sd) on 10/19/2009

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

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Tara (UK) on 03/07/2007

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, Coconut Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Fan (Pasadena, Ca) on 07/09/2011

As soon as the weather warmed up, my dog developed a large red spot on his back around his tail area. It was very painful. I cut the hair away, washed the area with half water half Apple Cider Vinegar and oil of lavender. It DID NOT burn or sting him, in fact I could tell it felt good. In one day all redness was gone and two days later it was scabbed over and not bothering him at all. I put this on him 2x per day and it resolved the problem. I also started giving him a spoon of coconut oil everyday with his food. It helps keep his skin and hair moist. Whenever I forget to give him the coconut oil, his skin gets very dry and he starts itching like crazy. It really helps to prevent skin issues when given regularly. It should be cold pressed coconut oil.

Replied by Sara
(Lake Stevens, Wa)

I have a golden retriever who gets hot spots regularly and this last ones gotten real ugly red and yuky looking can I do the ACV and water mix on it when its bad like that? It is already less red and irritated then it was a few days ago but am wondering when everyones saying they use it on hot spots if they are bad spots or not?

Replied by Charlotte
(Ardmore, Oklahoma)

What are the portions for each ingredients or receipt? I have a 6 lb. Poodle. Thank you! Charlotte

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Charlotte!

To start try 1:10 ratio -1 part ACV and 10 parts water.

Replied by Linds
(Indian Rocks Beach Fla)

Hot spots on a lab: If my dog ingests coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, does it work as well as applying it to the skin?

Replied by Lee

How many drops of lavender oil??

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney, Australia)

Bath warm water and betadine mixed pat dry apply neosporin to the spot, internally c.s and oregano capsule 150gms once a day bathe 2or 3 times daily. dont let the dog lick the neosporin.

Apple Cider Vinegar, DMSO

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Xanadu1jw (Memphis, Tn) on 11/17/2012

For hot spots I recently read something about DMSO curing them so I mixed up a solution of 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother), and a scant 1/2 cup 99.9% pure DMSO I got from the county coop (I've also seen it in horse supply shops). I used a small spray bottle to apply it to the hot spots that had my little beagle acting like he was 90 years old, using the bottom of the bottle to brush the hair forward and expose the spot better and then using the same bottom to rub the solution into the skin. He doesnt like the process and immediately tries to lick it off but this old dog is now acting like an energetic happy puppy again. I try to distract him with a few treats or walking after treating him so the solution has a chance to soak in. I apply it three times a day and in four days after starting he already has hair growing back into the area again.

I believe this solution would work for a cat also in that all of the ingredients have been used on cats with benefit whereas many natural products can harm a cat since their liver can't process some things like a human or dog can. DMSO doesn't smell good but is preferable to watching your dog/cat suffer and/or spending lots of money on ineffective things from the vet and the scent doesn't last all that long.

Replied by Chat

DMSO is a strong solvent, and whatever it dissolves will pass directly through your dog's skin. I for one would not use DMSO on my dog.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Epsom Salts

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Joyce (Joelton, Tn) on 12/13/2008 495 posts

Suggestion for all those dogs (or any other animals) with hot spots:

Have any of you ever tried a saturated solution of epsom salts in apple cider vinegar to swab out those hot spots? Epsom salts has both healing and drying properties and the apple cider vinegar will even cure impetigo which is caused by streptococcus!

Just dissolve epsom salts(2 lb box for $1 at Deals or Dollar Trees) in Heinz ACV (about $2 gallon at Save-a-Lot) until no more will dissolve and swab those hot spots out about 4 times a day. I am sure that neither ES or ACV will harm your dog.

Replied by Yogi
(Melbourne, Australia)

My chow chow developed a hot spot near his tail that grew alarmingly fast. I tried 50% water 50% apple cider vinegar plus a tablesspoon of epson salts and his spot dried up in 2 days. Thank you for this solution. It worked a lot faster than vet prescribed medication! It was a lot cheaper. And there was no cream to get all over the furniture.

Replied by Colleen
(Durban, South Africa)

I have a staffie who suffers badly from hot spots. We have done the vet route countless times and spent huge amounts of money on him, only to have the hot spots return.

I was given a home remedy that definitely stops the itching and helps soothe him down almost immediately. I only need to apply it for a couple of days and the inflammation and oozing stops.

A tub of aqueous cream, a tube of Mycota foot cream, and a box of powdered flowers of sulphur. I mix half of each of the ingredients as I was not given the ratio for the mix. Tee cream is very cheap, and lasts for ages. Now when he sees us with the tub he comes and sits in front of us with his back turned so that we can put on his magic medicine :-)

Replied by Tate
(Flint, MI)

How many days is the hot spot treatment and how often for maintenance? He does not have deep oozing wounds though.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Tate!

The original poster swabbed the spots 4 times a day. Try starting with that, and keep it up until you see the skin heal over.

