Itchy Skin and Hotspots in Dogs

hotspotitchHotspots and rashes in dogs usually start with hives or a red, moist, hairless area that your dog will not leave alone. Hotspots commonly start around the tail head or around the ears. As your dog hotspotscontinues to itch it, it will rapidly get bigger and grosser looking. It is not uncommon to see “hotspots” double and triple in size in just a few days. You can tell the difference between a hotspot and a cut, sore, or ringworm because a hotspot is very itchy and very wet, painful, and crusty.

Labs, Rottweilers, pit bulls, cockers, German Shepherds, Goldens, poodles, Maltese, Shih Tzu, and other allergic breeds of dogs can develop a pretty big sore in no time. It may start with some pretty intense itching at the tail head for a day or two and result in a big raw spot that is wet, slimy, and bloody.hotspotflea itch

fleasThe most common cause of hotspots are fleas or allergies. Fleas love to hide out where the tail joins the body. A few bites will cause hives which will start to itch. Our dogs will chew at the itchy skin so much that they will cause a bigger problem. The little rash turns into a great big rash with their help. Once the protective layer of dead skin (epidermis) is removed, bacteria can move in and make matters even worse. Staphylococcus will happily colonize the warm, wet, nutrient filled rashy area hotspot earand secrete toxins that will kill skin cells, inflame the wound even more, and cause more itching and pain.

aspirinWhat should you do? First exercise extreme caution and get help when handling or touching a painful hotspot. Even the nicest dog may snap if you touch their painful butt. You may want to start with an aspirin or two depending on the weight of the dog.(check my free home remedy download.) Give that an hour then follow up with some over the counter cortisone ointment on the wound. Check real closely for fleas around the butt, neck, and on the belly. If the area isn’t too painful, a nice warm bath with a mild baby shampooshampoo helps wash the goo and infection away, followed by applying cortisone ointment and Neosporin to the area to help with pain, inflammation, and infection. You can also use antihistamines for the pain and itch( Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra…check my free home remedy download on this website for treatments of common ailments, and dosages of over the counter medicine. I recently had a client start using Allegra for their itchy dog. I don’t have that one listed. The pills come in 60mg and 180mg sizes. The dosage is 1-2 mg per pound every 24 hours. For a ten pounder that means 10-20 mg, a twenty pounder needs 20-40 mg for relief, a thirty pounder needs 30-60 mg to feel better and so on.) Make sure to use a cone or other preventative so your dog can’t reach the tender area to chew or scratch it. Cones are sold at most pet stores. If you see fleas, you can bathe to get rid of the bulk of them, then use topical or oral monthly flea control for a few months to help control their numbers.cortisone cream Oatmeal shampoo once or twice weekly  is helpful to soothe the area once pain and infection is under control.

conesYour dog needs an accurate diagnosis and treatment if it hurts, is sick, or is real painful. Take them to the vet or emergency if they are suffering. A severe abscess or skin infection can be life threatening if it gets out of hand. If the hotspot and symptoms are mild, then following my suggestions can help with the itching and pain until you can decide whether or not your dog needs expert treatment.

The other things that cause hotspots are breathing in or coming into contact with pollens, molds, grasses and FOOD ALLERGENS. The reason I wrote Dog Dish Diet is because of the success I have had when I teach people how to FEED THEIR PET TO AVOID THE VET. Feeding the right commercial food, treats, and human food makes a big difference. You can help treat and prevent these nasty hotspots and chronic ear infection by feeding the right mix of ingredients. When you order Dog Dish Diet from this website, you also get a free eBook that explains how to crock pot your own dog food. Do you want to know all of the ingredients in your dog’s food? Want to try an easy food trial to see if your dog feels better in sixty days? Want to try and see if you can decrease or eliminate using prednisone or atopica? Want to possibly reduce the amount of flea control your dog needs?Order Dog Dish Diet and your free eBook today!

Greg Martinez DVM wrote Dog Dish Diet; a book to help you “feed your pet to avoid the vet”. Your dog may have chronic skin and ear problems due to the food and treats you give them. Most vets are not taught to consider the effects of commercial diets in disease. Raw and holistic pet foods are often healthier, but costlier. In my book, I show you how to feed the right mix of commercial pet food and people food for a healthier pet.

