What Causes Canine Acne?

Canine acne can be frequently met and is due to the fact that the oil glands on the skin are blocked. Canine acne is not a life threatening condition, but may cause discomfort and should be treated. Acne in your dog may also be indicative of an underlying condition which has to be dealt with.

Recognizing Canine Acne

Most commonly, you will notice acne on the face or chin, but the condition may not always be obvious, due to the presence of the fur.

The acne can be recognized as small bumps, which may be red. Black spots or comedones may also be present.

Acne can cause itchiness, so your pet will be scathing or pawing his face and he may often rub it against various surfaces, leaving greasy spots behind.

Causes of Dog Acne

Acne or pimples are formed due to an excess of sebum production or due to the oil glands that are clogged by various substances or debris.

Sebum is normally produced by the sebaceous glands and has the task of protecting the skin and keep it hydrated. The excess of sebum may be due to an internal problem such as hyperthyroidism, but it may also be triggered by external stimuli such as allergens.

The allergens may range from inhalants such as smoke, chemicals or pollens, but may also be the dog’s food or water bowls (i.e. plastic materials can irritate the skin).

The clogging of the oil glands or hair follicles leading to acne may be due to topical treatments or creams. Bacteria that may be present on food bowls may also clog the hair follicles.

In some cases, the causes of acne are not fully understood. It is believed that some dogs may develop acne due to stress.

Last but not least, acne may also be present in canines that are not properly cleaned. The sebum gathers and clogs the pores, not allowing them to breathe. It is important to keep your dog’s face clean, so use a moist piece of cloth or sponge to wipe his mouth and chin area after each meal.

Preventing Acne

Acne is not always a preventable condition, but you can do a few things to eliminate factors that may clog the skin pores or cause allergic reactions:

  • Clean the food bowls after each usage, to prevent the build up of bacteria
  • Clean the dog’s face on a daily basis, to clear the food residue and possible allergens that can cover the pores
  • Choose metallic or ceramic food bowls, as these are less likely to irritate the skin and will also gather less bacteria
  • Reduce the dog’s exposure to allergens such as smoke or chemicals and get air purifiers to reduce the pollens or dust mites

In some cases, the best thing to do is to get a few tests done, which will help the vet establish if your dog has a hormonal problem or allergies. Proper medication will manage the condition and maintain the dog acne free.