dog heat rash

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Being a dog owner means investing a lot of time, from learning how to bathe your dog to understanding which medical conditions you need to keep an eye out for and how to treat them. Protecting your dog during the heat of summer is one of the most important things you can do because dogs can’t tell you when they’re too hot or dehydrated. Instead, it’s up to you to recognize the signs of dehydration in dogs, that way you can get your dog crucial treatment right when they need it.

A dog heat rash is a somewhat common condition that dogs may experience during hot weather. These heat rashes commonly appear on the stomach of dogs, and they’re a sign that you need to help your dog cool down a bit. When a dog panting heavily is no longer enough to get rid of excess heat, that heat can leave a rash on their skin.

While a dog heat rash may not seem like a big deal, it can lead to discomfort and other problems for your dog. A heat rash can also be an early warning sign that your dog is spending too much time in the sun and needs to take a moment to cool off. If your dog has a heat rash and you’re not sure what to do, here’s what you need to know.

Signs & Symptoms Of Heat Rash On Dogs

As a dog owner, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat rash on dogs, that way you know when it’s time to give your dog a break from the sun and help them cool off. Left untreated, a heat rash can cause further irritation to your dog’s skin that can lead to discomfort.

signs and symptoms of dog heat rashSome of the signs and symptoms of dog heat rash include:

  • Redness
  • Itchy skin
  • Tender skin
  • Scabs
  • Sores
  • Scratching and licking of the affected area
  • Boils, bumps, and pimples
  • Foul skin odor
  • Bleeding

As is the case with many medical conditions your dog may experience, the symptoms of heat rash may also present with other conditions. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms along with heavy panting and it’s hot outside, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a dog heat rash.

What Causes A Heat Rash On Dogs?

Heat rash is a condition that dogs may experience as a result of very hot weather. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat to get rid of excess heat, they pant. This means that it’s not as easy for dogs to cool their skin down, and that excess heat can lead to a dog heat rash.

Heat rash in dogs is caused by overexposure to heat or direct sunlight. Dogs have a lot of tender skin that’s not covered well by their coat, and those areas are especially susceptible to heat rash. Heat rash may not be as dangerous as dog seizures, but it can still cause serious problems.

Heat rash in dogs is caused by overexposure to heat or direct sunlightWhen you take your dog outside on hot days, make sure they have a shady spot to relax and don’t leave them outside for too long. If you spot signs of heat rash, you should bring your dog inside and give them some time to cool down and relax in the shade.

Diagnosing Heat Rash In Dogs

If your dog has suddenly developed a rash after spending an extended period of time in the sun, you should take them to the vet for a diagnosis. Getting a diagnosis before you treat dog heat rash is important because you don’t want to make your dog’s heat rash worse.

Your vet will perform a physical exam to determine if your dog has heat rash. This physical exam involves looking at the area where the rash is forming to determine whether it’s caused by heat, an allergic reaction, or something else. Your vet will also determine the severity of your dog’s heat rash, which is an important part of deciding on treatment.

When you take your vet in for a heat rash diagnosis, your vet may also look at a smear of the rash under a microscope to see if it’s infected. If there are a lot of white blood cells in the affected area, your dog may have a heat rash infection.

What Does A Heat Rash On Dogs Look Like?

Recognizing heat rash on dogs is important during the summer, so every dog owner should have a basic understanding of what heat rash looks like. It’s easy to confuse heat rash with other types of rashes your dog may have, so it’s always best to get a diagnosis from a vet who’s dealt with heat rash before.

Heat rash on dogs starts as a fairly normal rash, causing redness and itchiness in the affected area. As heat rash gets worse, it may eventually cause boils, pimples, and scabs in the area of the rash, and you may even notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s skin.

Heat rash can also lead to a secondary infection as a result of your dog scratching their rash. If your dog has heat rash, make sure you get it diagnosed by a vet and take steps to stop scratching and other potentially harmful behavior.

Heat rash can also lead to a secondary infection, so quick intervention is essential

How To Treat Heat Rash In Dogs

The good news when it comes to heat rash in dogs is that there are steps you can take to prevent and treat heat rash. As a dog owner, this starts with keeping an eye on your dog during hot weather and looking out for heat rash on your dog’s tummy.

Your vet may recommend a few different treatment options for heat rash in dogs, including hydrocortisone cream, aloe vera, and a cold towel. The goal of treatment is to reduce skin irritation and inflammation while helping your dog get relief from the heat.

If your vet recommends a specific treatment option for heat rash in dogs, make sure you follow through with treatment until your dog is all better. It’s important to get rid of heat rash infections completely before you stop treating the affected area.

dog panting in the sun

How Long Does It Take Heat Rash To Go Away?

From dog heat rash to signs of dog anxiety, nobody wants to see their dog suffer for longer than they have to. Your pup may be in a lot of discomfort as a result of heat rash, so how long does it take for that heat rash to go away?

The good news about heat rash in dogs is the fact that it typically goes away in a relatively short time period once you’ve started treatment. Once you start applying the cream or aloe vera that your vet recommends you use to treat heat rash, that heat rash may go away in as little as 3-7 days. Keep in mind that the duration of heat rash may depend on the severity of your dog’s rash as well as how quickly you begin treatment.

How To Prevent Heat Rash In Dogs

You don’t want your dog getting heat rash, so it’s important to know how to keep your dog cool during the summer and how to prevent heat rash.

Start by making sure your dog stays cool when they’re outside. You should have a shady area in your yard where your dog can go to relax. If your dog is exhibiting any signs of being too hot, you can spritz them with water or wipe them off with a cold towel to cool them down. You should also avoid letting your dog spend too much time in direct sunlight.

When your dog is spending a lot of time outside, keep an eye on them. Watch out for symptoms of your dog overheating or a heat rash developing. The sooner you spot heat rash, the easier it is to treat.

Final Notes

During the summer, it’s important to make sure your dog is staying cool so they don’t develop heat rash. While dog heat rash is a fairly common condition, working to prevent heat rash and treating it early on is important.

If your dog has heat rash as a result of spending too much time in the sun, you need to get a diagnosis from your vet. With Dutch, connecting with vets in your area is easy. You can even get treatment delivered to your door. Try Dutch today to make taking care of your dog a breeze.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $11/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.