Dog Heat Rash – Causes and Treatment

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Dogs are all unique when it comes to their personalities and preferences. Some love winter, some summer, but they all love being outside. But what if your dog starts itching and scratching after you have stay too long outside on a hot, humid day? Read on and discover what are the symptoms of a heat rash and how to treat it.

It is common for humans, especially babies, to get a rash on their skin when their bodies overheat. This heat or rash can be uncomfortable, itchy, and most importantly painful. Heat rash appears in a form of tiny bumps that can be seen all over the body. This tiny bumps can be seen in dogs as well.

Dog Heat Rash

Basically, skin rashes are common both for humans and dogs. There is a number of reasons why your furry friend might develop a skin rash. This condition is common for all dog breeds. But the good thing is that dog rashes are usually not too difficult to handle once they have been identified and diagnosed.

Simply said, dogs skin asks for attention and high-quality skincare. Just like humans do, some dogs deal with skin issue all their lives, while some dogs never have any skin problems.

Moreover, some causes if not controlled and stopped on time, can lead to enormous scratching and licking. Furthermore, it can lead to secondary infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial infections.

Heat Rash Basics

The dull, dry and itchy coat is a problem for any canine. Luckily, most of the skin-related problems can be treated with proper medication. Furthermore, heat rash, in general, do not cause long-term health problems. But, you should treat your dog’s skin as soon as you notice some irregularities.

Dogs are sensitive to heat and can get easily sick if their temperature rises too high. When it comes to dogs, their normal body temperature is significantly higher than in humans, ranging from 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

As air temperature goes above your dog’s body temperature, it becomes more difficult for them to remove excess heat. Therefore, a heat sickness becomes more likely. Moreover, when a dog’s temperature rises above 103 degrees, it can cause signs of illness.

Good to know: Anything above 106 degrees can be fatal for your dog and requires prompt medical assistance.

Above all, the good thing about rashes is that they do not cause long-term health problems. Most of the time your dog can get rid of this problem through medication, even home remedies and adequate dietary changes. Of course, a short trip to the veterinarian is a must.

After all, your veterinarian is the only one that can identify the right course of action. If your dog is scratching and biting himself, the chances are that some major skin changes are happening.

Symptoms Of A Heat Rash

Heat rash can happen if your dog is exposed to too much heat or simply said, your dog is overheating. As mentioned above, dogs skin is not designed to bare too much heat, due to their skin folds.

There is a significant chance of your dogs folds becoming even worse and even infected, if the environment is humid and hot. Heat rash in dogs may be tricky to diagnose, especially since the symptoms of a heat rash can appear similar to other kinds of skin irritations in dogs.

Also, it may be helpful to understand that some breeds and some dogs are more prone to heat rash, especially if your dog is a bigger breed, overweight or has large wrinkles of the skin.

With that in mind, there are a few ways to identify heat rash in your dog. You can look for the following symptoms:

  • Itchy and irritated skin
  • Continuous licking
  • Continuous scratching
  • Itchy skin
  • Irritated skin
  • Small pimples or boils in a concentrated area
  • Red skin in a concentrated area
  • Foul odor

Although it is possible that your dog is dealing with heat rash, there are many skin conditions you should be familiar with in order to be able to tell them apart.

So, the biggest cause of this condition is overheating. Therefore, make sure that you keep your dog safe during those hot and humid days. Prevention is the best cure in cases like this one.

How To Treat Heat Rash In Dogs?

Heat rash is a condition that you should treat immediately. It can be tempting to do an online research and treat your dog’s skin at home. After all, it’s fast and time-saving. However, you shouldn’t be stretching the period of time between the initial development of the rash and its treatment. By treatment, we mean veterinarian visit.

Heat rash mostly begins as petty skin irritation, that can quickly transform to pimples or foul-smelling boils. Furthermore, in some cases these areas can even become infected with the Staphylococcus pathogen or any other infection that can lead to even greater risk to your dog.

