Dog Acne

Dog acne is a self-limiting disease that is mostly confined to the chin and lips of young dogs. This disease often appears around 5 to 8 months of age, and it tends to improve over time. It normally resolves by one year of age.

What Causes Dog Acne?

While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed that trauma to the area can bring about this condition. Also several breeds are predisposed to getting this condition, including Doberman pinschers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, Weimaraners, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and German Shorthaired Pointers.

In contrast feline acne shows no breed predilection.

Hormones may also play a role in the development of this condition since it normally occurs around the time of puberty.

What It Looks like

Normally you will see red bumps and often blackheads on the chin and lips of dogs between 5 to 8 months of age. Sometimes if there's an infection dogs will even start scratching or rubbing the lesions.


Often times just a visual inspection is enough to diagnose dog acne. However it is important not to mistake it for other diseases to have a similar clinical presentation like demodex, ringworm, and puppy strangles.

Often times veterinarians will do a skin scraping, a bacterial culture and sensitivity, and in more severe cases a skin biopsy.

Treating Dog Acne

Most cases can be treated with benzoyl peroxide either given through a shampoo or a gel.

Also sometimes topical antibiotics can really help to resolve the condition quickly. In more severe cases oral antibiotics need may be needed like cephalexin or Clavamox.

In some cases of dog and cat acne, pets might be reinfecting themselves from bacteria found on the rims of their food and water bowls. If you are using plastic feeding dishes, you might consider switching to a stainless steel bowl.