Heat Rash in Dogs: home treatment + prevention

Is your dog’s skin getting red and sticky in the sun? Heat rash is one possibility, but not the only one.

dog heat rash - question 077 of the Dr Alex Answers Show

My dog has many bumps on its body due to heat I tried many remedies but there’s no result ... What should I do? - Prajaktha

I will start off by saying that heat rash is actually a pretty uncommon problem in dogs. At least in my experience. I have never worked in a tropical climate. I have worked in temperate climates where it can get quite hot but certainly not extremely hot.

Heat Rash in Dogs

In my experience, heat rash is really a very uncommon thing. We absolutely need to be sure that there is no other cause for lumps on the skin.

Insect Bites

There can be a number of different causes of skin lumps in dogs. We could, for example, have insect bites that are causing an allergic reaction like hives.

Multiple Hot Spots

There might be some other kind of allergic reaction that is also causing skin swelling. It could be that a chemical got on the skin. We could have a skin infection known as hot spots, which is a wet eczema. This can be very painful for a dog, they can come on quickly, and more than one can develop.

Mass Cell Tumor

A dog could even get something like a mast cell tumor. Mast cells are full of histamine, which is what gets released in an allergic reaction. A mass histamine release caused by a mast cell tumor being knocked could cause a large number of skin swellings to appear.

We can also get other skin tumors that can look like anything.

There is a whole load of different things that we should be thinking about other than just heat rash.

The history is going to make a lot of difference. In this case, if it is something that only comes up in hot weather and then it goes down and seems to clear when it is cooler, that suggests it is a heat rash.

If it is the first time that this happened, get the dog checked over by the vet to check if there is nothing more serious going on or nothing that needs any other treatments.

Keeping Your Dog Cool

If it is a heat rash, then keeping your dog cool is the key here.

  • It involves access to plenty of water so they can drink as much as they need to.

  • Use a fan to help keep them cool.

  • Have a cooling collar, wrap, or mat. You can get versions that you can soak with water and will help cool your dog through evaporation. Or you can put it in the fridge or freezer and wrap around your dog’s neck or shoulders to help them lose heat. 

  • You could give them frozen treats. Freeze dog food in a kong, which will help cool them down (here’s an article about how to make epic frozen dog treats).

  • You can have a sprinkler in the garden or a paddling pool for them to get wet

  • Make sure there is shade if your dog is kept outside.

Overweight and Thick Coats

If they are overweight, then losing weight is going to be a really big benefit.

Fat is a great insulator. If they've got a big fat coat on, that is going to increase the chance of them getting too hot and even developing heat stroke. Equally, if they've got a big thick coat or long hair, grooming them in the hot weather in the summer is going to help keep them cool.

Walking Schedule

Finally, if you're walking or exercising them, stick to early morning and late evening.

These are all good ways to keep a dog cool. They should, in the first instance, get rid of any heat rash. But like I said, at the very beginning, if you've not already, get your dog checked over by the vet because it might be something else going on.

Treating a Dog’s Heat Rash

If your dog is getting hot, and they have developed a heat rash, try cooling the skin with a cool wet cloth. This should reduce the heat, reduce any inflammation, and provide relief for any irritation or itchiness your dog might be experiencing. If they are irritated by their heat rash then you want to stop them licking or nibbling excessively. This will only damage the skin and make the likelihood of an infection developing much higher.

Any rash that persists for more than a day or two, is getting worse, or is causing irritation should be checked by your vet. There may be other treatments that are needed to prevent your dog’s skin becoming an inflamed, sticky, infected mess!

Hot Weather Dog Care

And if you want to find out more about all these tips to keep your dog cool, then check out my free ebook, which is all about hot weather dog care. It covers everything you need to know about keeping your dog safe and comfortable in the sun.

Learn how to keep your dog cool, how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and how to cool them down quickly if they are starting to overheat. You can also read about how hot a parked car can get and also learn about the common barbecue dangers among other things.

Best of all, it’s completely free!

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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