Just like humans, dogs might develop acne, too. Acne in dogs usually occurs during your buddy’s puberty, typically between five and eight months of age. Typically, acne will naturally go away when he reaches one year of age, at the time of his adulthood. Unlike humans, acne does not make your dog self-conscious. However, some dog acne may cause pain and sensitivity, and may sometimes re-occur. Here is a brief discussion of its possible causes, symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and the treatments available.
Different causes of dog acne
Dogs develop acne pretty much the same way as humans do. When hair follicles became obstructed with dead skin, debris, dirt, or oil, they become irritated and inflamed, which may then result in acne. Although most dog breeds may develop acne, dogs with shorter coats, such as Rottweilers, Boxers, Doberman pinschers and Great Danes are more prone to this skin condition.
Causes of dog acnes may vary. It can be a result of an allergic reaction to food or any other product. It can also be a result of a dog’s hormonal changes. Poor hygiene also allows dead skin debris, bacteria and dirt to accumulate within hair follicles, making it among the most common causes of acne.
Diagnosing dog acnes
Acnes in dogs are usually manifested by blackheads or whiteheads, red bumps, swelling, and pus, especially if infection is present. Because acne may sometimes be itchy and painful, you may find your dog scratching his face onto the carpet for relief. However, dog acne does not only affect the face, it may also be seen along the lips and the chin, and can also form across your buddy’s chest and genital area.
In trying to rule out the possibility of other skin conditions other than acne, a veterinarian may have to take a look at your dog’s age and breed. Sometimes, a sample would have to be obtained to make sure that your dog is not suffering from any acne-like disease, such as puppy strangles, demodicosis, and ringworm. By getting your dog tested for acne, you will know how to help him manage his skin condition while being sure that no other more severe skin condition would harm his health.
Acne treatment for dogs
Because most cases of dog acne occur during their puberty stage, veterinarians oftentimes suggest letting this skin condition take its natural course. Acne in dogs is self limiting, which means it can heal even without treatment. However, some acne cases are so severe it can make your buddy’s face tender and sore. This persistent itchiness and pain makes him uncomfortable, and thus may reduce his quality of life. To help your dog relieve the symptoms of acne, here are some suggestions:
- Use medicated shampoos – There are shampoos available in the market that contain ingredients that fight off acne-causing agents. Shampooing your dog twice every week with a preparation that contains benzoyl peroxide would also help in managing acne pain and irritation
- Apply topical creams – Your dog’s veterinarian may suggest anti-bacterial topical creams to prevent or limit infection
- Apply steroids – In some severe cases, your dog’s veterinarian may recommend using a steroid on the affected area to decrease swelling and irritation
- Pills – Depending on the vet’s findings, your dog may also require taking acne-fighting medicines, especially if the severely painful acne has been a result of hormonal changes
As much as you would want to pick at your buddy’s acne, puncturing a bump on your dog’s face would just make him vulnerable to skin infection. Allow the bump to live out its natural life cycle, and never attempt to put a hole in it to drain it.
Acne is no more than a natural skin phenomenon that your dog may have to go through. But for acne signs that persist or continue to worsen, it is the best to visit a veterinarian to see the need for any dog acne treatment.