Amy Cook
Last Updated

Puppy acne sounds hilarious. Puppies are so cute, but they could also be gross! They have all these weird knots of hair that hang out near their eyes, and sometimes they even get little red bumps on their nose or ears. But don’t worry, this isn’t the signs of an illness- it’s just puppy acne. Here’s what you should know about it!

Puppy Acne Facts
  • The official term for puppy acne is “puppy furunculosis”, but it’s just a funny name for those tubes of hair that grow from your pup’s face.
  • It occurs when hair tubes get caught under the skin and make little red bumps pop up everywhere. They look like pimples, and they’re just as gross, but don’t worry- it’s not a sign of illness.
  • It does not hurt to pop them, and if your pup absorbs the oil from the pimple, then their fur will feel much softer! Keep in mind that you should never squeeze them too hard, or you could cause wound infection.
  • They will most likely fade away when they get older, and their hormones stop making them grow. Once this happens, most pups will only have one tube of hair under their eyes because it’s usually just a hormone thing. There are no serious health concerns associated with puppy acne, but if your pup is licking at their face or has excessive scratching, then you should take them to a vet.
  • Other things can cause bumps on dogs, like mange, so if your pup is itching at their face or you have any reason to believe that the bumps are not acne, then taking them to a vet is always best.
  • Dog acne is a skin condition in dogs of any breed, age, or sex.
  • The symptoms of acne are scaly skin and pimples on the face and muzzle. There has been no definitive answer as to the cause of dog acne. Still, a few things have been found to worsen symptoms like environmental factors, hormonal changes, diet, allergies, and parasites like fleas.
  • Treatments for dog acne include topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide (which is used in human acne), antibiotics or hormonal therapy.

Try an alternative to your dog’s diet: A Guide to the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food in 2021

Symptoms of Acne

The first sign of acne in dogs is usually scaly spots on the dog’s chin or nose. These breakouts are often accompanied by other symptoms like redness, swelling, and discomfort. Owners may also notice oily secretions from the infected area that turn into a dark crust over time. In some cases, the dog will start to excessively lick or bite at the affected area.


Cause of Acne in Dogs

The exact cause is unknown, but some have worsened symptoms like environmental factors, hormones, diet, allergies, and parasites.

Environmental Factors: It is believed that long term exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or a sun lamp can worsen or cause acne in dogs.

Hormonal Changes: Acne is generally found in young, unneutered male and spayed female dogs and usually goes away after neutering.

Diet: Some foods like chocolate and high-fat foods may make flare-ups more likely. Also, some fillers and food additives have been associated with outbreaks of acne.

Allergies: Some dogs may develop acne after eating certain foods or being exposed to environmental allergens like pollen, moulds, and dust mites. There have also been a few cases where a dog develops acne from an allergy to flea bites.

Problems with fleas? Check this out: Billy No Mates Herbal Flea, Tick & Mite Repellent Review

Parasites: Demodex Mange is a type of mite that lives in the hair follicles of many animals, including dogs. If your dog has mange mites, it can cause acne, especially around the ears and face; but they are only one possible cause.

Treatments for Dog Acne

The two main treatments are topical antibacterial washes or creams applied directly to the affected area two to three times per day.

Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in most over-the-counter acne treatments for people, but it can be irritating for some dogs. If you bathe them with dog shampoo that contains benzoyl peroxide, this may help calm the skin since the shampoo rinses off immediately.

In the cases where the acne does not go away after a month or two, antibiotics may be prescribed by a vet. Antibiotics can have side effects, so they are usually only given for a short amount of time.

Since hormones play a role in causing this condition, spaying or neutering your pup will often treat it.

A vet can also remove the oil plugs with a minor surgical procedure if topical treatments are ineffective.

If your dog has allergies, you will have to treat their skin condition and any secondary infections with antibiotics at the same time.

Your vet may prescribe oral steroids or antihistamines to help relieve itching in addition to treating acne topically.

Your vet may recommend many supplements to help clear up acne symptoms. If your pup has mange mites, they will need treatment for both the mites and acne symptoms at the same time since the two are closely related.

Prevention of Acne in Dogs

Since most cases of acne in dogs are caused by hormonal changes and un-neutered male dogs will usually go away after neutering, it is not much you can do to prevent this condition.

Keeping your dog out of the sun and limiting their exposure to ultraviolet light may also help reduce the symptoms.

If you think your dog’s acne might be related to allergies, you can try giving them supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C and Zinc to help support their overall health.

Lemon juice may also be helpful because it contains natural salicylic acid, similar to benzoyl peroxide.

Some owners have successfully treated acne with aloe vera cream or gel since it contains a mild antibacterial agent.

If your pup is getting hot spots from licking and chewing, bathe them with dog shampoo containing tea tree oil to speed up healing.


It is essential to treat your pup’s acne if it does not disappear after a month or two. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines and supplements for the condition. If you are concerned about preventing this disease in your furry friend, make sure they don’t spend too much time out in the sun or around ultraviolet light sources like lamps. This will help reduce their exposure to UV radiation which can worsen acne flare-ups.


Puppy Acne, Symptoms and Treatment

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