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10 Best Hot Spot Treatments for Dogs in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Hot Spot Treatments for Dogs in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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hand treating dog with hot spot sprayHot spots are a common skin condition in dogs. Typically, lesions develop from inflammation and itching from excessive licking, biting, or scratching. Detecting and treating hot spots early prevents them from becoming more serious.

Several home treatment options are available for hot spots, but it’s hard to know what works. To help you out, we have reviews of the 10 best hot spot treatments for dogs so you can fix your dog’s skin issues and avoid a trip to the vet.

divider-dog pawA Glimpse at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray
  • Non-toxic
  • Easy to apply
  • Soothes and heals
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray
  • Provides pain relief
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Relieves symptoms and promotes healing
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Hemp Well Cat & Dog Skin, Nose & Paw Balm Hemp Well Cat & Dog Skin, Nose & Paw Balm
  • Non-staining
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Provides deep moisturizing relief
  • Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs
  • Helps heal open sores
  • First-aid treatment for skin
  • Works as an insect repellant
  • Dermoscent BioBalm Skin Repairing Dog Balm Dermoscent BioBalm Skin Repairing Dog Balm
  • All-natural
  • Waterproof
  • Absorbs quickly
  • 10 Best Hot Spot Treatments for Dogs

    1. Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray — Best Overall

    Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Hot Spot Spray for Dogs

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Spray
    Weight: 8 ounces, 3 ounces

    We recommend Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray as the best overall hot spot treatment for dogs. This product helps soothe itchy skin while preventing infections and promoting healing. It’s 100% non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about your dog licking it off. It’s easy to apply, and it kills bacteria on contact to prevent the need for antibiotics and steroid treatments.

    If your dog has particularly bad hot spots or a large amount of hair covering the irritated skin, you might need to clip or shave the hair before applying the Vetericyn spray. The spray must contact the skin directly to work.

    Pros
    • Starts working immediately
    • Soothes and heals
    • Easy to apply
    • Non-toxic
    Cons
    • May require shaving for bad hot spots

    2. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray — Best Value

    Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot & Itch Relief Spray

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Spray
    Weight: 8 ounces

    The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray is the best hot spot treatment for dogs for the money. It is designed to provide analgesic and anti-inflammatory treatment for red, itchy, swollen patches of skin. It contains allantoin to promote wound healing and hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation and redness. It can be paired with Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot & Itch Relief Shampoo for extra relief.

    The spray has an odor that is reminiscent of antiseptic. It’s not usually bothersome, but some dogs with allergies may be averse to the scent.

    Pros
    • Relieves symptoms and promotes healing
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Provides pain relief
    • Affordable
    • Can be paired with the full line of Veterinary Care products for extra relief
    Cons
    • Antiseptic smell

    3. Hemp Well Cat & Dog Skin, Nose & Paw Balm — Premium Choice

    Hemp Well Cat & Dog Skin, Nose & Paw Hemp Balm

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Ointment
    Weight: 1.75 ounces

    Hemp Well Hemp Balm is our premium choice for at-home hot spot treatments. An ointment is a great option for moisturizing the skin, nose, and paws. It’s an all-natural formula with non-GMO ingredients that don’t stain or trigger allergies. Hemp Well Hemp Balm is a great choice if you’re struggling to find a product your dog won’t react to due to severe skin allergies.

    This balm doesn’t have any medicinal ingredients to treat hot spots specifically, but it provides moisture, thus preventing most hot spots from forming. However, we don’t recommend using it on any patches of damaged skin, as it may cause irritation. If your dog licks the balm off, it’s non-toxic, but you must re-apply it.

    Pros
    • Provides deep moisturizing relief
    • Non-toxic
    • Non-staining
    • Hypoallergenic
    Cons
    • The ointment can get caught in long hair
    • Not for use on open wounds

    4. Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs

    Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Ointment
    Weight: 2 ounces

    Sulfodene is a first-aid ointment that works as a barrier to infection and provides pain relief. It has multiple uses for your dog’s skin issues, including bacterial and fungal infections. It can be placed on open skin and promote healing of any kind of abrasion. As a bonus, it also helps fend off insects.

    This ointment won’t harm your dog if ingested in small amounts, but it is strongly recommended to prevent your dog from licking the treated area for as long as possible. It has a menthol smell that turns some people off, and the ointment can be a bit greasy. Also, dirt can stick to it after it’s applied.

    Pros
    • First-aid treatment for skin
    • Helps heal open sores
    • Works as an insect repellant
    Cons
    • Must prevent your dog from licking the ointment
    • Menthol smell
    • Attracts dirt

    5. Dermoscent BioBalm Skin Repairing Dog Balm

    Dermoscent BioBalm Skin Repairing Dog Balm

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Ointment
    Weight: 1.6 fluid ounces

    This 100% natural ointment from Dermoscent treats skin lesions and prevents infections. It is waterproof, so it won’t wash off after application. Unlike many other ointments, this one absorbs quickly, so your dog won’t have time to lick it off before it starts working.

