Many people are surprised to find out that their dog can suffer from acne. Canine acne is actually a relatively common condition. Most dogs only experience minor symptoms, but it’s possible for severe infections to develop. Any dog can be affected by acne, although most no longer have a problem with it after turning one year old.
Acne in dogs occurs because of excess production of sebum. Normally, the substance helps keep the skin hydrated. Too much of it can cause the acne to develop. This can be the result of poor grooming habits or a hormone imbalance of some sort. It may also be caused by skin infections, allergies, or excess stress.
Canine acne causes blackheads to develop on various parts of your dog’s body. The lips and chin are most often affected. Certain areas of the skin may also swell and eventually turn into scabs. This in itself isn’t much of a concern, but it may lead to a bacterial infection of the skin which will cause a lot of itching. You’ll notice that your dog will constantly scratch the affected area.
It’s quite easy for the veterinarian to diagnose acne in dogs. A simple look at the blackheads should be sufficient to tell what the problem is. However, some vets elect to perform a skin biopsy to be on the safe side. Your dog will need to be under anesthesia or sedation in order for a biopsy to be performed though.
Unfortunately, canine acne can’t really be cured, but it can successfully be managed. The underlying cause will need to be determined however. Food allergies may be the problem, so your dog’s diet will need to be ruled out.
To help treat acne in dogs, you can also use anti-seborrheic shampoos and soaps. This will dramatically reduce the presence of sebum on the skin. It’s also important that you ensure your dog is being groomed properly.
More severe cases of dog acne will require medication. Bacterial infections can easily become a problem, so antibiotics may need to be taken for up to one month. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help keep your dog from scratching as much. In some cases, your dog will need topical steroids.