How to treat acne in your pets?

How to treat acne in your pets?

Image Souce:

Noticing red angry blemishes on our poochโ€™s skin one day is enough to make us anxious. But experts say there is no need to worry. It is just an outbreak of canine acne.Acne can come in many forms (pimples, white heads or black heads) and are generally seen on the muzzle, chin or groin area. Like humans, dogs too get acne in their adolescence! That is, when they are less than a year old. They should clean up as our pups reach adulthood, but they can recur due to a number of reasons.


No one knows why, but dogs with short coats are more likely to have acne. Doggie pimples can be caused by hormonal changes, trauma, allergies or hygiene issues.


Acne starts as small bumps under a blocked hair follicle. Pups experience mild discomfort and start rubbing the spot against surfaces. When bacteria infect this area, pus collects and a pimple is formed. These tend to be rather itchy and release a sticky liquid and pus when they burst. If our pup worries the site too much, blood too starts to seep out.TreatmentThe first step to an effective treatment is to consult our veterinarian to rule out three other afflictions that in initial stages look deceptively like acne:

  • demodicosis, a type of mange,
  • ringworm, a fungal infection, and
  • folliculitis, a severe condition causing swollen throat and fever in puppies.

Once acne is verified as the culprit, treatment can be started. The fur around the area should be carefully clipped. The site should always be kept clean using medicated shampoos or gels with less than 5% benzoyl peroxide content. Human shampoos should never be used on dogs as they are too harsh for our pupโ€™s delicate skin.Next, tea tree oil of 0.1 to 1% concentration should be gently applied. The oilโ€™s antiseptic properties keep the skin safe from further infections. However, the oil is toxic to our pets in higher concentrations.If the acne is severely infected, our veterinarian would prescribe a course of antibiotics. The vet may also recommend the use of topical creams and ointments or a change in diet plan.In the rare circumstance of the acne not responding to the treatment, swabs would be taken from the area. A lab culture would identify the exact bacteria causing the infection so that a more bacteria-specific antibiotic can be given to our dogs.Prevention is better than cure. Once an acne episode is over, we must ensure that it doesnโ€™t recur. Washing the acne prone areas with medicated shampoo for the next one year would go a long way in keeping our beloved pets healthy and happy.

What is Feline Acne and How to Treat It

If you notice tiny specks under your cat's chin that do not wash away, perhaps your cat is suffering from feline acne or chin acne, a condition affecting cats in several numbers. The condition, characterized by red bumps on cats' chin, may progress to become oozing, painful and open sores if left without treatment. If you have cat showing signs of acne, you shouldn't delay in consulting a vet.

What causes feline acne?

The exact cause of feline acne is unknown, but hyperactive sebaceous glands and allergens are considered potential reasons for feline acne. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance produced in your cat's chin. Some cats produce sebum in large quantities, and cause dead skin cells to plug the chin's hair follicles. The blocked hair follicles convert into blackheads called comedones on the lips and chin, which are often confused as dirt.The blackheads eventually become red, itchy bumps, then pimples, and finally convert to abscesses at an advanced stage, which rupture and bleed causing furunculosis. In severe cases, swelling, hair loss and development of draining tracks is common. Scratching amplifies the process and lead to infections like cellulitis in advanced stages.However, some other causes of feline acne are as follows:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Stress and trauma
  • Food sensitivity
  • Bacterial contamination
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Symptoms of feline acne

Symptoms of feline acne include the following:

  • Blackheads or whiteheads
  • Red Pimples
  • Watery crusts on the lips and chin
  • Itching and swelling in the chin
  • Development of nodules and bleeding crusts, hair loss, pustules, pain and severe redness.

Diagnosis of feline acne

Diagnosis of feline acne begins with a thorough review of your cat's medical history and physical examination. Vets usually use visual examination of the chin to diagnose the issue. Such examination rules out other issues such as fungal infection, mange, feline leprosy, tumors and allergies, or other skin imbalances. Your vet may also reckon upon certain procedures like taking fungal culture, skin scraping to identify mites or fungi, microscopic cell examinations, and biopsy, which is seldom needed.

Treatment of feline acne

Treatment options available for feline acne usually aim at reducing sebum. However, the treatment greatly depends on the severity of the condition. Feline acne of mild forms are treated without strong medications. You only have to keep a watch on your cat's chin to ensure that blackheads are not progressing towards something more severe.You should never squeeze blackheads from your cat's chin lest it become infected. You can use antibiotic soaps, witch hazel, and Epsom or iodine salts to clean the area. Severe cases of feline acne require gel or ointment containing benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine, and topical glucocorticoids to reduce inflammation.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like

Image for Dog And Cat Acne
Dog And Cat Acne

What Causes Pet Pimples?

Read More
Image for Can Constant Scratching Worsen Your Dogโ€™s Flea Bites?
Can Constant Scratching Worsen Your Dogโ€™s Flea Bites?

Understanding how scratching makes flea bites worse in dogs

Read More