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30 Responses to Itchy Skin and Hotspots in Dogs

  1. Dr Greg says:

    Shes incontinent or has a urinary tract infection. She can bathe the area, apply neosporin. She needs a checkup and may need antibiotics and proin or DES so she won’t leak

  2. Michele Krumsiek says:

    I have a 11 ur old black lab… She tends too pea in her sleep slot at night… So I had too start putting her in the crate.. But she appeared with this raw looking rash… Now it’s spreading down her tail? ….. Baby lotion? Constantly giving her warm baths? I’m out of ideas: (

  3. Dr Greg says:

    Fleas, food allergy, and allergies to pollens and molds cause rashes. Treat for fleas and avoid wheat in the food and biscuits. If interested, read blog on website or Dog Dish Diet.

  4. Nanie riza says:

    Hi!!im asking about my baby cuddle shih tzu shes 2yrs old & 7kgs.she has a dry rashes on her bodies,legs everytime she scrats her.what should i do?im tired to go her vet coz its useless.please advise me..tanx

  5. Dr Greg says:

    Have you started feeding a new food or biscuit? These are often the cause. How about a piece of fatty beef or steak. That’s another common cause. Give her 1/2 pepcid ac daily for 4 days. Rub hydrocortisone cream in her ears. Give her 1/2 baby aspirin twice daily. Also 10mg Benadryl twice daily. She may need to see a vet ASAP! I can’t know exactly, but it sounds like an allergic reaction to a new treat, food , or chew.

  6. Racheal Webb says:

    Dear, Dr. Greg.
    Thank you for all the information, I really appreciate it. My 3 year old chihuahua has been through a lot these past several days. First she was throwing up and had diarrhea for a whole day. Than she woke up with lumps all over her body and she was extremely itchy and biting all the time. I gave her benadryl, a bath and an ointment. The lumps seemed to start going down but than the were back. Seemed to get worse with the itching. Continued to give benadryl the next two days. The itching and bombs seemed to have gone down but now she’s really hot to the touch, has a reddish rash on her belly and is constantly shaking her head. Her ears are also red and hot inside. She also seems to be trembling a lil while laying next to me right now. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m an emotional wreck right now! Please help with any advice you could give. Thank you!

  7. Dr Greg says:

    They are severely allergic and need topical or oral flea control, limited ingredient diet, extra oils in the diet, and no wheat in the food or treats. Weekly bathing with conditioner may help. I talk about the right ingredients to feed in Dog Dish Diet.

  8. Kelly Bowden says:

    I have two shih tzus who are constantly chewing and scratching. I bathe them once every 10 days or so to help keep the fleas off. I can’t seem to find a topical treatment that works here. They are so bad that the hair on their tails is so thin the tail bone can be seen.

  9. Dr Greg says:

    Limited ingredients. No biscuits or treats. Check for common allergens (wheat, barley, beef, chicken). Feed either duck, fish, venison and potato. Add oils like fish(3 caps daily) olive oil (1 tbsp daily) or sardines (1 tin two to three times weekly). Home cook or feed raw. Check out Dog Dish Diet with will help you decide the best things to feed.


  11. Dr Greg says:

    Dogs can get 1mg per pound of Benadryl twice daily or about 15 mg twice daily to round up. Claritin is given at 1/4 pill for 5 pounds, 1/2 pill for ten pounds, and one-two pills for larger dogs. Bathing weekly plus conditioner may help also. Adding healthy oils to the diet may also help

  12. Charlene says:

    I have a 13 pound dachshund. That gets hot spots during the summer. I pretty positive that she has an allergy to to the freshly mowed grass. What dose of Benadryl or Claritin, do you recommend?

    Thanks for any advice!

  13. Dr Greg says:

    Could be flea allergy, food allergy, or mange. Bulldogs have lots of allergies and need limited ingredient diet (no grain-no biscuits) like I write about in Dog Dish Diet or home cook for in Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet!
    Treat for fleas and feed the right food. Bathe weekly

  14. Keya says:

    I have 2 75 lbsfemale American bulldogs age 1 year old; one with mange and there other not but she’s apparently allergic to mosquitos I’ve been treating them both with. BORAX AND PEROXIDE for a few days it appeared to be getting
    Better but now it looks worse. I’ve also been giving them fresh garlic. When I let them out to play they come back in with tons of bites please help me I’m going crazy about my babies

  15. Many dogs have chronic staph infections due to allergens in the diet. A fish potato diet and adding healthful oils like fish and olive oil to the diet may work. He may have a low thyroid hormone and need thyroid supplementation.

  16. Tami says:

    I have a miniture pitbull, she has hair loss and small rash in front of her ears, and around her lady parts and it’s raw under her tail close to where her tail meets her bottom. She has allergies to grass and I give her children’s Benadryl when she starts to sneeze. I did find one flee and immediately gave her a bath and flee treatment. What do I do for the hair loss and rash around her ears and under her tail???

