If your dog is a true water lover, you may already be familiar with hotspots. It is an irritating and painful skin condition which affects several dog breeds, especially those who love a swim in the ocean or the swimming pool.
But what is hotspot in dogs exactly? Which dogs are particularly prone to it, and is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of being affected? We will try to answer these questions in this blog post.
WHAT IS A HOTSPOT ON A DOG?
Hotspot is an inflammatory condition in the outer layer of a dog's skin, caused by a bacterial infection, usually Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. These bacteria are already present on the fur and skin, but they only become a problem if an infection occurs in a cut or wound, for example. It is both irritating and painful for the dog, and it is important to have it treated by a veterinarian if the dog is repeatedly affected or if the infection spreads.
HOW DOES A HOTSPOT OCCUR?
As mentioned, a hotspot in dogs occurs when a cut in the skin becomes infected with bacteria. This often worsens when the dog is wet and moist for an extended period. This is because the bacteria thrive in warm and humid environments. For example, your dog may have been swimming and scratched itself on a rock, and then itches or bites the cut, which develops into a wound and provides better access for the bacteria.
Hotspots in dogs can occur anywhere on their skin and can spread if not treated. Therefore, it is very important to dry your dog quickly after it gets wet. This applies to both after a dip at the beach, a bath at home, or if you get caught in a rain shower during a walk.
PARTICULARLY PRONE DOGS
Hotspots are not seen in all dogs. Some dogs are only affected once, while others seem to get them almost every time they are in the water and some dogs never get hotspots at all. However, certain dog breeds have a greater tendency to be affected. For example, Retrievers have a dense undercoat that retains moisture easily and therefore has a harder time drying quickly on their own. Long-haired dogs may also have difficulty getting properly dry in a timely manner.
Dogs that swim in saltwater often are also more susceptible than others. Not because saltwater itself is dangerous, but because it can dry out the skin and leave salt residue, which can irritate the skin and cause itching. Therefore, it is a good idea to rinse the dog off at home in the shower and dry the fur extra well. A drying coat for the dog can be a great method for effective and quick drying. You can also bring it with you to the beach and put it on the dog immediately after a swim.
It can also increase the risk of hotspots if your dog has larger mats of dense fur. Therefore, it is beneficial to regularly brush your dog to avoid dense and tangled areas in the fur, which can irritate the dog and potentially trap moisture.
If your dog frequently scratches itself, it can also be a sign of sensitive and irritated skin, which is more susceptible to hotspot infections as the dog will scratch more often, creating openings for infection in the skin. In such cases, it is necessary to identify the underlying cause of the itching. It could be, for example, eczema, fleas, impurities in the skin, ear infections, or an allergic reaction to shampoo or other grooming products.
5 TIPS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF HOTSPOTS
The best advice we can give to minimize the risk of hotspots in your dog is as follows:
- Always ensure to dry the fur quickly and effectively - try using our drying coats, which can dry 90% of the fur in just 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse the dog's coat after swimming in saltwater before drying, if your dog frequently swims in the sea.
- Regularly brush your dog's fur to avoid knots and clumps of fur.
- Check for fleas and impurities in the skin if your dog frequently scratches itself.
- Stick to mild grooming products.
Our drying coats cannot cure hotspots in your dog, but they can be a helpful tool in reducing the risk of them and have been recommended by several vetenarians.
TREATMENT OF HOTSPOTS
If your dog has already been affected by hotspots, the most important step is to first identify the cause. Is it fleas? An allergic reaction? Irritation from saltwater? Afterward, you should thoroughly wash and clean the wound, and then keep it clean and dry. Ideally, the wound should be washed twice daily, and it can be beneficial to trim the fur in the area for better access.
If you don't see any improvement after approximately 2 days, you should contact a veterinarian. However, you should do this immediately if the dog shows any signs of pain or if the infection is spreading. Hotspots can spread quickly, so it's crucial to react in a timely manner. If you're unsure, it's better to contact the veterinarian rather than wait.
The veterinarian can provide pain relief for the dog and thoroughly clean the wound. If necessary, the dog may also receive antibiotics.
We hope this article has provided you with insights into what hotspots actually are and what you can do specifically to reduce the risk for your dog.