Q. The solution of equal parts Listerine, baby oil and water for dogs’ hot spots is the most fantastic remedy I’ve read about in a long time! The minute my dogs start “worrying” a spot, I get out my spray bottle, spray the area thoroughly, massage the solution into their skin and the problem stops immediately. No more hot spots that involve trips to the vet.

A. Several years ago we heard from a radio listener that his veterinarian had suggested Listerine and baby oil for his Dobermans and his horses. It worked for them so he tried it on his own scalp and found it banished dandruff. We’re glad you found this combo helpful.

One possible explanation is that Listerine contains herbal oils (thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate) that may have anti-fungal activity.

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  1. Sharon
    Tampa, FL

    What are the amounts of Listerine, baby oil and water? Do you mix them and use a spray bottle to apply?

  2. heidi f.

    Ok I have a 8 month old pure bred boxer, when she was 3 months she got demodectic mange and we went to the vet and was given goodwinol cream, a antibiotic, and it got worse so quickly. We researched for weeks and came to find lime sulfur dip on Amazon and it worked some but it came back with force.

    After 5 bottles of goodwinol and 3 bottles of sulfur lime dip not working I am fed up. Poor baby boxer. I am really sceptical about this listerine treatment. Does it work? How long and how many times a day? Will it hurt or sting her? At this point I am willing to try anything but not at her cost of further damage or getting worse. Please someone, anyone HELP!!! If it works I will spread the word and get more animals relief and help. HELP MY BABY GIRL!!!

    • The People's Pharmacy

      We don’t know if the Listerine remedy will help for this problem. It shouldn’t hurt to try it, though. Good luck! We hope your boxer gets better soon.

    • Vickie

      If the hot spots aren’t oozing, I’ve had good luck with mixing apple cider vinegar and distilled water in equal parts. Spray/apply 2-3 times per day. The vinegar needs to be the one with the mother in it, i.e., Braggs. Most grocery stores carry it. If the spots are oozing, wait to start using the vinegar until they have crusted over so the vinegar won’t sting.

  3. Anne

    Hi, my schnauzer has had a hot spot for a week now on his neck. The original area has dried but it seems to be still growing even though hes been on antibiotics and prednisolone. I bathe it in betadine as well, getting very stressed about his pain its awful to watch, i’m going to try this listerine solution tomorrow and hope it works. Fingers crossed.

  4. steven T

    Well here I go. I have a solid black eastern german shepherd. He’s 11 months old and I feed him large breed puppy food. Well no flees all of a sudden his skin just dried and he started itching like crazy. Any more suggestion and I’m going to try today recipe today. Just got the ingredients.

  5. Leanne Gibbins

    My Newfoundland gets hot spots, as soon as one clears up he gets another one, listerine, water and baby oil is fantastic, it really works to help clear them up.

  6. Erika

    My chihuahua has these spots which appeared overnight I’ve been looking for remedies all day since I can’t take him to the vet (too poor :() I only have blue Listerine and water, I can’t find any baby oil, can it still work without it? If I add 2/3rds water to 1/3 Listerine?

    • justsid

      No, you need the baby oil to keep it there. There is oil extracts in the Listerine that treat gums. Those bond with the baby oil to cause the treatment of the hot spots. If you look at the ingredients in Listerine you will find some oils and a lots of alcohol. The combination is what actually kills the germs. Likewise with applying it to the skin. You need the baby oil to get it into the skin and hair follicles and keep it there.

  7. Erika

    My chihuahua has these spots which appeared overnight I’ve been looking for remedies all day since I can’t take him to the vet (too poor :() I only have blue listerine and water, I can’t find any baby oil, can it still work without it? If I add 2/3rds water to 1/3 listerine?

  8. Frankieb

    So glad I re found this formula. I had the baby oil, and Listerine down, but couldn’t remember the 3rd ingredient – water. I still had some left and have used it up, but now I can make a new batch. This formula does work well. I saw immediate relief when I remembered I had some left and sprayed it on the dogs hot spots.

