Canine acne may be ugly, causing your pooch to have low self-esteem, but it’s essentially a benign, self-limiting problem that, as with humans, is an adolescent issue, by and large. This condition can show up right about the time your dog enters puberty—at approximately 5–8 months of age. Most often, the condition improves without face wash or pimple cream by the time yourdog reaches his first birthday.
Red bumps and blackheads are often found on the chin and lips of young dogs. Sometimes, they can become infected and filled with pus, causing your pup to seek relief by scratching her face against things like the beige dining room rug or your favorite recliner, leaving an unsightly stain.
Short–coated dogs such as boxers, bulldogs and rottweilers tend to be stricken with acne more often than other breeds. Why do some dogs get acne while others don’t? No one really knows. As with people, genetics, hormones, and trauma may play a heavy hand in why some dogs develop a “pizza face.”
While acne is more of an eyesore than anything else, there are other diseases that can look similar and should be ruled out by your veterinarian. Two of the most common conditions are a noncontagious type of mange called demodicosis, and a fungal infection called ringworm.
Once your veterinarian has diagnosed your best friend with acne, they will prescribe a canine-specific acne treatment that is safe for your dog—similar to what people use for acne, such as benzoyl peroxide, but at a much lower concentration.
Depending on the cause of your dog’s acne, your veterinarian may recommend a change of diet, removing any materials that may continue to cause irritation. They also might recommend changing your pet’s bowls from plastic to metal or porcelain, and cleaning them daily.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.