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We were all teenagers once, meaning many of us are unfortunate enough to be familiar with acne. But what about our four-legged friends? Do dogs get pimples?
This blog will show you how to spot dog acne and discuss some of the best treatments and home remedies.
WHAT IS DOG ACNE?
Dog acne occurs when hair follicles get clogged with bacteria, dead skin cells, or oil, forming painful pustules. The build-up of matter may appear as blackheads, red bumps, or whitehead dog pimples.
WHERE DO DOGS GET PIMPLES ON THEIR BODY?
Much like us, dogs can get acne all over their bodies. The following are some of the most common places dogs get pimples:
- Back - Dogs do get pimples on their back. These can be treated like any other zit. However, popping them is not a good option without veterinarian consultation, especially in the case of white head dog pimples. These may be a sign of a sebaceous cyst or, even worse, a mast cell tumor. Signs of irritation on the back may be excessive biting, scratching, and twitching.
- Belly- Although rare, dogs can get pimples on their bellies. If you also notice inflammation, there may be an underlying health issue. These underlying health issues can include Pyoderma (Impetigo), a bacterial skin infection that causes pimples to form on the skin. These raised red abrasions have a pus-filled center and often look like pimples in humans. If you're concerned your dog had Pyoderma, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.
- Ears- Dogs can get pimples on their ears, but acne may be a preferred problem compared to some other more serious ear issues. The outer part of the ear, called the pinna, is highly sensitive to abrasion, hematomas, insects, and even parasites.
- Chin - Your puppy walks up to you to kiss you, but before that tongue laps, you notice a chin riddled with pimples. Canine chin acne is best classified as muzzle folliculitis and furunculosis, or chin, mouth, and nose pimples in layman's terms. Dog chin acne is the most common form of acne seen on dogs, but it usually lasts only a while.
WHY DO DOGS GET THEM?
- Age - Puppies are more likely to get acne when they are 5-8 months old. It is believed that hormones play a role in canine acne, but no scientific evidence supports that hypothesis.
- Breeds/Genetics – Some dog breeds are genetically disposed to acne. These breeds include but are not limited to Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, German Short-Haired Pointers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, Weimaraner, and Mastiffs. Generally, they are breeds that have both short bristly muzzle fur and extra skin folds.
- Environmental Allergies – Like people, not all dogs react to allergies in the same way. Some dogs get overwhelmed when a fresh batch of pollen gets blown their way. Others may not have an allergic reaction at all. Environmental allergies can include dust, grass, mites, molds, pollens from trees, and weeds. Additionally, canines can get pimples from contact allergies or irritations from plastics in food bowls or digging outside.
- Food Allergies – If a person with a peanut allergy eats peanuts, they can have a severe reaction, which in some cases can lead to anaphylaxis. Unfortunately, the same is true for dogs. Skin allergies due to foods are genetic. Some dogs that have food allergies are allergic to more than one food. Common types of food that may cause allergies are beef, chicken, dairy, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, rabbit, soy, and wheat.
- Friction/Repetitive Movement – Friction agitates the hair follicles, increasing the likelihood of inflammation. That, in turn, can then prompt the formation of dog pimples.
- Poor Hygiene – Poor hygiene causes a build-up of bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil that leads to clogged follicles. A clean, well-groomed dog will have less acne. Cleaning coats and skin removes pore-clogging debris that causes acne in dogs. It is a good practice to start bathing puppies early, so they learn to be calm and relaxed while getting the necessary cracks and crevices cleaned.
- Trauma - Canine acne may be triggered by trauma to the skin of the chin or muzzle. Upon impact, hairs break off near the skin's surface, leading to inflammation within the hair follicle and eventual rupturing the hair follicle.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Dog acne usually consists of elevated brown, red, or white bumps surrounded by irritated skin. It can also look like little black spots known as blackheads (also known as open comedones; closed comedones are whiteheads.) In extreme cases, acne can swell up into boils or cysts.
- Dog Chin Acne
- Dog Back Acne
- Dog Belly Acne
- Dog Ear Acne
Your vet will usually recommend a topical treatment to fix dog acne. In some cases, more extreme measures can be taken, like oral medications or steroid injections. Use only products recommended by your veterinarian. During your vet visit, they may prescribe you one of the following to treat acne:
- Antibiotics- Cephalexin for dogs
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Companion Laser Therapy
- Oral Steroids- Prednisone
- Special Shampoos
DOG ACNE HOME REMEDIES
Treating canine acne at home is fine if it is a mild case. If it is not a mild case, consult a veterinarian immediately. You may be able to treat dog acne at home using these products:
- Coconut Oil – Coconut Oil – Applying coconut oil to your dog's coat and skin will moisturize and can help reduce inflammation. We make a CBD balm for dogs containing fractured coconut oil combined with CBD and other all-natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients. CBD oil for dog acne can be used as a topical solution as well.
- Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe vera gel works for humans with skin irritation, and the same is true for dogs. If you have a tough time applying Aloe Vera, shampoos containing the wonder plant may allow for easier application.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – The affordability and accessibility of apple cider vinegar make it a magnificent home remedy for dog acne. Always dilute apple cider vinegar with water, or the acidity may hurt your dog.
- Cleaning Muzzle – One of the simplest ways to keep your dog acne-free is to wash its muzzle. When washing a dog's face, use warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. It is important to dry your dog after cleaning as moisture is a haven for bacteria, and your dog's skinfold could act as a natural moisture dam. The mouth can be full of bacteria that can transfer directly to the snout and muzzle, causing acne.
Remember to consult your veterinarian before applying any home remedies for dog acne.
If your dog's acne is related to aging, food allergies, or trauma, then you might want to consider CBD. Research has shown it is great for older dogs and that it can even have a calming effect.