  9. H. Bob

    My poor 3 year old puppygirl has hot spots that leaves scabs and takes weeks to heal would love to try this but like to specifically know what kind of Listerine? Original?
    And can you use as a last rinse during bath time? ;-^)

  10. Sally Germaine

    Love this recipe for my girl dog who suffers with Mange mange for the last 3 days and her fur has almost grown back!! Would recommend this to every dog owner

  11. Dileonardog

    Going to give my senior Jack Russell Terrier a try with this mixture. I believe that you can only try to control and minimize the itching. In most cases, you can’t cure it. The first question should always be, what do you feed your pet ?

  12. shirley

    I am trying the same for my Maltese who is allergy ridden, did you continue with the treatments on your American Bulldog and how is she now?

  13. loislane

    ok so my american bulldog has what appears to be a very bad staff infection an or mange. she has it on her hind legs and paws and she is so itchy all the time. i have tried giving her antibiotics off and on. eventually she became resistant to cephlaxin and i think it just made no difference and came back. so what i have been doing for about five days now is bathing her in a dog shampoo containing chlorahexadine which is a antiseptic and was recommended by a vet and im also spraying a mixture of baby oil , listerine and water on her as well as putting apple cider vinegar in her food with oil of oregeno. i give her benadryl. i keep hearing how these dogs look better but her skin is still bright red!! i also have started using coconut oil on her skin and food to help her moisturize. is this normal for her skin to be so red all over and if so is she reacting to this mixture?? in a bad way . i have read and read about what to do for her and i really dont want to put her back on antibiotics and ruin her immune system but i feel so hopeless right now and worried about why she is not improving. am I expecting too much too soon…i just dont wanna hurt her more and make her skin worse. please help me

    • Kareneliza

      My long-haired 3 year old golden retriever has had a size able hot spot for the last 10 days and I could just feel your pain when I read about your dog’s problems. Did you ever find out what was causing the problem and did you ever find a cure? I would think red skin indicates inflammation due to an allergy to something. People can experience red rashes from antibiotics such as Keflex or allergies to eggplant or strawberries so I guess antibiotics or food allergies could be an issue for dogs. I am also curious if your dog has problems in the winter. Perhaps your dog is allergic to a plant in your yard. Please let us know how you are both doing.

    • Dee

      Hi! I was wondering what happened to your dog after? My dog is experiencing the same thing: her skin is still bright red. Did your dog’s skin turn back to normal after?

  14. Carole

    My cat has some fleas and scratches from them. He’s an indoor cat, but I also have a dog. Can I use this solution on the cat as well as I obviously cannot bathe him. LOL – I enjoy life too much.

  15. Tony Scott

    I am trying this for the first time on my dogs hotspots, my Vet actually recommended it. How often should I spray it in the spot?

  16. Cmb

    My female lab has awful allergies and is constantly licking and biting her paws until they are raw and then she limps because of the pain. Tried all the meds from vets . Can’t have any more prednisone . Changed food, tried raw. Soak her feet in a shampoo from the vets to calm the itch . Tried herbsmith clear allergy. Nothing is working. Will the listerine combo work for her paws?? Will anything? She’s so miserable and sad.
    Peoples Pharmacy response: It might be worth a try. Check with the vet first.

    • julia
      United States

      Try dermagic watch video on you tube and then buy from amazon seems to help I have tried almost every herbal remedy this is the only one that helped cheaper on amazon then on website plus she is now on generic version of Apoquel good luck I probably will also try this Listerine combo if above doesn’t work but better since combo of above

  17. LCK

    Sharon, I don’t know if anyone ever replied to you, but I’ve been having serious scratching issues with my rescued mutt. After antibiotics, which caused a yeast infection, and yeast meds which caused loss of appetite and lethargy, I’ve tried a raw diet including yogurt to kill the yeast.
    Her skin turned black which of course scared me half to death. Then I found on a natural pet care website (I wish I could remember exactly which one) that the yeast, when it dies, turns black. Apparently, this stage of killing yeast can cause slightly more itching, but will clear up within several days and her skin will be normal again. I’m so grateful that she’s not scratching herself raw and tearing holes (literally) in her ears, that I’m almost willing to put up with black skin forever! But, apparently, I won’t have to. I’ll let you know how long it takes to go away.

  18. Karen

    I have an aging yellow lab that has a hot spot on her paw. Does this really work?