    Dermoscent can’t be used in dogs under 12 weeks of age, so it’s not an option for small puppies. It is unscented but contains the essential oil Cajputi for antimicrobial use. Although it’s subtle,  the ointment has a slight odor. If you’re using it on your dog’s nose or face, they may be irritated by the smell. If your dog has allergies, check the ingredient label carefully. While it’s rare, some ingredients could trigger a reaction.

    Pros
    • All-natural
    • Waterproof
    • Absorbs quickly
    Cons
    • Essential oil smell
    • Some allergy-triggering ingredients
    • Not for puppies

    6. Banixx Pet Care +Wound Care & Anti-Itch Grooming

    Banixx Pet Care for Fungal & Bacterial Infections

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Spray
    Weight: 2 ounces or 8 ounces

    Banixx offers a multi-purpose antimicrobial spray that helps combat hot spots, ringworms, and ear infections. No matter the cause, this spray will help relieve your dog from skin irritations without using antibiotics and steroids. As a bonus, it’s safe to use around the eyes, nose, and ears, doesn’t sting, and is 100% fragrance-free. The 4-year shelf life means you can keep it on hand in your pet’s first aid kit whenever you need it.

    However, Banixx Pet Care’s ingredient list suggests no active ingredients for treating infections. It may provide your dog with itch relief, but it is just pH-balanced water, so it’s unlikely to treat infections the way that it claims. Given this fact, it probably won’t eliminate fungal infections either. It does seem to provide moisture and itch relief if your dog’s hot spots haven’t progressed to the open wound stage.

    Pros
    • Safe for use around the eyes, ears, and nose
    • Fragrance-free
    • Long shelf life
    • Provides itch relief
    Cons
    • No active ingredient
    • Doesn’t treat bacterial and fungal infections as the manufacturer claims

    7. Pro-Sense Itch Solutions Medications for Hot Spots for Dogs & Cats

    Pro-Sense Itch Solutions Medication for Hot Spots for Dogs & Cats

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Spray
    Weight: 4 ounces

    Pro-Sense Itch Solutions for Hot Spots is a hydrocortisone spray formulated to reduce inflammation and redness from skin irritations. It contains aloe vera to soothe and stop your dog from scratching. It’s easy to use and safe to apply multiple times throughout the day. It is also alcohol-free, so it won’t sting irritated skin.

    The amount of this product you need to use is a definite downside. It must be re-applied frequently to keep your dog from becoming itchy and scratching at hot spots. It does work, but you’ll need to be on top of treating the affected area. Pro-Sense is also not formulated to prevent brewing infections or bacterial growth. It will provide relief, but you’ll need something stronger to prevent the problem from recurring.

    Pros
    • Provides soothing relief
    • Non-stinging
    • Hydrocortisone reduces swelling and redness
    Cons
    • No antibacterial properties
    • Requires treatment multiple times a day

    8. Healers Hot Spot Relief Hydrocortisone Dog & Cat Ointment

    Healers Hot Spot Relief Hydrocortisone Dog & Cat Ointment

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Ointment
    Weight: 4 ounces

    Healers Hot Spot Relief is a hydrocortisone product for treating your dog’s hot spots. We like that it contains hydrocortisone, which is key in tackling red, inflamed skin. It can also treat insect bites, sores, and other skin conditions.

    This ointment tastes bitter, so your dog won’t lick it off. It can’t be used around your dog’s eyes because it will cause irritation. Healers ointment does a better job at hot spot prevention than at hot spot treatment because it doesn’t promote wound healing. It also has a fairly strong “medicinal” smell that can be bothersome.

    Pros
    • Hydrocortisone reduces swelling
    • Treats all skin conditions
    • Bitter tasting to avoid licking
    Cons
    • Irritating to eyes
    • Better at prevention than treatment
    • Strong smelling

    9. PetArmor Hot Spot Skin Remedy Non-Stinging Formula for Dogs

    PetArmor Hot Spot Skin Remedy Non-Stinging Formula for Dogs

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Liquid
    Weight: 4 ounces

    PetArmor Hot Spot Skin Remedy is an alcohol-free, non-stinging formula that targets Staph bacteria on your dog’s skin. These bacteria are most commonly associated with creating hot spots, so they’re definitely good ones to target.

    Since the PetArmor formula is a liquid rather than a spray or an ointment, you’ll need to expose the skin to the product before applying it. This means cutting or clipping the hair away before using it. Another downside is applying the product. It’s runny and not easy to get onto your dog’s skin. You must soak a cotton ball or pad to wipe the product on. This can lead to creating a mess and using more than you need.

    Pros
    • Non-stinging
    • Kills Staph bacteria that cause hot spots
    • Kills topical fungus and virus
    Cons
    • Dogs should not lick it off
    [/u_list]

    10. Vet’s Best Hot Spot Spray for Dogs

    Vet’s Best Dog Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray

    Lifestage: Adult
    Product Form: Spray
    Weight: 8 ounces or 16 ounces

    Vet’s Best produces this plant-based formula containing chamomile, aloe vera, and tea tree oil to treat hot spots on dogs. The spray is designed to provide instant relief from itching and doesn’t interact with other topical medications like flea and tick prevention. It is easy to apply and does a great job of soothing itchy skin so your dog will stop scratching.

