Q. My poor chihuahua has suffered from skin problems her whole life. We’ve taken her to the vet numerous times and have tried every treatment they have given us. Most of them work well enough to get rid of the worst of it, but it always comes back.
I looked online for a different remedy that I could try at home and came across the Listerine mixture. After just three days I noticed a big difference in her skin, and within a week her hair was coming back.
After three weeks, most of her worst spots are closer to being healed than ever, and the smaller ones are gone. I can’t believe it took me seven years to find this!

A. Many years ago, we heard that a mixture of equal parts amber Listerine, baby oil and water could be sprayed on a dog’s “hot spots.” It seems that many of these problem areas are triggered by fungus, and Listerine helps fight the fungus.
Sores that don’t heal should be checked by a vet. The Listerine mix is not a cure-all, but it seems to be a very versatile remedy. Some humans even find it helpful for fungal infections.
If you like the idea of a home remedy like Listerine, baby oil and water for hot spots on a dog, you may find our book The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies of interest. It is filled with hundreds of such low-cost effective approaches. We are offering a special opportunity for Facebook Fans. If you like us on Facebook, you can get the discount code for 15% off this autographed book.

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  1. Jane

    For many years when I had horses and they would rub their tails while standing in their stalls, we would spray Listerine on the top of the tail and it would clear that up nicely. I do not remember just how long it would take but I applied the amber Listerine only once daily.

  2. Irene

    I also would like to know how often this mixture should be applied. I have an 11 year old terrier mix who has been having skin problems for the last year. The vet says its most likely due to allergies but some type of fungal infection has developed. He is miserable with the scratching which we do control with Benadryl, an anti
    Fungal medication and antibiotic. We have spent hundreds of dollars trying to treat this issue. Our vet wants to now have him go through a procedure that will cost us more than $1,000. Before we agree I would like to try this home remedy.

  3. MetalliMama

    I’ve made up this mixture to use on my dog, I’m so happy to find something that can help without containing chemicals and other scary things. But how often should I apply it? She has one spot that’s already lost hair poor thing…it’s never happened in all her 13 years, so I’m new to this issue :)

  4. KAB

    We have had 3 dogs. The first two had serious problems with hot spots and I am certain eventually led to more serious problems which led to early deaths. Our current dog is 13 years old and has never had wheat (gluten) in his diet. I am convinced that this was the culprit. Choose a high quality food and treats containing no gluten. Our dog is extremely healthy and has never been been troubled by skin problems (hot spots).

  5. Susan G.

    I also want to know if this is safe for cats. My 11 year old cats gets flea and grass allergies every Spring. This year he was very bad, lost almost all his fur. After 5 months he still doesn’t have it back on his sides and legs.

  6. emily

    I have a 95 lb boxer with major allergy issues. I’ve tried everything, including what my vet has prescribed and it’s all expensive. I’m going to try the Listerine……. what do I have to lose???? BTW, I do give him beneryl and he can have 3 a day…… it doesn’t make him drowsy at all.

  7. Jill

    I’ve had this remedy in a spray bottle under the kitchen sink ever since I read about it 20 years ago. At the first sign of the dog biting away at a hot spot or flea bite I grab the spray bottle, shake up the mixture and spray the dog heavily while massaging in with my fingers. I do this until the hair and skin are wet and the hot spots never mature. Fabulous solution. Have it on hand

  8. lise

    You might want to check that your dog’s food is wholesome. My dog had problem with her skin eating Science Diet dog food. It went away as soon as I switched to a natural ingredients dog food (check online).

  9. Ellen

    Many years ago I read about this treatment for hot spots on dogs. Quite some time afterwards I developed a external vaginal itch that I simply could not get rid of, even with the most expensive, strongest drug store over-the-counter ointment. These ointments only gave me relief for three or four days and then the terrible itch was back again. I really did not want to go to the doctor to get an even stronger medication.
    Remembering your advice about the Listerine/baby oil mix, I decided to try it. Voila! Instant relief. Since that time, I have used this almost continuously (several years now). About twice a day, I will apply this mix, sometimes alternating the Listerine with cider vinegar lest I develop a resistance to Listerine). This has kept my itching under control completely. I only hesitate to spread the news to friends that I control my vaginal itch with dog medicine.

  10. Florence M.

    I read the article on hot spots on dogs. I also have a chihuahua who scratches once in awhile, sometimes hard. He has no fleas, no signs of any disease nothing visible. We were advised to give him 1/2 of a Benadrol tablet a day. It helps but he still itches once in a while. Is there a better solution, maybe more than the 1/2 tablet? Thank you.

  11. P. Adrian

    Does this mixture work for cats? is it safe for cats? My cat chews her soft belly area until she has sores. She even pulls out the downy soft hairs in that area.

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