How to Treat Dog Pimples

Easy
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Your pup is a lot like you were growing up. By the time you reached your teenage years, you were probably struggling with acne. Well, guess what? Your pup is going to have to deal with the same problems. Yes, that's right: dogs get zits too! 

However, the big difference is that your dog really doesn't care about the fact he has zits that everyone can see. In most cases, dog acne is not really a major medical issue and just like humans, it will even go away by the time he reaches adulthood. Of course, it can always flare back up from time to time. 

Dog's Perspective

Pimples mean next to nothing to your dog, and unless they become irritated or infected, he probably isn't aware of them. They can appear as either black or whiteheads on his lips, chin, chest, or genitals.  It is normal for your dog to get acne during his teen years, but it could also be caused by food allergies, poor hygiene, or by different forms of bacteria. If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your vet and have him take a look at your pup's pimples. 

The Visit the Vet First Method

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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Identify the problem
Canine acne pimples typically appear as raised pink bumps on his chin, lips, or other areas of his body. They may also appear as infected lumps that have burst and have a straw-colored discharge. If your pup has been rubbing or scratching them, he may have pimples that are actively bleeding.
Step
2
Talk to your vet
If you notice any of this, your first step should be to take your pup in to see his vet. The vet should give him a thorough exam and take small samples from the pimples for laboratory testing. He will do this just to make sure it is nothing more than acne.
Step
3
Doing nothing may be an option
Depending on the severity of your pup's acne, your best action may be to simply let it run its course. If you do this, be sure to keep a close eye on the pimples to make sure they do not become infected or become significantly worse.
Step
4
Medicated shampoos
Your vet may recommend you use a medicated soap or shampoo to bathe the affected areas. Be sure to use a product that is made for use with dogs. It should contain no more than 5 percent benzoyl peroxide.
Step
5
Wet first wash next
Start by using a soft cloth and a bowl of warm water and gently wet the area to be washed. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the cloth and gently wash the area. Use fresh clean water to rinse the shampoo completely away. (Never leave residue as it can be harmful to your dog's skin over time.)
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The Tea Tree Oil Method

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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Bathe weekly
While your pup is dealing with pimples, you should use a good quality shampoo to give him a bath on a weekly basis. There are a number of medicated shampoos to choose from, ask your vet which one he recommends.
Step
2
Trim hair around the pimples
If needed, trim any longer hair around the pimples to make it easier for you to access them. This will make it easier to keep the pimples clean and treat them with the tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural remedy for a number of skin conditions, including acne in both humans and dogs.
Step
3
Choose the right tea tree oil
There are many tea tree oil concentrations on the market, but the only ones safe for use on your pup, are those with a concentration of between 0.1 and 1.1 percent. Many products on the market have much higher concentrations, going as high as 100 percent. Products over 1.1 percent can be deadly to your dog, as these concentrations are highly toxic to him.
Step
4
Apply the tea tree oil
Start by using a warm damp cloth to moisten the skin. The apply a small amount of tea tree oil to the cloth and gently work it into the pimple and surrounding skin. Then use clean warm water to thoroughly rinse the area clean. Dry with a soft towel.
Step
5
Watch for tea tree oil toxicity
Because tea tree oil can be toxic to your pup, you need to keep a close eye on your pup after treating him. Symptoms can range from nausea and vomiting to problems walking, tremors, partial paralysis, or seizures. If your pup develops any of these symptoms, be sure to take him to your vet immediately.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Never use any type of acne treatment meant for use on humans as they can be very toxic to your pup and may cause serious injury or even death.
  • If your dog shows signs of serious acne problems, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet immediately.
  • Any time you use an acne treatment such as shampoo or tea tree oil, be sure to rinse it completely off his body as residue can be hazardous to your pup's skin health.
  • Keep the concentration of benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil below 1 percent. Human products typically contain 5 to 10 percent, which can irritate your dog's skin, cause it to dry out, and make his skin sore. These products can also strip the protective greases and oils from his skin and hair.
  • Regular bathing can help reduce the amount of acne your pup has to deal with.
  • Never squeeze your pup's pimples, this will only cause the condition to spread and it can be painful to your pup. 

Conclusion

Your pup is likely to get acne pimples when he hits his teenage years in much the same way humans do. The only difference is, while we can't stand to be seen with zits, your pup doesn't care about them unless they are infected and causing him pain. Regular bathing is the best way to prevent acne, but if it does become serious, be sure to have your veterinarian give him a thorough examination to make sure it's not something more serious. 

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