Can dogs get pimples? Yes, acne pimples and whiteheads are not a reserve for teenage girls and boys; dogs can as well get them. On a good note though, dog pimples stay around for just a short while. Continue reading to learn more about causes, symptoms, and treatments for pimples on dog’s skin. We have as well listed other dermal conditions that can be easily be confused with dog acne.
Dog Pimples on Chin, Lip, Snout, Back, Belly, and Genital Area – What Are They?
- Dog Pimples on Chin, Lip, Snout, Back, Belly, and Genital Area – What Are They?
- What Causes Dog Pimples (Dog Acne)
- Other Conditions That May Cause Pimple-Like Bumps on Dogs Skin
- Demodicosis (Demodectic Mange)
- Puppy Strangles (Juvenile cellulitis)
- Dog Pimple Pictures
- Dog Pimples Treatment
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Proper hygiene
- Pug Pimples
Dog pimples (or canine pimples if you like) are often indicative of dog acne, a common inflammatory, benign, a non-cancerous skin condition that is associated with dog puberty.
When caused by acne, dog pimples most commonly affect the head (occurring on dog’s chin, lips, and muzzle) and the chest.
The skin around the genital area (including the vulva, anus, and the part below the tail) may as well be affected by dog pimples and so can the flank region (the area on the side of the dog lying between the end of the chest and the hind leg).
The flank is what people actually refer to most of the time when they express concern about dog pimples on dog’s stomach, belly, or tummy.
Acne bumps hardly develop on dog’s back (i.e. the real back and the loin areas).
Dog pimples (as in the sense of true pimples) are not the only bumps associated with acne in dogs. The condition may as well be characterized by whiteheads and blackheads and in case of severe irritation, there may be some bleeding and pus discharge from the bumps.
Dog pimples (and other lesions associated with dog acne such as whiteheads and blackheads) usually begins forming at puberty, that is between 5 and 8 months of age, hence the common name dog puberty pimples. It is for this reason that some people also refer to dog pimples as puppy pimples. Acne-induced pimples on dog’s skin are typically short-lived, hardly extending beyond one year of age.
Although rare, dogs aged over 1 year may as well suffer from acne pimples.
Dog pimples (usually red bumps) may be accompanied by other symptoms and signs that are characteristic of dog acne including:
- Popped pimples
- Scars (just like human acne, dog acne can cause scarring)
- Intense itching, evidenced by scratching and rubbing against surfaces e.g. carpets, furniture, etc.
- Pain when the pimples and other lesions are touched
- Pus accumulation and discharge in the lesions due to bacterial infection
Dog breeds that have less dense coats e.g. Boxers, Rottweilers and Bulldogs are more susceptible to dog acne.
What Causes Dog Pimples (Dog Acne)
Puberty is the most obvious cause of dog pimples. Dog acne attributed to puberty will appear regardless of what you do. As we have already mentioned, breeds such as bulldogs, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, boxers, and Great Danes are at higher risk of acne pimples.
It is thought that dog acne occurs when the hair follicles in a dog’s skin become plugged or irritated. When that happens, bacteria often find a fertile ground on which to multiply. This results in inflammation of the surrounding tissues, culminating in red bumps in the affected hair follicles (and sometimes whiteheads, and blackheads).
Dog pimples are often filled with pus and while mild cases of dog acne are hardly disruptive to dog’s routine, severe cases can be very painful and itchy, causing the affected dog significant discomfort.
According to Cesarsway, factors such as hormonal changes, bacterial infection, and poor hygiene can also trigger dog acne, especially in later stages of life.
Other Conditions That May Cause Pimple-Like Bumps on Dogs Skin
We have discussed dog pimples in the context of dog acne, but these tiny red bumps may be confused for other skin conditions, including:
Demodicosis (Demodectic Mange)
This refers to a type of mange (mite infection) caused by the Demodex mite. The condition begins when the population of the mites in hair follicles and skin becomes so huge that causes various complications including hair loss, skin bumps and lesions, genetic disorders, and immune system related complications.
