Can Dogs Get Acne?

Home > Dog Wellness > Can Dogs Get Acne?

While there’s many things to reminisce about when it comes to our teenage years (not paying a mortgage anyone?) one of the items we can all agree that won’t be missed is that occasional, embarrassing bout of acne. Those stubborn and unattractive red spots were always bound to “pop” up at the least opportune times. From graduation pictures to homecoming dances, it seemed, at times, as if no amount of scrubbing, washing and painful astringent pads could do the trick.

While many of us grow out of our acne prone skin, is it possible for your canine companion to also be susceptible to this condition?

Can Dogs Get Acne?

YES!

As it turns out, Fido is susceptible to the same type of hormonal zits as humans. While many owners may think their furry nature would prevent their dog from contracting this embarrassing condition, dogs have pores which can become dirty, inflamed and clogged with oil, dirt and debris, just as in humans. Talk about something you wouldn’t want to commiserate with your pooch over.

Does My Dog Have Acne?

So now that you know it’s possible, just how do you go about identifying, and more importantly, providing relief to your dog who may be suffering a pimply predicament? Symptoms of acne in your dog will be similar to that of humans. Red, inflamed and pus-filled bumps will appear on various parts of their body. These zits are usually caused by bacteria. The bacteria infiltrates your dog’s pore’s and clogs up the small spaces, causing irritation and pus to form in an attempt to isolate and eliminate the dirty, foreign invader. Your dog is most susceptible to acne on their chin, where short hairs and proximity to food and moisture create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Not all raised bumps are doggy acne. Your vet will rule out many other potential causes of your dog’s irritation including allergic reactions, bug bites and systemic infections such as mange or other serious conditions. A skin scraping will often help diagnose acne in your dog and differentiate it from other illnesses.

For more information on identification and treatment of your dog’s acne, visit Acne in Dogs .

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Acne?

Some dogs may grow out of acne in time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need treatment while suffering breakouts. Some mild cases of acne may be managed at home. In severe cases, a trip to your local veterinarian may be in order so that prescription strength medicines can be obtained.

For starters, you should keep your dog’s face and chin clean and as dry as possible. In dogs with heavy skin flaps, loose jowls or other lack of airflow to the underside of their jaw, owners may consider doggy bibs or having towels on hand in order to wipe your pup’s face area clean between meals and water breaks.

Medicated wipes may be used to clean and disinfect the chin area and also have drying properties which can help reduce irritation. Topical creams with a low dose peroxide base can also provide relief. In some cases, oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medicines may be needed to treat severe or chronic canine acne outbreaks.

How is Acne Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Just like in people, acne can be severely irritating to your pooch. Common traits of acne in both humans and dogs include:

  • Inflamed, raised bumps

  • Irritation and/or pain

  • Bleeding caused by rupture of zits

  • Typical of adolescent years in both humans and dogs

How is Acne Different in Dogs and Humans?

While both you and Fido may have to endure the occasional breakout, there’s a few differences to keep in mind once the condition crosses species:

  • Unlike in humans, doggie pimples may be caused by allergies to food or other environmental sources

  • Some dogs don’t grow out of acne, while most humans will age out of the embarrassing condition after their hormones have regulated in their adult years

  • Dogs aren’t able to treat their own acne and must rely on humans to help alleviate their symptoms and keep the area clean

Case Study

The classic appearance and progression of acne in your dog will usually begin with your pooch rubbing their face and head on stationary objects such as the couch, floor or trees and bushes outdoors. Since it’s difficult to spot the very beginning stages of acne through your dog’s fine fur, this irritation will indicate that a skin condition is brewing.

Once red and inflamed bumps appear, you should keep the area clean and monitor the site closely for increased infection. If your dog’s acne doesn’t clear up, you and Fido will need to make a quick trip to the local veterinary office where the friendly canine doctor will collect skin scrapings and conduct a thorough exam to rule out conditions with similar symptoms.

After canine acne has been diagnosed, be sure to take a page from your mom’s playbook and follow your pooch’s new skin care regimen faithfully. Do all this and before you know it your dog will be happy and acne-free.