If your dog is a true water dog, then you may already know about hotspots. It is an irritating and painful skin disease that affects several dog breeds - especially those who love a swim in the sea or in the swimming pool.
But what exactly is a dog's hotspot? Which dogs are particularly at risk, and is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of being affected? We try to answer that in this blog post.
What is the hotspot in the dog?
Hotspot is an inflammatory condition in the dog's outer layer of skin, which occurs via an infection of bacteria, most often Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. These bacteria can already be found on the fur and skin beforehand, but only become a problem if there is an infection in, for example, a tear or a wound. It is both irritating and painful for the dog, and it is important to get treated by the vet if the dog is repeatedly affected or if the infection spreads.
How does a hotspot occur?
Hotspot in the dog occurs, as mentioned, when a tear in the skin gives rise to bacteria. Often this worsens when the dog is wet and damp for a long time. This is because the bacteria thrive extra well in a warm and moist environment. It could be, for example, that your dog has been out bathing and has scratched himself on a stone and subsequently claws or bites the crack, which then develops into a wound and gives better access to the bacteria.
Hotspots in dogs can appear anywhere on the dog's skin and can spread if not treated. Therefore, it is very important to get the dog dry quickly after it has become wet. This applies both after a dip at the beach, a bath at home or if you are hit by a downpour on your walk.
Particularly vulnerable dogs
You do not see hotspots in all dogs. Some are hit only once, others almost every time they are in the water, while some dogs never get a hotspot. However, some dog breeds have a greater tendency to be affected. For example, Retrievers have a dense undercoat, which easily retains moisture and therefore has a harder time getting dry quickly on its own. Long-haired dogs can also have problems getting properly dry in the right time.
Dogs that bathe mostly in salt water are also more exposed than others. Not because the salt water in itself is dangerous, but because it can dry out the skin and leave residues of salt, which settle in the skin and cause irritation and itching. Therefore, feel free to rinse the dog off at home in the shower and dry the fur extra well. Here, a drying blanket can be a super method for efficient and quick drying. You can also take it with you on the trip to the beach and put it on the dog straight after a dip.
It can also increase the risk of hotspot if your dog has large clumps of dense fur. Therefore, it is good to brush your dog regularly, so that you avoid dense and knotty areas in the fur, which can irritate the dog and in which any moisture can settle.
If your dog often scratches, 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 and thus create openings for infection in the skin. In that case, it is necessary to find out the reason behind the itching. It could be, for example, eczema, fleas, impurities in the skin that irritate, ear infections or an allergic reaction to shampoo or other fur care products.
5 good tips that reduce the risk of hotspots
The best advice we can give to reduce the risk of hotspots in your dog is therefore the following:
- Always make sure to dry the fur quickly and efficiently - try our drying blankets , which dry 90% of the fur in just 15-20 minutes
- Feel free to rinse the salt water off the fur before you dry the dog if it often swims in the sea
- Brush the dog's fur regularly to avoid knots and tufts of fur
- Check for fleas and impurities in the skin if your dog scratches often
- Stick to mild fur care products
Our drying blankets cannot cure your dog of hotspots, but they can be a very good help in reducing the risk of being affected. Hear for yourself veterinarian Marika Kristensen from Ølby Dyrehospital tell about why she thinks a drying blanket is good for your dog in relation to hotspots. Watch the video on YouTube here .
Treatment of hotspot in the dog
If your dog has already been affected by the hotspot, the most important thing is to first find out the cause. Is it fleas? An allergic reaction? Salt water that irritates? Afterwards, you should wash and clean the wound thoroughly and then keep it clean and dry. The wound should preferably be washed twice a day, and it can be a great advantage to cut the fur in the area so that you have better access.
If you do not see any progress after approx. 2 days, you should contact a vet. However, you should do this immediately if the dog shows signs of pain or if the infection spreads. Hotspots can spread quickly, so it is important to react in time. If you are in doubt, contact the vet rather than wait.
The vet will be able to give the dog painkillers and clean the wound thoroughly. If necessary, the dog can also be given antibiotics.
We hope that this article has given you insight into what hotspots in dogs really are and what you can do specifically to reduce the risk for your dog.