Blackheads on Dogs

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You share so much with your dog. You might even share occasional breakouts of blackheads and zits. But you can't share your pimple treatment, even though some treatments for canine acne are similar to human products. Human products are too strong for him. Take him to the vet for a checkup if acne rears its ugly black heads, because occasionally they're a symptom of an underlying ailment. And avoid popping puppy pimples.

Canine Acne

Canine acne often appears during a dog's adolescence, much as it does with teenagers. The same hormonal swings cause oil glands to plug up, producing blackheads. Spaying or neutering your dog can eliminates hormone-related acne. However, some blackheads result from other skin issues. Because a layperson might not be able to tell the difference between ordinary blackheads and those caused by a disease, you should always take Fido to the vet if you see acnelike bumps.


For ordinary blackheads, some of the treatments administered to dogs are similar to those used by people. Wash the affected area with mild soap and water every day. Your vet might recommend a benzoyl peroxide solution for your dog in lesser strength than the human version. She might prescribe antibiotics to fight infection, or steroids in severe cases.


Infected hair follicles might appear similar to canine acne. Folliculitis usually appears in a dog's armpits, abdomen or genital area. Some breeds are especially susceptible. Schnauzers may develop blackheads resulting from folliculitis on their backs. While mild cases respond to the same treatment as for canine acne, severe cases are another story. These cases might require at least two months of antibiotic treatment, along with special baths and clipping of affected areas.


Demodetic mange, caused by mites in your dog's skin, can resemble canine acne, although other symptoms appear. Dogs with demodetic mange lose hair and the skin turns red. In addition to blackheads, pus-filled pimples also appear, along with skin crusting and scaling. The dog may itch constantly. Your vet makes a diagnosis by taking a skin scraping and looking for demodex mites under the microscope. Treatment includes long-term antibiotics to clear deeply infected skin, lime sulfur or other dips to kill mites, and dewormers such as ivermectin. Your dog might already be on a monthly heartworm preventative medicine that includes a miticide.