Dog Heat Rash Guide: Identification, Causes, Prevention, and Treatments

As a pet owner, you know how crucial it is to monitor your pup during warm weather.

Unlike humans, our dogs can’t tell us when they’ve had too much summer sun, but keeping an eye on your dog’s body cues can help you decide when to strike out for cooler temperatures.

For example, you may have noticed that there is a rash on your dog’s stomach after some time outside and wondered, “Can dogs get heat rash?”

Unfortunately, canines are particularly prone to this condition, but there are steps you can take to prevent and treat their discomfort.

Let’s take a look at some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments to help alleviate dog heat rash, so you can ensure your canine companion has plenty of safe, summertime fun.

Causes Of Heat Rash In Dogs

rash on dogs armpit

Dogs already have higher body temperatures than humans, making them even more sensitive to high temperatures.

Compounding the problem is that dogs also don’t produce sweat and instead regulate their body temperature by panting.

As a dog pants, they are evaporating moisture trapped inside their lungs, which carries the heat out of their bodies.

Usually, this is enough to keep them cool, but when they’ve spent too much time in the sun, the heat tries to escape through their skin, causing the rash.

There are a few other factors that can make dog heat rash more likely:

  • Humid, tropical climates where the additional moisture in the air affects how efficiently they can pant
  • Dogs with rolls and folds that trap heat in between the layers of skin
  • Additional layers of fat make puppy heat rash more common
  • Sitting in front of wood stoves or heaters during the winter

Most dogs with heat rash will avoid sitting near heating appliances when suffering from this condition. However, some dogs are suckers for punishment.

If lying down in front of the wood-burning stove at the end of the day is part of their routine, it’s likely they’ll continue to do so.

I know many people who are using products like the Cubic Mini GRIZZLY Wood Burning Stove, and they have them in living spaces like tiny houses or RVs.

A dog living in confined quarters like this will find it hard to escape the heat, so keep that in mind if you suspect your dog is having trouble with heat rash.

Hypoallergenic dogs with shorter coats (or even no fur) are also more susceptible to skin, belly, and armpit rashes.

How To Identify Dog Heat Rash

When your dog has a heat rash, it is vital to catch it before it causes too much discomfort. There are several signs to look out for since it presents on their skin.

You may notice your dog licking or scratching more than usual, which leads to a few visible symptoms.

You may see:

  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Scabs
  • Or other signs of irritation like bumps

Pustules or boils can show up in severe cases.

Check in spots where fur is sparse, as the heat bumps often show up on the chest, armpit, or inner thigh. Most commonly, though, you’ll see a heat rash on a dog’s belly.

If you haven’t spent too much time outside, consider other causes of skin rash on dogs that present similarly. Hives on a dog’s belly may be a symptom of an allergic reaction, skin infections, or even parasites like ticks or fleas that cause itching and skin irritation.

Always take your dog to their veterinarian when you see signs of heat rash or any other skin conditions. It’s the only way to know how to treat the dog rash properly.

Preventing Dog Heat Rash

rash on dogs stomach

Heat rash is easy to prevent.

When you help your dog avoid overheating, you are also aiding in preventing heat rash. Keeping your dog inside, especially on hot, humid days, will help them stay comfortable.

When you are outside with your dog in the heat, monitor them.

If a dog is panting a lot, you should check their stomach or other areas like any skin folds for skin irritation and get them into the shade.

Giving them cold water can help them quickly cool down, too.

Many dogs like to have a small pool they can lay in on hot days. The cool water helps them keep their body temperature lower.

If you are on a beach, you should do a few things to keep your dog cool. Being under a good beach umbrella will do wonders to cool them off. It would be best to give them a towel to lay on to ensure the hot sand doesn’t irritate their skin.

If your dog has a darker or thicker coat, they are more susceptible to overheating, so those dogs need extra care to avoid discomfort from heat rash.

Spend less time outdoors when it’s scorching and make sure they always have something to cool off with, such as a sprinkler.

Heat Rash Treatment

dog heat rash treatment
It is essential to treat heat rash as soon as you identify it in your dog.

Heat rash can easily cause discomfort for your dog. Due to the way it presents, with painful conditions like hives and boils, it may lead to infection if your dog scratches and chews at the area.

First, cool your dog off as quickly as possible.

Cold water, shade, and getting them into a cooler environment like inside a building with air conditioning will help your dog lower their body temperature.

Once they’ve had some time to cool down, seek an expert’s advice. Your veterinarian will give you a treatment plan for your dog’s heat rash.

Often, they’ll recommend aloe vera gel, as it’s an inexpensive heat rash treatment that many of us already keep in our homes. Another option that your vet may prescribe is hydrocortisone creams.

If you have eczema, you may be familiar with hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid used to treat skin conditions by lessening swelling, irritation, and itching associated with dog heat rash.

If the heat rash is not severe and you caught it early, it may even be treated with cold towels. While it will not heal the rash, it can help soothe a mild inflammation.

Heat Rash On Dog’s Belly

Heat rash can cause a lot of discomfort for your dog, so it is vital to ensure they don’t overheat.

When you notice your dog has skin irritation after spending some time in the sun, always get them into a cooler area like somewhere shady or inside with air conditioning and help cool them off with cold water.

Once treated, heat rash will resolve itself quickly. In the future, make sure to help your dog avoid heat rash with things such as available shady areas, a full water bowl, and a barrier between them and the hot ground.

Lastly, for being such a good boy, make sure you give your pup some healthy treats like Chippin pet treats!

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