No one likes to see a pimple. They look unpleasant most tend to feel the same way. If you love your dog, of course, you don’t want to see a pimple on him or her. You may, however, wonder if you really have to worry about your dog having acne.
It might come as a surprise that your dog might be just as apt to get canine acne as you might have been. It’s not necessarily a serious problem, but it is something for which you might want to seek treatment. Before you get scared, though, you should take some time to read up a little about dog pimples.
What Are Dog Pimples?
Dogs get pimples for the same reasons as humans. While there are some stark differences between human and dog skin, one thing’s definitely the same – both dogs and humans have sebaceous glands that are located in their hair follicles. These glands are vital for keeping a dog’s hair healthy and skin soft, but they have a startling tendency to get clogged.
So, what happens when a dog’s sebaceous glands get clogged? Simply put, they back up. Once they back up, they raise up and they become what almost anyone can identify as a pimple. These pimples can take many different shapes and forms, but they tend to center around a few areas – the dog’s muzzle, genitals, and chest. Much like human pimples, though, your dog can sometimes get pimples that pop up in strange places.
As a note, it can be very hard to tell the difference between a small canine acne outbreak and a more serious infection. As such, you’ll want to have your vet check out your dog’s zits the first time that they show up. As you might imagine, this is a situation in which it’s much better to be safe than to be sorry.
Why Dogs Get Pimples
There are plenty of different reasons why your dog might suddenly start getting pimples. Much like humans, there are several causes of why the sebaceous glands might get backed up. Knowing what they are can help you to avoid future outbreaks.
The big one that you cannot avoid is age. If your dog is hitting his or her adolescence, he or she is going to experience the same kind of breakouts that you experienced as a teen. The bad news is that any dog who has breakouts young is probably going to end up having them as he or she ages.
Bad hygiene is another one of those problems that can cause zits in both humans and dogs. If your dog isn’t getting bathed regularly, there’s a good chance that his or her glands are going to get clogged – in which case you’ll unfortunately have to express your dog’s anal glands or take them to the vet to have it done for you. Oddly enough, even bad dental hygiene can cause your dog to break out, so make sure that your pet gets dog dental chews from time to time so that he or she can work to prevent his or her own acne.
Changes in your dog’s hormones can also cause zits. If you have a female dog, you might see that she starts to develop zits when she goes into heat – yet another good reason to consider getting her spayed. You might also see your dog developing zits if he or she is wearing a collar or a dog harness that’s the wrong size, as the friction from wearing these articles is known to cause skin problems.
Finally, you might just have a dog that’s more prone to zits than others. There’s really no reason why some dogs might get zits while others do not, but it does happen. If you have a dog who frequently breaks out, you’ll want to do what you can to eliminate his or her other risk factors to reduce the appearance of pimples.
Do Some Breeds Get Pimples More Often?
Oddly enough, there really are some dog breeds who are just more likely to get pimples than other dogs. The breeds that are more pimple-prone tend to encompass a wide range, but it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for zits early on.
So, which breeds get more pimples? They include:
- English Bulldogs
- Great Danes
The one thing that probably units these disparate breeds is that they all have short hair. As such, you should probably be on the lookout for acne in any mutts who likewise have short hair. It’s not a given, of course, but there’s a better chance of acne in their hair follicle than you might imagine.
Should You Worry About Dog Acne?
In most cases, you won’t need to worry about acne in dogs. You do, however, need to be on the lookout for bacterial infections. If your dog has open sores of any kind – including popped zits – there’s a better chance of infections. If you can keep your dog clean, though, this shouldn’t be much of a worry.
Your dog could, in theory, also get scars from bad canine acne. This is more of an aesthetic issue than anything else, though, so don’t worry about this if your dog isn’t a show dog. If you are really worried that the zits might be something other than a simple surface issue, though, consider taking your dog to the vet and have him or she checked out.
Treating Canine Acne
Like human acne, dog acne tends to clear up. If you’re looking at a tough or long-lasting case, though, you might want to look into certain treatments for help. Most dog owners can simply use medicated shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide or similar compounds to help clear up any skin problems, but there are also some vet-prescribed solutions that can help. These range from gels and creams that are very similar to human medications to antibiotics and steroids. The latter are rarely prescribed but might end up being necessary if your dog seems to have an infection.
Finally, make sure that you don’t pop your dog’s zits. He or she isn’t going to like the sensation and you’re going to make it more likely that your dog can get an infection. If you see a zit, just let it wither or pop on its own in time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does a pimple look like on a dog?
Pimples look largely the same as they do in humans. If you notice a new growth that looks like a zit, there’s a good chance that your dog has a new pimple.
2. Can a dog get white pimples?
Yes, they can. Dog pimples are formed in the same way as human pimples, so you can expect all of the same presentations.
3. Can a dog get pus pimples?
They can. Dogs get pimples just like humans, so they also get pus in those pimples in the same way as humans.
4. What if my dog has a pimple?
For the most part, you just need to leave it alone. If you are concerned that it’s something more serious than a pimple, you should see your vet see if your dog needs any kind of medical care.