Dog Acne – Does Your Dog Have Pimples

Dog Acne

People can have acne, especially while growing up, but can that happen to our canine friends? We’re answering this question and more in today’s article and also going into how acne is diagnosed, treated, and what it is caused by.

Why Do Dogs Get Acne?

There are several causes of canine acne, but some of the most common ones are the following:


Dogs that commonly have allergies are more likely to develop pimples simply because they are merely a complication of any other skin condition.

Your dog could be itchy and might accidentally cause a skin infection by scratching an area time and again. A dog’s paws can carry bacteria, and in some cases, these microorganisms can be quite challenging, such as Staphylococcus spp, which can cause complicated acne and a variety of other skin issues.

Some dogs can develop skin irritation or allergies as a result of being in contact with household products (cleaners), pollen, or even because of the food they eat.


Statistically speaking, some dog breeds are more likely to have acne compared to others. Several examples are Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Great Danes, English Bulldogs, or Boxers.

German Shorthaired Pointers and Doberman Pinschers are two other breeds that tend to have skin problems. Most of these dogs get pimples on their snout or the area around their mouth. Dogs with wrinkles, such as the Shar Pei, can get pimples between the folds of their skin.


As you probably know, humans tend to have problems with acne when they hit puberty.

This means that any dog between the ages of 3 months and 1 year can be more likely to develop acne, especially if there are other predisposing factors, such as poor hygiene or they’re a breed that’s more likely to have this skin issue.

Snout and chin acne can be seen in any dog age, however, so it can affect adults and seniors, too.

Hormonal Changes

Sometimes, canine acne can be the result of significant hormone concentrations in your dog’s blood, which can happen while he or she is growing or as your pup is approaching the heat period.

What we would like to note about this predisposing factor, though, is that not enough studies have been performed. Therefore, it is perhaps the least concerning one compared to the others we’ve described in this post.

Poor Hygiene

If your dog has pimples, it doesn’t mean that he or she is dirty or that you are not taking good care of your pet. But even if you go out of your way to clean your pooch’s food and water bowls and make sure that they don’t sniff on or eat something they aren’t supposed to on a walk in the park, some hygienic mishaps could still happen.

How’s that possible? Well, as you know, dogs sometimes lick their bodies, and depending on what those body areas have come in contact with, they could accidentally pick up bacteria that could lead to pimples.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of controlling this, so you can’t really prevent your dog from grooming themselves. It is also not advised for you to frequently bathe your dog as this could lead to other skin health issues.

How Is Dog Acne Diagnosed?

Acne can be easy to diagnose strictly based on the appearance of your dog’s pimples or where they are located. But sometimes, if your vet prescribes a treatment and it doesn’t seem to do anything, your vet will have to perform a bacterial culture and an antibiogram to find out just which antibiotic works for your dog’s acne.

Before a dog acne diagnosis is made, your veterinarian will also have to perform a differential diagnosis — which can mean looking at the skin on the rest of your dog’s body or even relying on general examinations like a urine or feces exam or a blood test.

How Can Dog Acne Be Treated?

Treatment tends to vary from one animal to the other as canine acne isn’t always caused by the same germ. On top of that, the physical particularities of your dog breed can influence the treatment that your vet prescribes — in Shar Peis, for example, you might have to take each and every fold and clean it using a solution every now and then.

Topical therapy is the most common one being used to treat dog acne right now, but if the germ proves to be resistant even to the disinfectants currently being utilized in veterinary medicine, your pooch might have to take systemic medication such as injectable or oral antibiotics.

If the pimples are infected or the bacterial culture reveals the presence of a particularly difficult microorganism, topical antibiotic ointments along with generalized antibiotic treatment might work.

Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance has become a common problem in animals, too, not just in humans, so your vet will have to do their best to pick the right medication, the one that the bacteria is sensitive to. Make sure you strictly follow the treatment recommended by your vet to prevent the germ from becoming resistant to various antibiotics.

Can You Do Anything to Prevent Canine Acne?

If your dog already has pimples, you have to go out of your way to avoid popping them. Not only might this increase local inflammation, but it could also lead to the germ entering other hair follicles in the same area, so you could effectively be spreading the acne instead of removing it.

Brushing your dog’s fur and using a dry or foam shampoo every now and then can keep your pooch clean. Also, properly hygienizing your dog’s food and water bowls, as well as their toys can prevent them from coming in contact with potentially acne-producing bacteria.

Finally, taking your dog to the vet clinic at least once a year for a check-up can help the veterinarian diagnose any of your dog’s health issues at the right time, so that they are easy to treat.



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