  17. Molly says:

    I have an English mastiff (210lbs) he is almost 3 and this spring started getting these little scab type things that turn into sores all over his neck, face, back, it’s spreading. I’ve taken him to several vets, holistic vets, even tried acupuncture.. Nothing seems to be working.. I can tell he is not feeling well, that these sores are causing him pain. I don’t know what to do. I’m feeding him origin regional dog food which is supposed to be really great food.
    Please help, any suggestions?
    Thank you

  18. Katelyn J says:

    Help! I have a pitbull and she is constantly itching. We took her to the vet. Got her skin scrapped and blood drawn nothing bad there. So the vet told us to switch her food. she is now eating 4health white fish and potatoe and she is still itching she has a spot on her tail her face her lips are swollen and eyes are goopy

  19. Charmane says:

    my dog has hot pots under his neck, he can stratch at them even with a cone on since they are below the cone line…any suggestions to keep him from stratching when I’m not around to supervise him?

  20. Laz Castillo says:

    Hi.. my dog has small bald spots on her coat and and is itching alot it looks like rash but In some parts it has dandruff. Are there any home remedies I can give her.

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  22. Lora Burek says:

    I have a great Dane mix. He is allergic to storage mites and house mites. His skin is so irritated and red especially by his arm pits. He is also losing fur in spots. He has scabs near his back end and legs. We r currently giving him dinovites. On bad days I do give him benadryl for the itch. I have tried bag a balm for his skin. So far no luck. What do u suggest?

  23. Dr Greg says:

    Hi Joan,
    Sorry your dog has to go through this! He probably needs a homemade diet, or a hypoallergenic canned food diet with more oils. I go over both things in the Dog Dish Diet at Changes to the diet may not cure an atopic dog (one allergic to pollens and molds), but I have seen them itch less, break out less, and be more comfortable. I no longer recommend z/d or any dry foods for dogs with these problems. I recommend canned, homemade, foods and to add human food ingredients like sardines, eggs, chicken, and veggies to help make the skin healthier.

  24. Joan says:

    My dog is allergic to mold, dust, some grasses etc. He is constantly on medication, cyclosporine, ketoconazole, anti-acids and steroids. Presently, his diet is Z/D prescription diet and he is still breaking out and scratching.
    His anal gland fills up within 2-3 weeks and he is chewing himself.

    Please advise as, I am a senior citizen on a fixed income and the vet bills have become overwhelming. Thank you so much

  25. Dr Greg says:

    She may be incontinent and leaking urine, have food allergies and a yeast infection, or have allergies to pollens and molds
    Make sure she doesn’t have fleas
    Benadryl 25 mg twice daily may help for a few days when itchy
    An adult aspirin twice daily on bad days
    Dog Dish Diet teaches you how to feed for better health and crocking homemade food helps most rashy dogs
    You can buy it on amazon
    I wrote it for people like you

  26. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for this information. I have a pitbull, she is hypo-allergenic but handles neosporin well. If I do not put neosporin on her tail daily she will get a really bad rash underneath her tail and around her female parts. I have been to the vet many times and they keep prescribing expensive medications that work no better than over the counter cheap neosporin. Any ideas why this happens? What can I do so she is not always in pain? Thanks so much for the advice!

  27. Dr Greg says:

    You may even want to cook for her. Many dogs with skin problems improve with real food. It has a better balance of vitamins and nurtrients. I’ve seen thousands of itchy dogs and found that real nutrition can be the key. Do not feed any chews or treats! Feed pieces of chicken or turkey hot dogs instead.

    You can use one teaspoon of children’s Allegra twice daily for 4-5 days.

    Your chi probably has a mix of allegies: fleas, pollens, molds, grasses, food. Make sure and address fleas also!

    My book comes with a crock pot cooking download that many clients use and love!

  28. Kandice White says:

    My chihuahua has bad allergies. I’ve tried Benadryl which at first just made her sleepy but now does nothing. My next step was to try Allegra but I am afraid that she will react badly to it, is it safe to use the children’s formula??? I’ve tried many skin products, food supplements and have switched her to a limited ingredient, grain free, duck and sweet potato food. Please help.

  29. Dr Greg says:

    What type of dog is he? What food, treats, and chews does he eat? Does he have fleas? Does he chew his feet, have ear infections, runny eyes? Dogs can have fleas, be allergic to food ingredients, or pollens, molds and grasses. They also can have mange.

  30. EVA ZAZUETA says:

    need help with max itching problem

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