Heat rash, also known as miliaria, is one of the many types of skin conditions that dogs may be susceptible to during summer or in hot environments, and this can be distinguished by redness, itchiness, and discomfort.

When dogs experience heat rash, it usually appears on sensitive areas of their skin such as their belly or in wrinkled skin such as the armpits or groin area because of its tendency to become moist when temperatures increase.

When a heat rash happens, it is one of the indications that the body needs cooling down. But does it usually appear the moment dogs feel the heat? Not instantaneously.

Initially, the reaction of a dog’s body is to pant to release heat. However, when this isn’t enough, a heat rash (usually on their belly) may begin to develop.

This article was reviewed by our expert veterinarian, Chris Vanderhoof (DMV).

Dog Heat Rash And What Causes It

Studies have shown that 1 out of 10 dogs gets heat rash during the summer. With this, seeing a heat rash on your dog’s belly for example may not seem like a big deal since it is quite common.

However, it may cause discomfort and stress, and lead to other problems if not addressed properly. But first, what could cause a heat rash in dogs? If you feel that your dog has a heat rash, below are some things to consider.

Signs & Symptoms of Heat Rash On Dogs

When a dog becomes exposed to hot temperatures (especially during summertime) or when the environment they’re in is too hot, they are more prone to having a heat rash.

If your dog has a heat rash, the symptoms would depend on whether there is an infection or not. More specifically, your dog’s belly is more susceptible to the staphylococcus bacteria, which is a common cause of infection in a dog’s skin.

Among the symptoms to watch out for if you feel that your dog may have a heat rash are:

  • Itchiness of skin;
  • Redness;
  • Skin tenderness;
  • Licking and scratching the affected area;
  • Bumps, pimples, or boils;
  • Sores;
  • Scabs;
  • Foul-smelling skin;
  • Bleeding in the affected area.

Do note that there are many other conditions that also experience the symptoms mentioned. However, if you notice your dog panting and the weather’s hot / if your dog is in an area with a high temperature, it’s likely that the symptoms indicate a heat rash.

Dog Heat Rash Treatment

While heat rash in dogs can often heal on its own, there are ways to speed up the process of healing. Below are some remedies.

Hydrocortisone cream

A corticosteroid that contains anti-inflammation properties, hydrocortisone creams can help treat irritation, itchiness, and inflammation that your dog may experience due to a heat rash.

Do note, however, that applying hydrocortisone cream should not exceed 3 days. This is because steroids may potentially cause undesirable side effects.

Baking soda

To help reduce the itching that can cause further damage or injury, one option is to make a paste using equal parts of baking soda and water and gently apply it directly to the area of the heat rash.

Topical medications

If bacterial infection develops in your dog’s heat rash, your dog’s veterinarian may prescribe topical medications to help heal the infection. Remember not to self-medicate, however. Consult with a veterinarian first before giving your dog any medications to make sure that it’s safe to be given to your dog.

Aloe vera

Similar to the effect of applying baking soda paste on your dog’s skin, applying aloe vera gel may help relieve pain and itchiness.


You may opt to bathe your dog with a shampoo that may help relieve the irritation that your dog may be experiencing, remove dirt and debris from the wound, and help prevent infection.

However, remember not to apply human shampoos or creams as these may contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog. It’s best to consult with your vet regarding which shampoo to use that would provide the most benefits without harming your dog.

Online Vet and Emergency Fund

If your pet has a heat rash on their belly for example and you want to ask something about it but it’s past the vet clinic’s operating hours, what are your options?

As a pet owner, it would be nice to be able to consult with a vet anytime and anywhere wouldn’t it? Today, there are services that make it possible. One of which is Petcube’s Online Vet, a service that gives you the opportunity to consult with licensed vets through 24/7 unlimited chats.

Not to mention, you save time and resources too while taking better care of your pet’s wellbeing.

Another service that Petcube offers is a Pet Emergency Fund that helps you secure veterinary expenses when you and your pet need it the most and at a fraction of the price.

At the same time, it covers all your pets so you won’t have to worry about the veterinary expenses in case of emergency. What makes it better is that the service also includes access to Online Vet, allowing you to consult with certified vets regarding your pet’s condition, overall health, and recovery.

Read more: What To Expect From An Online Vet Visit


Can dogs get heat rash?

Like humans, dogs can also get heat rash. It is more common in areas in the skin that are sensitive or have folds that tend to trap heat.

What causes heat rash on a dog’s belly?

Sensitive areas of the skin such as a dog’s belly make it more susceptible to heat rash. Because of the area’s sensitivity, it’s more prone to irritation when it’s hot.

Is dog heat rash on the armpit normal?

Yes. Because armpits are characterized by folded skin, it has a tendency to get moist and warm when it’s hot, and this can cause a heat rash in the area.

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