    If your dog has hot spots due to an allergy, Vet's Best probably won’t do anything to stop them. The aloe does a good job of “cooling down” irritated skin, but it needs to be applied frequently for the skin to heal. There is a hot spot shampoo available from the same product line. This relief spray seems to work best when paired with it.

    Pros
    • Plant-based ingredients
    • Cools down itchy skin
    • Doesn’t interact with other topical medications
    Cons
    • Won’t treat allergic reactions
    • Needs frequent applications
    • Works best paired with the shampoo

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    Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Best Hot Spot Treatments for Dogs

    What Is a Hot Spot?

    The term “hot spot” is a localized skin irritation or infection. Technically, hot spots are called acute moist dermatitis. They are usually caused by a dog scratching or biting at itchy skin, leading to red, swollen patches. They can become open sores that ooze and get infected if left untreated. Treating hot spots as soon as they appear to avoid a more serious condition is strongly recommended.

    Signs of Hot Spots

    Hot spots first appear as matted and tangled fur or areas with hair loss due to a dog’s frequent “picking” at the area. They can be scabby and dry or moist and leak clear discharge. Most of the time, you will notice your dog continually licking, scratching, or chewing a particular area of their body. The more they lick the irritated skin, the worse the spot becomes.

    Signs of hot spots in dogs include:
    • Skin redness
    • Hair loss
    • Matted hair
    • Oozy discharge
    • Broken skin
    • Excessive chewing or licking at the skin
    hot spot on dog's hind paw
    Image By: Ashley-Belle Burns, Shutterstock

    Causes of Hot Spots

    The most common cause of hot spots is self-trauma from a dog chewing or licking the skin. Over-grooming makes the skin moist and susceptible to breakdown and infection. When a dog’s hair becomes matted over the irritated spot, it traps even more moisture and bacteria, making the spot raw and painful.

    Most commonly, itchy skin is due to an allergy or skin sensitivity. Sometimes, dogs lick and chew their skin for other reasons, like arthritic joints. In rare cases, it’s a result of anxiety or another behavioral issue.

    Causes of hot spots include:
    • Allergies
    • Parasites, especially fleas
    • Immune system impairments
    • Generalized dermatitis (similar to eczema in humans)
    • Arthritis
    • Skin, joint, bone, or soft tissue injury
    • Anxiety, stress, or fear
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Trapped moisture from swimming or bathing

    How to Treat Your Dog’s Hot Spots at Home

    If you catch it early and your dog’s hot spot is small, non-painful, and uncomplicated, starting treatment at home with over-the-counter products is reasonable. Topical sprays, shampoos, and ointments can all soothe your dog’s skin and remove hot spots before they become a larger issue.

    The most important factor is to use products that are safe for dogs. Do not choose one that is designed for topical use on humans. Many of them are toxic if your dog ingests them. All the products on this list are pet-safe and explicitly designed for use in pets.

    Here are general guidelines for treating hot spots:
    • If the area is small, clip or trim the hair covering the area. This will allow treatment products to reach the wound and promote healing.
    • Keep your dog from licking the area. If necessary, a cone will prevent them from irritating the area through licking and chewing.
    • Apply warm compresses.
    • Use pet-safe, topical hot spot treatments, following the directions on the product label.
    • Keep the area exposed to air; don’t bandage or wrap it.
    • Alleviate the cause of the problem to prevent re-occurrence. Otherwise, you are fighting a losing battle.
    hot spot on dog's neck
    Image By: Tienuskin, Shutterstock

    Tips for Preventing Hot Spots

    • Apply flea control.
    • Thoroughly dry your dog after bathing or swimming, especially if they are heavy-coated.
    • Groom your dog regularly.
    • To minimize stress and boredom, provide adequate exercise and plenty of opportunities for play and mental stimulation.
    • Feed your dog a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids to promote skin health.

    When to See the Vet

    Approximately 30% of dogs that develop hot spots will develop an infection. If your best efforts to treat your dog’s skin issues at home aren’t working or they are developing open wounds, it is best to have them assessed by your veterinarian.

    If your dog is in pain or the hot spots ooze pus, contact your vet. Your dog may require treatment with pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or antibiotics in addition to topical skin treatments.

    Your veterinarian's treatment recommendation will depend on the severity of your dog’s problem and the cause of the hot spot. Some dogs get a hot spot or two, and the problem never returns, whereas others have frequent reoccurrences throughout their lives.

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    Conclusion

    The best way to treat your dog’s hot spots is to start treatment early. This will prevent infections and further damage to your dog’s skin. Our recommendation for the best overall hot spot treatment for dogs is the  Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray. It starts working immediately, is easy to use, and contains anti-microbial properties to prevent infections. The best value for the money in topical hot spot treatments is the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray. It is a cost-effective solution to promote wound healing, relieve the itch, and decrease inflammation in your dog’s skin.

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