  19. Sharon

    I tried this on my Lasa today and his stomach and hair turned Black!!! What happened!! I had previously given him a bath in baking soda and rinsed with cider vinegar–after he dried off I sprayed with this solution–YIKES HE TURNED BLACK—I took him in the tub and rinsed as much as I could off..
    PLEASE ADVISE–I’m afraid to use it again

  20. JayC

    I am trying this recipe for the first time on my Rottweiler mix and Golden Retriever in hopes this will AT LEAST reduce some of their incessant itching…clearing up their doggy dandruff would be a plus. I have tried bathing them in different shampoos and conditioners, changing dog foods, a couple medicines, brushing, etc… all in vain!!! Got my fingers crossed this will be a winner. The smell is a bit of an inconvenience but I’d much rather endure the smell over the %$!#@$* itching.

  21. Angel

    Omg, my dog has been going crazy because of his hot spots, I have tried aloe Vera and salt water but nothing. I tried this and he has stopped the urge to scratch or lick! BUT he is sooooo afraid of the bottle and smell? when I sprayed it he jumped like it stung, and is running away when I spray it! Thanks so much hopefully it well clear within the next few days, he is also a pekingese if you’re wondering! xx

  22. Melissa A

    I don’t know if someone has responded back to you or not about the amount to do, so I thought I would. So you would just do equal parts. So for one good mixture do 1 cup of baby oil, 1 cup of listerine, and 1 cup of water. Just mix and spray. This should do the trick. I am trying it for the first time tonight. :) Praying for the best as my dog has severe flea allergies.

  23. ML

    I have been reading about this treatment for dry skin, hot spots that dogs have. I have 2 Cocker Spaniels and we have tried everything we can think of to help with the itching CONSTANLY. We have changed the food (very Expensive too) but that does not help, we have tried everything in the world to wash them in. Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE tell me this SOLUTION of what and how much to mix and can you bathe them in this also. PLEASE HELP WE ARE DESPERATE and WE KNOW THE DOGS ARE IN PAIN ALWAYS GOING THROUGH WHAT THEY HAVE TO GO THROUGH. Please Respond back w/ instructions of mixture (how much of each ingredient to mix together) and can you BATHE THEM IN IT.

  24. Mary

    I’ve always had dogs, but never had issues with hot spots. Now, 2 Bulldogs at the same time. Our breeder recommended the “Listerine trick”. I looked it up, found this recipe, and tried it. Its only been one day, so I haven’t seen results yet, but I was astonished at how they didn’t flinch when I sprayed it on. I figured the Listerine would sting, but it didn’t seem to bother them at all. Thanks for this advice! — Mary

  25. Christy

    My poor chihuahua has suffered from skin problems her whole life, 7 years. We’ve taken her the vet numerous times a year and have tried every treatment they have given us. Most of them work enough to get rid of the worst of it, but it always comes back. I was reading online about different remedies that I could try at home, and came across this one. After just 3 days I noticed a BIG difference and within a week her hair was coming back. It’s now been 3 weeks and most of the major spots are closer to being healed than ever, and the smaller are gone.
    I can’t believe that it took me 7 years to find this!

  26. Laura

    I am trying this now for my two dogs. They both are really itchy all the time with dry skin. They have no fleas, etc as they have been to the vet and all I get from the vet is expensive shampoo that does nothing and told to put fish oil in their diet. Which I did but that hasn’t fixed the problem by a long shot. So here’s hoping this does! Thanks for the information!

  27. gjl

    Yes, this absolutely works. I have a puppy that developed a hot spot under her chin that was causing her to scratch like crazy. I mixed this up in spay bottle and used it 3 times a day. By the second day she was not scratching near as much and almost none by the third day. Now, after a week (using the spray twice a day), the spot is almost completely healed.

  28. Kandi K

    WOW! My German shepherd was having such a tough time with dry skin… and who wants to spend the big bucks at the vets for that?? I can’t believe how GREAT this worked. Within 24 hours there was an AMAZING improvement. WITHIN 3 DAYS a hotspot was completely gone! The Listerine seems to somehow react with the baby oil so the dog was not at ALL greasy – it just soaked right in. I only used ONE treatment of a spray bottle full of equal parts Listerine, Baby oil, and warm water. A cheap WONDERFUL solution! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

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