Can Dogs Get Pimples and Acne? How Do You Treat It?

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: October 18, 2022
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You wake up with a surprise on your nose. Leaning over the sink, you see that you have a red bump on your nose. That’s not a great start to a morning! However, it’s not the end of the world. You might look down at your pup and wonder if they can get it too. Maybe you noticed something on them that looked like what was on your nose. 

Either way, dogs can have acne like humans can, but what causes it? The same factors that cause acne in humans—excess greasy sebum and dead skin cells—combine to cause the hair follicles to clog and produce raised red bumps, blackheads, or whiteheads—also cause acne in dogs. So what can you do for your dog? When should you worry about your pup’s bumps? Keep reading to learn all about dog acne and more.

What Causes Dog Pimples?

Dog acne or pimples

Dogs can get acne as they approach puberty.


Similar to humans, dogs can get acne as they approach puberty. Dog acne is more likely to arise between the ages of five and eight months when a dog is going through puberty, and it will typically go away on its own by the time the dog is a year old. 

It affects the lips, chins, and muzzles most frequently, though it can also occur elsewhere on the body. Dog owners must know the symptoms and when to seek veterinary care because cases can range from mild to severe. Discover the potential causes and various dog treatment choices by reading on.


All dog breeds can have dog acne, although some are more prone to it than others. These are typically breeds with short coats, wrinkled skin, or deep creases in the skin. The breeds most susceptible to it include:

Poor Hygiene

Most Expensive Dog Breeds: Dogo Argentino

As a dog owner, it is important to maintain your dog’s hygiene.


Hygiene is another frequently occurring factor in dog acne. As a dog owner, it’s imperative to maintain your dog’s hygiene. Hygiene might be easily compromised for breeds with more skin folds or wrinkles around their faces. Breeds with short, bristly muzzle hair are likewise more vulnerable. 

Breeds like bulldogs with additional skin folds are more susceptible to acne. This is because folds and crevices provide an ideal environment for dirt and bacteria growth. These breeds are particularly prone to bacterial skin infection, and their short, coarse fur can aggravate skin conditions in contaminated or dirty regions. 

Remember that hygiene doesn’t just pertain to your dog’s physical appearance. Bacteria that wind up on your dog’s face can breed in beds, toys, and bowls. Your dog might enjoy playing with their soiled, unpleasant toys, but their pores certainly do not.

Broken Hair Follicles

Many canine acne cases are thought to be brought on by trauma to the chin or muzzle’s skin. A hair follicle may get inflamed and eventually rupture due to this trauma, resulting in hairs breaking off close to the skin’s surface. 

The hair follicle contents are expelled into the skin around it when it ruptures — further skin inflammation results from the surrounding tissues identifying the contents of the hair follicles as foreign. Although the inflammation brought on by canine acne is frequently initially sterile (not infected), bacteria can easily invade this injured skin and bring on infections.

Dog Allergies

An allergic reaction is another underlying factor that contributes to dog acne. Like you, your dog may have allergies to several substances. They could be allergic to food, have contact allergies, or be allergic to environmental things. Proteins like chicken or beef bring on most food allergies, but like with people, numerous other things might make your dog allergic to something.


Dog Food for Liver Disease

There are many choices for treating canine acne.

©Roger costa morera/

Due to the presence of red lumps or whiteheads, dog acne is quite simple to identify by sight alone. It usually doesn’t hurt and will go away with time, so to owners, it’s more of a cosmetic problem; however, if it hurts their dog, you should take them to the vet. Your veterinarian will first rule out any alternate causes before making a diagnosis. Typically, samples are taken to determine the condition’s causes and ensure a bigger issue isn’t to blame.


Fortunately, there are a ton of choices for treating canine acne. Shampoos that are antibacterial and medicinal are available at your neighborhood pet store. These typically contain Aloe Vera, which is beneficial for healing skin issues and is frequently present in human acne skin lotions. 

It would be best if you exclusively used dog-specific remedies because human shampoos and lotions may dry up their sensitive skin, and they may have unfavorable reactions in certain situations. 

Fight the Urge to Pop Them

You may have heard the advice not to pop pimples; the same is true for your dog’s pimples. Popping a zit is a bad acne treatment. It can exacerbate the irritation already present in the acne-affected area, leading to clogged sebaceous glands and more breakouts. 

Instead of popping that zit, be a good dog owner and keep your dog and their toys as clean as possible. You should keep up with your doggie’s dental hygiene, change out his plastic bowls, and watch out for signs that your pup may be allergic to something in his environment.


how do dogs get parvo

Your dog should be taken to the doctor if the acne appears to be worsening.

©Olya Maximenko/

Okay, so now that you know your dog can have acne, you know what to expect. Puppies will likely outgrow this, and eliminating the causes will help prevent further breakouts. Some breeds of doggies are more likely to get acne, meaning more care is needed to keep them clean. Cleaning food bowls, skin folds, and teeth will also help. 

You should take your dog to the doctor if the acne on your dog appears to be worsening or if you suspect an infection may be starting. To help clear up the acne, your veterinarian may recommend topical treatments like ointments, oral drugs, or medicated baths. If you are relieved to know that dogs can have acne and that it doesn’t mean anything horrible, share this post! Other dog owners would like to know what can be expected in their pups. 

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Prystai/

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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