Demodicosis can affect any part of the body, particularly the face, legs, and trunk, or appear all over the body. If it appears all over the body, it is usually associated with symptoms such as hair loss, reddened skin, and scaly patches on the skin.
To rule out Demodicosis, your vet will scarp some tissues from the areas of the skin affected by “dog pimples” and examine them under the microscope. Demodicosis-induced “dog pimples” (and other symptoms) that cover a small area resolve on their own in most cases but generalized cases that cover larger areas or the entire body may necessitate treatment with lime sulfur dips.
According to the PetMD, ringworm infestation looks like an acne breakout during its early stages. Ringworm in dogs is usually caused by infections involving three fungi, namely, Trichophyton mentagrophytes Microsporum canis, and Microsporum gypsum. The incidence of each fungus varies according to your geographical location.
To diagnose the condition, hair samples are usually collected for observation under a microscope. Skin clippings may also be obtained for fungal culture. Treatment usually involves a prescription of antifungal medications.
Puppy Strangles (Juvenile cellulitis)
Puppy strangles may sometimes be confused for dog pimples. Typically afflicting puppies between 3 and 4 months of age, this condition hardly affects adult dogs. It most commonly affects the outer ear, face, and the salivary lymph nodes and tends to affect Gordon setters, Dachshunds, and Golden retrievers more.
Puppy strangles is associated with swollen eyelids and depression with the dog not eating. Skin biopsy is usually needed for diagnosis after which appropriate treatment is prescribed – usually involving corticosteroids, antibiotics, and sometimes chemotherapy.
Allergic reaction to new foods, allergens such as poison ivy etc. can also trigger bumps on the skin that resemble dog pimples. Your vet may recommend a change of diet. Getting rid of any potential irritants and allergens in your dog’s environment may also help.
Dog Pimple Pictures
Enough said about dog pimples. Let us now list a pair of images to give you a picture (pun intended) of what canine pimples look like. If you have some more dog pimple pictures that you may want to share with the other readers, feel free to send them to us:
Dog Pimples Treatment
Most cases of dog acne resolve on their own by the time your puppy hits her first birthday, even without treatment. It is, however, possible that the problem keeps recurring in numerous short episodes before it finally gets cured. If necessary dog pimples treatment usually relies on the use of topical medications. Your vet will determine the best treatment option for your dog.
Below are some of the most common treatments for dog pimples (dog acne):
Topical benzoyl peroxide: For dog pimples that occur on the face, treatment usually involves regular application of benzoyl peroxide cleanser. Because chin and lips (the common problem areas on the face) are sensitive, weak benzoyl peroxide gels is typically used.
NB: Human acne products containing benzoyl peroxide are not recommended for dog pimples as they are usually stronger.
Benzoyl peroxide containing shampoos can also be used to get rid of pimples on dogs skin. Such products usually require consistent use twice a week over a period of time.
Topical application of antibiotics is the preferred choice for dog pimples. It helps to reduce the risk and extent of infection, but for severe cases, antibiotic pills may be prescribed.
Steroids may also be prescribed (topical application) to curb the swelling and inflammation associated with dog pimples.
According to Cesarsway, keeping your canine friend clean can also help to get rid of pimples on dog’s skin. The site recommends bathing your dog once a week if possible, and if not, try washing your dog a few times each month. Brushing your dog’s teeth is also of paramount importance as poor dental hygiene is often to blame for dog pimples that occur on and around the mouth.
Pug pimples are usually attributed to a skin condition known as Pyoderma. The underlying cause of pyoderma is typically a bacterial infection. The condition is usually characterized by a breakout of red bumps (and sometimes pus-filled bumps or blood-filled blisters), or a rash.
Crusty dry skin also develops in the affected region of the skin. This may be accompanied by weight gain, extreme thirst, and hair loss. In male dogs, there may be signs of feminization.
Pug pimples due to pyoderma appear in the paws (between the toes), on the lips, and along the folds of the face. Treatment of the condition usually involves disinfecting with antiseptic cleansers, antibiotics, medicated shampoos, and whirlpool baths. Change of diet may also be necessary. Your vet will advise you accordingly.
Do you have a question about dog pimples? Feel free to ask below.