Does My Dog Have Acne or Pimples, and Are There Natural Cures?

Updated on December 30, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Acne is most common in adolescents.
Acne is most common in adolescents. | Source

What Is Acne And Who Gets It?

Just like in people, acne is a problem when dogs develop swollen and infected hair follicles, usually on their chin.

Young Pugs and adolescent Rottweilers are a few of the dogs affected, and although they do not spend too much time in front of the mirror checking for socially unacceptable bumps their owners usually notice and want to do something to relieve their dog´s suffering. We also see it a lot on dogs with short hair chin like Dobermans, boxers, Great Danes, and German shorthaired pointers.

In some dogs it can become crusty and itchy and, although the dog is never responsible for food delivery at a fast food restaurant during her teen years, it is usually easy to clear up with a combination of time and traditional medicine.

Some dogs might develop demodectic mange infections on the chin, so if you can clear this up at home your dog will be healthier.

Clearing it up should be a fairly straightforward process. Here are some alternatives:

Acne can be treated with alternative medicines.
Acne can be treated with alternative medicines. | Source

What Is The Easiest Way To Clear Up Acne Naturally?

How Can Canine Acne Be Treated?

The most important part of treating acne in your dog is really the easiest, although it will take a little bit of time each day. You need to take a warm washrag and hold it on the face for a few minutes and then use a mild soap to clean the chin and remove all of the pus.

If you take your dog in to the vet at this point, most veterinarians are going to recommend washing the face with benzoyl peroxide and the application of an antibiotic cream.

Aloe vera gel is a natural treatment you can use after washing with soap and water.

Aloe vera has been used for a few thousand years, and besides killing the bacteria it also controls any fungal infections and cools the skin. You can purchase the gel or keep an aloe vera plant and just break off a small portion to use each day. It grows back and is a lot easier, safer, and cheaper than buying antibiotic in a tube.

You can also try a herbal tea made out of nettle leaves, but you will probably have to buy the leaves so it is more of a headache.

If the acne is severe (get a second opinion on this because any acne is going to look severe to a concerned owner) you can use a herb to help strengthen your dog´s immune system. Garlic, Reishi mushrooms, Echinacea, and Cats Claw (a herb from Peru) are all known for their ability to stimulate the immune system.

If you choose to use garlic as an immune stimulant you can give one clove for each twenty pounds of weight.

Dog breeds like the Doberman can develop acne.
Dog breeds like the Doberman can develop acne. | Source

Are There Other Alternatives?

None of the herbal immune stimulants have scientific studies behind them to prove their effectiveness, and since they are not backed by large pharmaceutical companies they never will. This product has been used for a long time, by several indigineous peoples, and it does work. Follow the dosing instructions on the label.

If the alternative therapies do not work you will need to look into other causes of your dog´s acne. If it itches it could actually be a case of mange and scraping will reveal the little cigar-shaped demodex mites. You can try putting him under a black light and the vet may end up pulling a few hairs to culture for ringworm. If both of these are negative you can try to culture the chin and put the dog on a long course (maybe eight weeks) of antibiotics.

What happens if you just ignore it? You will not have to worry about your dog complaining about her social life but she might take her pus-covered chin and rub it all over your couch.

I prefer the aloe.

Does acne cause depression in dogs?
Does acne cause depression in dogs? | Source

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Dr Mark


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      • profile image

        Alma Olsen 

        5 years ago

        Thank you for this I have been wondering what was going on with my Pug. I will give this a try!

      • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Mark 

        6 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        I don't know of any numbers showing it worse in intact or altered dogs. I have seen it in both. It is a lot less severe than human acne so there are probably alternatives like Vitamin E that have not even been tried.

        As far as the aloe vera goes, we grew up with it at home and when anyone had a scratch or burn my Dad would cut off a piece and apply it fresh. In college the drug companies control treatment options and something like aloe vera is never even considered.

        Thanks for reading the article. It is such a mild problem that I do not expect many readers but I thought I would put an alternative out there for those willing to give it a try.

      • Daughter Of Maat profile image

        Melissa Flagg COA OSC 

        6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

        I love your hubs DrMark. I love how you take the natural approach. Aloe Vera has indeed been used for thousands of years, and it's antiseptic properties are not as well-known as they should be. I've found vitamin E works WONDERFULLY on human acne. I assume it would work well on dogs. My puppy is about to hit this adolescent period, so I'll try both aloe vera and vitamin E.

        Just out of curiosity, is acne worse in those animals that are intact? I would assume a neutered or spayed animal wouldn't have as much of a problem with acne as one that didn't.


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