Rashes in your dog could be from just about anything. Therefore, your veterinarian should check your dog for final diagnose. With that said, if you are sure that your canine friend is dealing with heat rash, you can make him comfortable by simply giving him a cool place under the shadow so he can relax.

Additional relief can be possible with a cold cloth placed over the rash. In addition, cold clothes will help with irritation and redness. This is crucial if you’re unable to take your dog to the vet. In that case, a dry and cool environment is the best solution.

Also, there are some treatments that your veterinarian can suggest that might help as well.

Treatments For Heat Rash

Your veterinarian will likely recommend you three most common medications when it comes to the safe and fast treatment of your canine buddy.


Benadryl is a great medication for use in dogs with mild-to-moderate allergies. This medicine is still not FDA-approved for veterinary use, it is considered safe for dogs and it is commonly used in many veterinary practices across the U.S.

Benadryl is great for many allergies, including seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, and even food allergies.

It’s commonly used to treat itchiness in dogs caused by various skin allergies and it can also reduce other symptoms of allergies, including:

One of the side effects of Benadryl is common drowsiness, which helps to calm anxious dogs. Also, it can relieve symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety when it comes to traveling, thanks to diphenhydramine.

Furthermore, it can help with sickness during car rides and plane rides.

Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone cream is usually the first choice when it comes to dry and itchy skin in dogs. This cream is known for dealing, and helping, with this issue. It is extremely easy to use. You just apply it directly to the site that is irritated.

However, bear in mind that your dog may lick the area and eventually wipe the cream away. Therefore, it may not be a bad idea to check with your veterinarian if wearing a collar is a good option.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is not beneficial only to humans. Dogs can benefit from this green and healthy plant as well. It can clear skin problems and help with a number of inflammatory conditions. Aloe Vera can calm the dog’s irritated skin and even help reduce scar formation.

Simply said, it is a thick gel with antibacterial properties. It can lubricate sensitive areas and its highly beneficial properties are easily absorbed.

Alternative Treatments

Many solutions for your dog’s skin can be found right on your kitchen shelf’s. Simply said, many of the herbs that you can find in your kitchen are safe for dogs. Actually, a few of them are extremely good for your canine.

Some of the best herbs are:

  • Basil – exceptional for immune system.
  • Carob – great for baking chocolate-and-sugar-free cakes for dogs. It serves as chocolate substitution.
  • Oregano – helps with gastrointestinal issues.
  • Peppermint – helps with nausea.
  • Rosemary – contains vitamins and antioxidants.

The herbs listed above are rich in compounds which support the dog’s health system and easily boost its energy. Bear in mind that the best way to give herbs to your dog is to start with a small dosage and increase it as time passes by. Also, the size of the dog affects the number of herbs that he can safely intake at once.

Good to know: Do not confuse normal parsley with spring parsley, because spring parsley is toxic to dogs.

If you are interested in other treatments the best thing would be to talk about it with your veterinarian. After all, your veterinarian is the person who knows the most about a dog’s anatomy and health in general, and what medicine is safe to be used to treat any health-related condition.

Also, bear in mind that any treatment may take even up to a week or so for your dog’s skin to recover. Make sure that you keep the infected area clean and cool all the time.

Try to keep your dog from licking the affected area. Intense licking can cause discomfort and many other problems.

Dog Heat Rash – Key Takeaways

Dogs are sensitive beings, especially dogs that are not used to being outside in the heat and humidity. These dogs are more likely to show fast signs of heat sickness. Short-nosed breeds such as Boxers, Pugs and Bulldogs are known for suffering from heat-related issues more than other breeds.

Furthermore, dogs who’s coat is thick and adapted to cold climates are known for suffering from heat rash. Heat sickness happens during the hot days, with strong humidity and if your dog stays outside for an unexpectedly long period of time.

Although treatments for heat rash are not expensive nor they took a long time, you should try to prevent it by any means possible. The most simple and most effective way is to stay outside for a short period of time on hot days. Adapt your dog to short playtime’s outside in the morning and evening, and slowly add more time.

Don’t leave the home without a bottle of water and pick a playground with access to shade. This way you will have your dog safe all the time.