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9 Best Hot Spot Shampoos for Dogs In 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Best Hot Spot Shampoos for Dogs In 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

English cocker spaniel dog taking a shower with shampoo, soap and water in a bathtub_andriano.cz_Shutterstock At best, hotspots can be minor aesthetic problems for dogs. At worst, they can be painful, irritating, and even get infected. It is best to treat hotspots right away before they get large and spread. Larger hotspots require veterinary attention, but more minor problems can be treated with a hot spot shampoo for dogs.

The faster you catch and treat hotspots, the better. You don’t have time to waste with shampoos that don’t work. Only the best hot spot shampoos for dogs are suitable.

There are tons of skin-treatment shampoos out there that claim to treat hotspots. Below, we’ll review several shampoos that really work.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo
  • Soothes dry, itchy skin
  • Cleanses gently
  • Leaves fur soft and manageable
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo
  • Gentle enough for regular use
  • Effective on minor dry, itchy skin
  • Gently cleanses fur
  • Third place
    Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
  • Natural ingredients
  • Soothes itchy skin
  • Moisturizes included
  • John Paul Pets Sensitive Skin Formula John Paul Pets Sensitive Skin Formula
  • Oatmeal and aloe vera for gentle skin
  • Mild, gentle formula
  • Doesn’t strip your dog’s oils
  • Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo
  • Medicated for added effectiveness
  • Soap-free and paraben-free
  • Suitable for both dogs and cats
  • The 9 Best Dog Shampoos for Hot Spots

    1. Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo – Best Overall

    Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs

    Scent: Cucumber & Aloe Vera

    The Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo is easily the best overall hot spot shampoo for dogs around. It’s designed without any harsh chemicals to avoid irritating your dog’s already itchy skin. For instance, it’s completely dye- and soap-free.

    It utilizes oatmeal, which is well-known as a skin soother, to eliminate itchiness and irritation. At the same time, it also cleanses your dog’s coat, removing any potential environmental allergens that may be irritating their skin. It does this without stripping away natural oils, which are important for your dog’s coat health.

    This shampoo does not have a very strong, artificial scent. Instead, it is lightly scented with cucumber and aloe vera, both natural ingredients. While this shampoo is great for removing irritation, it might not be the best option for dogs with very dirty fur. It isn’t strong enough to remove heavy grime.

    At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

    Pros
    • Soothes dry, itchy skin
    • Cleanses gently
    • Leaves fur soft and manageable
    • Pleasantly scented
    Cons
    • It may not be effective for very dirty dogs

    2. Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo – Budget Buy

    ZESTY PAWS Itch Soother Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal & Aloe Vera

    Scent: Oatmeal & Aloe Vera

    Like many sensitive dog shampoos, Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo contains oatmeal as the primary soothing ingredient. It also includes aloe and vitamin E, which may help moisturize dry, itchy skin. It’s for all breeds and coat types, leaving their fur soft and shiny. It is designed primarily for minor allergies, but it may also be effective on hot spots.

    This shampoo is gentle enough for regular use. Unlike medicated shampoos, it shouldn’t dry out your dog’s skin or coat. Plus, it’s also much more affordable than other options, making it the best hot spot shampoo for dogs for the money.

    That said, it is important to note that this shampoo is not completely hypoallergenic. It may not be suitable for dogs with certain allergies. Be sure to read the ingredient list thoroughly before using it on your itchy dog.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Gentle enough for regular use
    • Effective on minor dry, itchy skin
    • Gently cleanses fur
    Cons
    • Not hypoallergenic
    • It doesn’t lather as well as other shampoos

    3. Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

    Burt's Bees Oatmeal with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey Dog Shampoo

    Scent: Oatmeal & Honey

    Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is a gentle, natural shampoo that is designed primarily for dogs with dry, itchy skin. It’s made with almost only natural ingredients, including oatmeal flour and honey. It’s designed to soothe and moisturize skin, making it suitable for dogs with minor hot spots. It’s also completely free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances.

    The colloidal oatmeal flour helps soothe itchy skin, while the honey helps moisturize your dog’s coat. It’s gentle enough to use on puppies and dogs with very sensitive skin, though it may not be completely hypoallergenic for all dogs.

    Because this shampoo is made to be very gentle, it may not be very helpful for deep cleansing. It won’t work as well on very dirty dogs. It also doesn’t have a very strong scent. Therefore, we don’t recommend it for those who want their dog to smell fresh for days after a bath.

    Pros
    • Has natural ingredients
    • Soothes itchy skin
    • Moisturizes included
    • Free from sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not heavily scented

    4. John Paul Pets Sensitive Skin Formula Dog Shampoo

    JOHN PAUL PET Sensitive Skin Formula

    Scent: Sweet Almond

    John Paul Pets Sensitive Skin Formula Dog Shampoo is made for sensitive skin, as you probably guessed from the name. It may relieve your dog’s dry skin thanks to its inclusion of oatmeal, which has moisturizing properties. It also includes aloe vera, like many of the shampoos on this list. This shampoo is completely pH-balanced, so it won’t irritate your dog’s skin.

