Spots on your dog? It might be Pyoderma

Medically reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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Are you noticing red pus-filled spots on your dog's skin? Do they seem to grow every day? If they do, your dog may have a case of Pyoderma, which, without veterinary attention, may be fatal.

This blog examines the causes, symptoms, treatments, and home remedies for Pyoderma in dogs.


Pyoderma is a word used to describe bacterial skin infections where pus is involved. Folliculitis is a condition where a hair follicle has become inflamed.

Pyoderma Folliculitis is when a bacterial infection involving pus has formed in an inflamed hair follicle.


  • Allergies – Environmental and food allergies can cause skin problems which can lead to Pyoderma.
  • Contact – Dogs can pass an infection on through biting, playing, mating, mouthing, or their urine.
  • Chemotherapy or steroids – The side effects of chemotherapy can lead to bacterial issues of the skin.
  • Foreign object in the skin – Objects stuck in the skin can cause inflammation leading to infection.
  • Gastrointestinal problems – Dogs with gastrointestinal issues can be predisposed to skin problems, including Pyoderma.
  • Immune System – Dogs with weak immune systems are more likely to suffer from bacterial infections.
  • Lumps - Lumps and bumps are very common in older dogs, and the good news is that they can be benign. Lumps can cut off blood flow to the skin, making infections more likely.

    Your veterinarian should examine all skin lumps in a dog to determine if any are malignant.
  • Parasites – Parasites, including fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, can contribute to Pyoderma in dogs.
  • Poor nutrition – Malnutrition forces resources to vital organs, leaving skin and coat quality without the necessary nutrients to remain healthy.
  • Staph Infection – This is an inflammatory skin condition caused by a group of bacteria called Staphylococcus. These are opportunistic pathogens, meaning, if the skin is healthy, they are generally not an issue. On the other hand, if the skin is inflamed, Staph can become a serious problem.
  • Trauma or wounds – These can get infected with bacteria leading to Pyoderma.
  • Water - Dogs may contract an infection through drinking contaminated or stagnant water .


If your dog is suffering from Pyoderma, these are some of the symptoms you may encounter:

  • Blood or pus on the skin
  • Crusting
  • Discharge from the skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Flaky or crusty skin
  • Foul odor from the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Lesions or pustules
  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Scaling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Swelling
  • Ulcerated skin
  • White filled pustules
  • Yellow papules


Treatment plans will depend on your dog's individual needs. Some dogs require antibiotics, medications to help with itching, medicated shampoos, topical remedies, or flea deterrents.

As Pyoderma can be fatal if left untreated, it is highly recommended that you consult your veterinarian.

Antibiotics for Pyoderma in dogs

Antibiotics for Pyoderma in dogs According to VCA Hospitals, the use of antibiotics is dependent on the severity of the case. Some antibiotics will be administered for three to four weeks, and in some cases, can stretch out to eight to twelve weeks.

Antibiotics typically used to treat Pyoderma are amoxicillin, cephalexin, and clindamycin. At the same time, more resistant bacteria may end up needing a drug such as enrofloxacin.


Here are some popular home remedies for Pyoderma in dogs. If you notice early symptoms of skin infection, you may be able to use home remedies.

However, Pyoderma in dogs can be very serious, so make sure you consult your veterinarian first.

  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV)- The acidity in the vinegar assists the balance of pH in the skin. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties may help resolve skin infections naturally. The best way to apply it is through a bath that is diluted with water. Negative side effects of ACV can include eye burn, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation if swallowed.
  • Coconut Oil - Coconut Oil's antibacterial properties and its natural moisturizing properties make coconut oil make it great for some skin irritation. Unfortunately, that may not be the case with Pyoderma, as oils create damp conditions, which help yeast and bacteria thrive and spread.
  • CBD Oil - CBD applied topically interacts with endocannabinoid receptors located in your dogs skin. Our topical CBD Soothing balm helps maintain healthy skin thanks to a myriad of beneficial natural ingredients which work in unison with CBD.


  • Surface Pyoderma in Dogs- According to Dechra Pharmaceuticals, in surface Pyoderma, infection is confined to the outer layers of the skin. Surface infections include Hot Spots and Skin Fold Pyoderma. Topicals are usually prescribed as a treatment of choice.
  • Superficial pyoderma- A bacterial infection found in the upper layers of the skin and hair follicle, and one of the most common problems that veterinarians encounter. This type of Pyoderma is almost always caused by skin inflammation or irritation.
  • Deep Pyoderma in Dogs- A skin infection that starts in the hair follicle leading to the rupture of the follicle and the development of abscesses and boils. Most often occurs when allergies, autoimmune issues, and trauma, impact the body.


Typically, most forms of Pyoderma are not contagious to humans. Still, if your dog has scabies, fleas, or ticks, they can be passed on to you or another dog.

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