Puppy acne is a deep-seated skin infection that usually affects young pups 3 months of age and older. Certain breeds, such as the Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Bulldogs, are more prone to acne. This page looks at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of canine acne.
Just like human teenagers, young puppies 3 months of age and older can get acne, which can be identified by the red-purplish pustules and blackheads (comedones) that come to a head and drain pus. Acne are usually found on the chin and lower lip areas, and occasionally in the genital and groin areas.
Canine acne is not especially common. However, certain breeds are more susceptible to this skin condition. They include the Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Great Danes, and Bulldogs.
Acne by itself usually does not bother the puppy too much. However, sometimes there is secondary infection which can cause pain and itchiness to the puppy. In some cases, hair loss
in the affected area and loss of pigmentation may occur.
This skin condition usually resolves spontaneously when the puppy reaches sexual maturity.
Causes of Puppy Acne
Most cases of canine acne are caused by blockage of hair follicles by skin scales and sebum.
Other factors that may cause canine acne include:
- Hormonal changes in puppies associated with puberty
- A weakened immune system
- Poor grooming
- Excessive scratching causing skin trauma inflammation
Treatment of Puppy Acne
Conventional treatment of canine acne is the use of benzoyl peroxide shampoo to bath the puppy (twice weekly for 2-3 weeks). A topical gel that contains 5% benzoyl
peroxide may also be used daily on affected areas. Benzoyl peroxide is antibacterial and also has follicular flushing properties. However, prolonged use may cause
excessive drying of the skin and subsequent irritation.
Topical antibiotics (such as mupirocin) may be needed to prevent or limit secondary infection, and topical steroids may be used to decrease the swelling and the
inflammation in the area.
Home Treatment of Puppy Acne
To help limit acne in your puppy, try the following at home:
- Wash your puppy's chin daily with warm water and a mild, non-fragranced antibacterial soap. You can also use Epson salts to clean the
area after washing the chin with soap.
- It is also a good habit to clean your puppy's chin and mouth after each meal.
- Apply a warm compress to the affected area to help unblock plugged up pores. Simply use a warm washcloth and hold it to your puppy's chin
for a few of minutes until the cloth is cool.
- Avoid using plastic bowls because they tend to harbor bacteria and other germs that could trigger an acne outbreak. Some pets may also be
allergic to the chemicals in the plastic. Use bowls that are made of ceramic or stainless steel instead.
Do not try to squeeze your puppy's acne spots since this increases the likelihood of bacterial infection and possibly scarring.