    Many owners reported that the oatmeal and aloe vera combination was very effective at reducing itching. It also leaves the dog clean, which may help prevent further allergies. We love that this formula is relatively gentle, making it great for dogs with allergies.

    However, this formula isn’t as concentrated as others on the market. You’ll probably need to use more than you would with other shampoos, which raises the price considerably. Keep this in mind before deciding to use this shampoo.

    Pros
    • Oatmeal and aloe vera for gentle skin
    • Mild, gentle formula
    • Don’t strip your dog’s oils
    • pH balanced for skin protection
    Cons
    • May be too scented for some pets
    • Not as concentrated as other shampoos

    5. Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo

    VETNIQUE LABS Dermabliss Medicated

    Scent: Unscented

    Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo is a bit different from other shampoos on this list. It is medicated to relieve itching and irritation caused by a range of minor health issues, like small hot spots. It contains Pramoxine, which can temporarily numb the skin and eliminate itchiness.

    It also contains oatmeal and aloe vera, two natural skin-soothing ingredients. While it is medicated, it’s completely soap-free and very hypoallergenic. Therefore, it is gentler than many other medicated options, though it may not be as gentle as some of the other shampoos on this list.

    Dermabliss provides a gentler approach for dogs who need a medicated shampoo. However, it’s important to remember that this shampoo isn’t a substitute for veterinary care. If your dog has a large hot spot, you still need to seek veterinary attention.

    Pros
    • Medicated for added effectiveness
    • Soap-free and paraben-free
    • Suitable for both dogs and cats
    • Soothing oatmeal
    Cons
    • Not significantly scented
    • Expensive

    6. TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

    TROPICLEAN OxyMed Medicated Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Scent: Oatmeal

    If you’re looking for another medicated dog shampoo option, consider TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog Shampoo. This shampoo is medicated to relieve itching, flaking skin. It’s made primarily with oatmeal and vitamin E, which have soothing properties. Plus, it’s gentle enough for regular use despite being medicated.

    This shampoo can be hit-or-miss for dogs with hot spots, though. It includes natural salicylic acid, which isn’t effective on all skin issues. It depends largely on the underlying reason for your dog’s hot spot. This shampoo works very well for some dogs and not too well for others.

    Compared to other medicated dog shampoos, TropiClean Oxymed is a good option for pet owners who have tried other shampoos without success.

    Pros
    • Gentle enough for everyday use
    • Made with oatmeal and vitamin E
    • Medicated
    Cons
    • Only works for certain skin conditions
    • Not as gentle as other options

    7. Veterinary Formula Solutions Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs

    VETERINARY FORMULA SOLUTIONS Soothing & Deodorizing Oatmeal Shampoo

    Scent: Lavender

    The Veterinary Formula Solutions Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs is a gentle shampoo designed for pets with dry, irritated skin. It contains a range of different ingredients that may be helpful to pets with skin conditions, like colloidal oatmeal, baking soda, zinc, and aloe vera. All of these ingredients help soothe their skin, eliminate odors, and leave their coat soft.

    Plus, the shampoo is also pH balanced to ensure it doesn’t cause further skin problems for your pet.

    Many dog owners reported that this shampoo is very effective at relieving your pet’s itching and scratching. Compared to other formulas, this shampoo has more ingredients, which may make it work better for some pets.

    However, others may find the medication a bit much, and it may even cause skin problems for some pets. It is more affordable than other medicated shampoos on the market, though. It may be an option for dog owners who have already tried one of our highly-rated shampoos and want something a bit stronger.

    Pros
    • Baking soda to help eliminate odors
    • Gentle enough for dogs with sensitive skin
    • Long-lasting fragrance
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • May be a bit too strong for some dogs
    • Scent can be a bit too strong for some

    8. Petkin Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

    PETKIN Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

    Scent: Vanilla Oatmeal

    Out of all dog shampoos out there, the Petkin Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is one of the cheapest options. It contains a lot of the ingredients we’ve come to expect in a gentle dog shampoo. It has ingredients like organic oat extract and vitamin E, which may help improve skin health.

    It’s made with all-natural ingredients that are designed to leave your dog’s coat clean without causing irritation. This shampoo is an affordable option for dog owners looking for a paraben-free shampoo that also gets your dog clean.

    That said, this formula may not be as effective for dogs with more serious skin conditions. It isn’t medicated, either. The vanilla scent is pleasant, but it may not be suitable for dogs with allergies.  

    Pros
    • Cleans and conditions the coat
    • Affordable
    • Large bottle
    Cons
    • Not the most effective formula
    • Scent may cause irritation for some dogs

    9. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo

    VETERINARY FORMULA CLINICAL CARE Hypoallergenic Shampoo

    Scent: Unscented

    As the name suggests, Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo is designed for dogs with allergies. It’s a gentle shampoo that’s free from most allergens, including fragrances. It’s formulated with coconut-based cleansers, vitamin E, lactic acid, and allantoin. These ingredients help cleanse and soothe your dog’s coat. Of course, it’s also pH-balanced for dogs specifically.

    There are many hypoallergenic formulas out there, but this shampoo is one of the more affordable options. It’s not as effective at deep cleaning or removing strong odors. However, it is gentler than most options.