Replied by Lori

Not likely it will hurt them but will it help them, that's my question

Replied by Kathaleen

This site was so helpful. I am going to try the apple cider vinegar on my cat's hot spots. Thank you/

Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lzyshampoo (Waterloo, On) on 10/18/2010

I used hydrogen peroxide, you can buy this at the local pharmacy 3% hydrogen peroxide. Put in a spray bottle and spray the spots. After a week or 2 they're all gone. I also feed her yoghurt mixed in with ACV (with mothers and organic). I used Nizoral shampoo as well. It has been 1 week and she's doing great smells a little still but hopefully it'll all be gone soon. Way better then the VET... I hate them. All they know how to do is rip people off.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide
Posted by Jewishmom (Casselberry, Florida) on 06/25/2009

My Silky terrior has suffered from terrible hot spots, including bleeding and terrible crying. I've brought her to the vet and put her on antibiotis, anti-hystimans, and cortozine cream,and special shampoo, and she would get better, for a while, only to get hot spots again. This particular time, I looked up home remedies and found your info on acv, and thought I would try it. The crying of Madison was so bad, I had to shut my bedroom door, I knew she was in pain. Well I tried the mixture of acv and h20 and of course she yelped,. because it was all open. She yelped for maybe five minutes and now, nothing. Only healing. The first application hurt her, but after that it was a breeze, and three minutes of crying, certainly beats twenty four hours a day(and that was what it was). I am spraying her twice a day now, and she doesn't think of licking it. First dose cured that. Thanks.. Hopefully we'll keep it under control with daily sprays.

Replied by Elizabeth
(Tulsa, Ok)

My Bulldog Bella has what I thought was mites. I treated her with peroxide and borax and it has not helpes now she scratches until bleeding all over. I looked up images of hot spots & that is precisely what it looks like! I have sprayed her with Apple Cider Vinegar and peroxide mixed in a spray bottle I felt so horriable that she was on fire! I have not done it again but I am wondering if it is okay to do when she is covered with open sores that bleed and puss. I am at my wits end. I have baught so many creams and powders and even tried head & shoulders (reccommended from vet tec that responded to a post I have on craigslist) I have used gold bond, triple antibotic ointment, anti- itch creams, conditioning dog shampoos, and johnsons 24 hour moisture baby wash. Please tell me what to do From step 1 to the end, I can not afford a vet my husband almost died on 1/31/12 haveing his colon partly removed he now has 2 colostomy's and has to have another surgery in a few weeks. We have 6 kids and a grandbaby being born today at 2:45 pm. So please any advice would be so helpful and appreciated.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil Based Shampoo

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michele (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) on 02/04/2012

My 3 year old Shitzu Maltese Mix just started getting really bad with hotspots and I have been using ACV diluted 50/50 with water and a tea tree based shampoo, (it's actually called HOT SPOT SHAMPOO) available at Pet Value in Canada and have already noticed a big difference in her scratching. That's the key to stop the scratching, thanks to all who contribute to this website, pills from the vet don't address the the problem on a long term basis plus giving my dog pills is like pulling teeth.


Hamilton ON Canada

Apple Cider Vinegar, Vet Meds

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by MaryKay (Savannah, Georgia) on 06/07/2009

Just wanted to responed to your site and give update on the info I used for my toy poodles Hotspots. She had 3 each, 1 on neck, 1 on paw, and 1 on leg. Well I tried the 1/2 cup of ACV and 1/2 water mixture on all 3 spots. The 1 on the neck started scabing over and healing within about 3 days, the ACV worked well. However the ones on the foot and feet could not due to she would continue to lick. I tried using the cone around her neck, however she was still able to lick the spots,the cones are mainley used so they can't scratch around their heads/necks. So I tried the Acv and also Witch Hazel, also Gold bond powder, but she kept licking when not watched. In order for them to heal correctly you have to stop them from licking. So bottom line was, I took her to my vet due to it had been 2 weeks of working on the paw and leg. There is a shot which cost abot $15.00 and pills they can give that cost about $10.00 that will help the inch and irritation and eventually heal the Hot spots, however if you have female that is pregnant then they can not be perscribed, but they do have a cream that cost about $15.00 in that it has really helped with mine, its called Quadritop Ointment. No more licking and starting to heal. So if nothing else works take your pet to the vet. The remedies that people have posted are really good for some but not for all, exspecially if your dog continues to lick the spots. Also hotspots are caused mainly by either skin eritation, insect bite or Flee bite, so insure you get some kind of Flea protection for your pet. Hope this helps.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Denise (Savannah, Ga) on 05/10/2010


Replied by Mikie
(San Jose, Ca/usa)

My beagle is allergic to grass [yep] so his feet and ears are always inflamed. My vet told me to give benadryl, 25mg, once a day. My dog is 35lb. What is the weight of your dog? he has really dry skin and four hot spots. His coat is shiny. I use vinegar/water on his feet... he hates it.