Getting Pimples in Dogs

Why is my dog getting pimples?

What are Getting Pimples?

If your dog has small nodules or swellings on the face, it is probably a simple case of canine acne or pimples. Sometimes they may be filled with fluid (like human pimples) or they may even become ulcers if your dog scratches at them. However, they are usually not a sign of anything serious unless a secondary infection occurs. The cause is usually something innocent such as clogged hair follicles or some type of dermatitis. The most common causes include:

  • Hereditary
  • Dermatitis
  • Clogged or inflamed hair follicle
  • Trauma
  • Infection (pyoderma)
  • Parasites

However, in some cases, pimples may be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. If your dog has a case of pimples that do not go away within a few days or if he has other symptoms, you should call your veterinary care provider for an appointment.

Why Getting Pimples Occurs in Dogs


Certain breeds are more susceptible to pimples, which include:

  • Boxer
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Bulldog
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Rottweiler
  • Weimaraner
  • Trauma

Any kind of trauma to the skin can create a pimple or skin lesion. This could be from a scratch or small injury that may have broken the skin a little bit. A traumatic pimple may also be caused by your dog licking or chewing in a certain area for whatever reason. This may be caused by dry itchy skin, insect bites, or it may even be a behavioral problem. You should call your veterinarian if it continues to be an issue or if it gets worse.  


There are several kinds of dermatitis that cause different symptoms like pimples, scaling, and hair loss. Some of these types include:

  • Allergic dermatitis is usually caused by a food allergy and may include gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Atopic dermatitis affects mostly West Highland White Terriers, Shih Tzus, Scottish Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Labrador Retrievers, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, and Chinese Shar-Peis
  • Contact dermatitis is caused by an allergy to something your dog has come into contact with like plants or shampoos
  • Insect bite dermatitis may be caused by bites from fleas, chiggers, mites, or any other insect

Clogged or Inflamed Hair Follicle

This is a condition that may be hereditary is some short-haired dogs but it has been reported in all types of dogs as it is very common.

Infection (Pyoderma)

Pyoderma means “pus in the skin” which may be caused by infection, inflammation, neoplasia, and any other accumulation of pus under the skin. However, it is usually caused by a bacterial infection of the skin, often secondary to other skin conditions that have become infected.


There are many parasites that can attack your dog’s skin. Some of these include mites, ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, scabies, and worms. Any of these can cause pimples or other lesions that look like pimples.

What to do if your Dog is Getting Pimples

If your dog’s pimples are caused by genetics, you do not need to take him to the veterinarian. However, there is no way to be sure that these pimples are hereditary or otherwise, so you may want to call the veterinarian if there are any other symptoms or if they begin to look irritated. Dermatitis, on the other hand, should be evaluated by a veterinarian for treatment, especially if it is causing your dog to be uncomfortable.

Clogged or inflamed follicles only need to be viewed by a veterinarian if they are severe or become ulcerous. Pimples from trauma should be checked by a professional because your dog may be causing damage to his own skin. Infection and parasites are both conditions that need to be treated by a veterinary care provider as well.

Prevention of Getting Pimples

There is nothing you can do to prevent hereditary pimples but they are not serious, so you should not worry about them unless they spread or have symptoms of infection. Dermatitis and hair follicle issues can sometimes be prevented by using hypoallergenic food, shampoos, and by keeping your dog’s skin clean and dry.

Traumatic pimples cannot usually be prevented but you can lessen the chances of your dog getting hurt by keeping your house and yard dog-proof. Infections can be prevented by making sure your dog sees a veterinarian if he has any kind of skin condition that may cause infections. The veterinarian may suggest a protective collar to keep your dog from licking and biting at the area. Most parasites are preventable with flea and tick treatment recommended by your veterinarian. Other pests that bother your dog may be repelled by spraying your yard with an insect spray but make sure your dog is not allowed outside until it is completely dry. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the safest spray for your yard if you are not sure what to use.

Cost of Getting Pimples

Depending on the cause of your dog’s pimples, the cost can range up to $2,500. Hereditary pimples will have no expense, while some types of dermatitis can be as much as $1,200 for tests and treatments. Flea infestations can be cleared up for less than $100, traumatic pimples and some hair follicle problems may be up to a few hundred dollars to treat. Infections can be costly and with complications, can run up to $2,500.

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Getting Pimples Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Indian pariah




2 Years


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Red Pimples , Itching.
sir I have vaccinated my dog with 7in 1 vaccine before 48 hours and my dog is having pimples on his lips and face he is scratching them. they are red coloured pimples. throtal skin is becoming reddish and he is scratching the skin and it is bleeds. is this the reaction of 7in 1 vaccine or because of teenager/ hormonal change.. it is normal or should I have to worry about it . can it be serious disorder. sir in our city the veterinary service is not good so can you plz help me to determine it..what is the difference between a tumor and red pimple plz help me wag walking plz.

March 26, 2018

0 Recommendations

It sounds like Dimpa has had a severe reaction to the vaccine and you should discuss this with your Veterinarian; you can try to give Dimpa some Benadryl at 1mg/lb or 2mg/kg up to three times per day to help with any reaction, but a visit to a Veterinarian is strongly recommended. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 26, 2018

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