    That said, many reported that if your pet has very dry skin, it may not be the best choice. It may dry out your dog’s skin more in some cases.

    Pros
    • Effectively cleanses with coconut-based ingredients
    • Suitable for pets with allergies
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Doesn’t remove strong odors
    • May dry out some pets’ skin

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Hot Spot Shampoo for Dogs

    Hot spots can be pesky and irritating. Just when you think they’re gone, they’ll come back with a vengeance. They can be understandably uncomfortable for your pooch, which is a reason you should choose a hot spot shampoo carefully.

    There are many options out there, and we’ll help you choose between them below.

    First, Consult Your Vet

    vet examining the stomach of a labrador retriever dog
    Image Credit: Dragon Images, Shutterstock

    When in doubt, always consult your vet about treating skin conditions, including hot spots. While hot spots may seem minor, they can become very irritating and large. These red skin lesions are open to infections, giving bacteria a clear entrance into the body. From there, they can infect other parts of your dog’s body.

    Some hot spots take a very long time to heal. If they are itchy, your dog may scratch them, making them larger and preventing them from healing altogether. Often, the area must be covered to prevent further irritation, and topical medications may be necessary. If the hot spot is small and doesn’t seem to bother the dog, shampoo can be used in order to clean the hot spot area(s). However, you must ensure to thoroughly dry your dog afterward.

    It’s also a good idea to clip the area around the hot spot with grooming clippers as hair retains moisture, and you want to make sure the area is both clean and dry. Large hotspots can be very painful and can spread quickly too; these often require medication in conjunction with topical medication.

    Very small hot spots may be treatable at home. It’s important to cover the area and use an appropriate shampoo, though. If one of the shampoos we recommended above doesn’t work, it’s important to contact your vet for further treatment.

    Hot spots aren’t something you want to leave for a long time. Otherwise, they can lead to complications.

    Consider Your Dog’s Needs

    Before choosing a shampoo, it’s important to consider your dog’s needs. Not every dog is the same, so the exact hot spot shampoo they need will differ, too. For mild cases, a gentle, soothing shampoo with natural ingredients may be all you need to solve the problem. However, severe hot spots require veterinary care and often anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes, a medicated shampoo may be required.

    If your dog has sensitive skin or allergies, you may need a hypoallergenic shampoo that’s free from harsh ingredients. Many dogs are sensitive to harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. Many sensitive shampoos are free from fragrances and ingredients like parabens.

    If your dog is allergic to a particular ingredient, it’s important to avoid it. Read each ingredient list closely to ensure that it’s free from whatever your dog is allergic to.

    Long-haired dogs may need a conditioning shampoo that can help detangle their coat. Short-haired dogs may not. Your dog’s specific coat type does matter, so consider it when choosing a formula.

    Read the Ingredient List

    woman selecting shampoo or conditioner in a pet store
    Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

    Even if your dog doesn’t have any specific allergies, we recommend reading the ingredient list. Look for natural ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile, aloe vera, and calendula, which are known for their calming properties. While these ingredients are not as effective as medication, they may be all that dogs with minor hot spots need.

    In some cases, medicated shampoos are required. Your vet will recommend exactly what medication your dog needs in their shampoo, and these shampoos are often only part of the treatment plan. If your dog does need medication, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully to ensure that only the specific medication they need is included.

    Avoid harsh ingredients, such as alcohols, parabens, or sulfates. These can irritate your dog’s skin even more. Often, these ingredients are used in stronger shampoos.

    Additional Points to Consider

    The ingredients in a shampoo formula are the most important consideration. However, there are some other things to consider, too. For instance, you may want to consider how the shampoo is used. Those with a pump dispenser are often easier to get out of the bottle, for instance. Or you may decide that you’d rather have a different bottle. There are several different options.

    Many dogs with hot spots also have an unpleasant odor. You may be tempted to choose a very fragranced shampoo to cover up this smell. However, you also have to be careful not to further irritate your dog’s skin.

    On the other hand, some shampoos have too much fragrance. They may be so fragranced that the smelly ingredients irritate your dog’s skin, for instance. In many cases, they may also be too fragranced for your nose. It isn’t odd for dog owners to complain that a particularly smelly shampoo overwhelmed their senses.

    If you’re particularly sensitive to smells, keep this in mind when choosing a shampoo.

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    Conclusion

    There are tons of gentle shampoos out there, and many of these are suitable for hot spots. However, not all of them are the best hot spot shampoo for dogs. We have a few favorite options that stand out from the rest.

    Our favorite is the Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo. This shampoo is straightforward and simple. It contains oatmeal, which helps soothe your dog’s skin and may help with minor hot spots. While being gentle, it also helps clean your dog’s coat.

    For minor cases, you may also want to consider the Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo. This formula is affordable and includes many of the soothing ingredients we’d expect to find in a hot spot shampoo.

    Hopefully, one of these formulas helps your dog’s hot spots. If not, you should contact your vet for more effective medication and a treatment plan.


    Featured Image Credit: andriano.cz, Shutterstock

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