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Can I Pop My Dog’s Pimples?

If your dog has a growing pimple on their chin, you may have an overwhelming urge to pop it. Especially if it looks like a blackhead.

Many of us participate in the habit of popping our own pimples, even though we are often told not to. Dermatologists tell us to refrain from popping our pimples due to the threat of infection and scarring, but does this apply to canine acne as well?

To help you make the decision of whether or not to pop your dog’s pimples, let’s discuss the details of dog acne below.

Can I Pop My Dogs Pimples

Is Dog Acne Normal?

Before we answer the question of whether or not you should pop your dog’s zits, we should first offer you a brief introduction to canine acne.

We know that acne is quite common among humans, so many wonder if their dog’s case of acne is normal as well.

While some dogs develop acne on their face and other parts of their body, it is not as normal of an occurrence as it is for humans. Acne in dogs is often tied to either trauma to the skin, bacterial infections, or hereditary links, so it’s not hormone related like it is in people.

While the occasional pimple on your dog’s skin is typically just fine and nothing to worry about, severe cases of canine acne always warrant veterinary care, as there is typically an underlying cause.

What Do Dog Pimples Look Like?

Is that a pimple on your dog’s chin, or is it something more?

Our dog’s have a layer of fur covering their body, so it can be challenging to decipher new bumps and lumps. In most cases, dog and puppy acne will appear as a raised red lump on the skin that may be accompanied by some local swelling.

Their pimples don’t always have a white head, but they can fill with pus and ooze if there is a minor infection present.

Acne can appear anywhere on your dog’s body, but it is most common:

  • On the chin
  • On their lips
  • On the skin around their mouths

What Causes Canine Acne?

As we mentioned above, canine acne is not a right of passage that accompanies their teenage years.

Most cases of dog acne have a specific underlying cause, so let’s list a few of the most common ones below.

Genetic Predisposition

Genetic predisposition, as certain breeds are more at risk.

Some commonly affected breeds include:

  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • Great Danes
  • English Bulldogs
  • Weimaraners
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Rottweilers

Trauma To The Skin

Trauma to the skin such as rubbing or scratching, causing hair to break off close to the surface and lead to swelling of the hair follicle. These hair follicles can eventually rupture and lead to even more pain and inflammation.

A bacterial infection present on the skin. Underlying skin conditions such as contact allergies, food allergies, skin mites, or autoimmune disorders.

Age

While this is not an exact cause, age is also considered a factor. Most cases of acne occur in young dogs between the ages of 6 months to 1 year.

Now that you have a better understanding of acne in dogs, let’s discuss the details of popping dog pimples.

Can You Pop Your Dog’s Pimples?

If you see a growing lump on your dog’s chin, your first thought may be to examine the area and even attempt to pop it.

While this may be tempting, we want to advise you to resist the urge to pop! Our canine friends may not be as concerned with skin scarring as we are, but popping pimples can lead to other concerning skin complications.

Popping a dog’s zit will only cause more trauma to the skin around your dog’s muzzle, often leaving them with more swelling and pain than they originally had.

Reasons Why You Should Not Pop Your Dog’s Pimples

To make sure you keep your popping fingers away from your dog’s pimples, let’s list some of the main reasons why we always advice against popping canine zits.

Some of the reasons why you should not pop your dog’s acne includes:

  • Popping a dog pimple can lead to hair follicle ruptures, which will only increase the risk of infection.
  • Putting your hands on an injured portion of skin will introduce more bacteria to the compromised area.
  • Popping a dog pimple will typically cause more swelling of the skin surface and surrounding areas.
  • Popping a dog pimple can lead to bleeding wounds, and this makes your dog more at risk of permanent scarring.
  • Squeezing on your dog’s acne may not even cause it to pop, which will only cause more pain and inflammation for your pup.
  • If your dog has a compromised immune system for any reason, you may be increasing the risk of bacteria spread.
  • By popping your dog’s acne, you are likely only increasing their healing time due to causing more trauma to the area.
  • You never know if your dog is battling a skin infection that can spread to humans, so it is not a good idea to squeeze any lumps and bumps.
  • It may not be a pimple, so you may be squeezing a growing mass or unknown lump. It could be an ingrown whisker, which will lead to pain if you try to pop it out.
  • Since many of these pimples occur around your dog’s mouth, squeezing the area excessively can make it painful to eat.

As you can see, there is a long list of reasons why you should never pop your dog’s pimple. No matter how tempting these red bumps may be, it’s important to keep your hands to yourself.

Should You Stay Away From All Pimples, Or Just Face Pimples?

Though we have mainly discussed canine acne on your dog’s face, you should avoid any lumps and bumps outside of your dog’s face as well.

There is also a higher likelihood that bumps on your dog’s body are not actually acne, so you could be attempting to pop a potential mass or abscess. No matter what your dog’s red bumps may be, we always so no to popping.

I Popped My Dog’s Pimple And It Is Now Inflamed And Infected

If you couldn’t avoid popping your dog’s pimple and now notice that the area is inflamed and angry, you may be wondering what to do next.

In this situation we always suggest giving your vet a call, as they may suggest bringing your dog in to be seen.

If they do suggest having the pimple examined, there are a few ways in which they could attempt to treat the inflamed or infected pimple. Your vet may clean the area with a dog-safe cleanser, examine the bump’s clinical appearance, and prescribe appropriate antibiotics if they are needed.

This may include either oral antibiotics or a topical antibiotic, but it will vary from case to case. They may also send you home with instructions on how to properly clean the area to reduce bacterial contamination.

If your dog suffers with severe cases of canine acne, they may also suggest taking a bacterial culture and sending it to the lab for testing.

The lab can find the bacteria responsible for their acne, your vet will determine the best treatment options available to your pup.

Can I Use Human Acne Treatments On My Dog’s Pimples?

With how common acne is in humans, most people have an array of pimple fighting products in our home. Due to this, many pet owners will attempt to apply human acne medication to their dog’s pimple in attempts to banish it.

Some of the most common products that humans attempt to use on their dog’s include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, medicated shampoo or facewash, and even topical steroids.

We know pet owners mean well when they attempt to resolve canine acne at home, but it’s important to leave this to the veterinary professionals.

Most of these products will only further irritate your dog’s skin and lead to worsening inflammation, with some dogs even developing chemical burns because of it. We suggest either leaving the pimple alone until it resolves on its own, or having your dog seen if the pimple is not getting better.

If your dog has a severe case of acne that has spread throughout their muzzle and surrounding skin, we always suggest having them seen by a vet.

Final Thoughts On Dog Acne And Pimple Popping

If your dog has red lumps or pustules on their face, we never suggest popping or squeezing the area. Even mild cases of dog acne can become inflamed and infected when we attempt to pop them, so we never want to make the situation more uncomfortable for our pups.

Most pimples will heal within four to eight weeks, so we suggest just monitoring the area and reaching out to your vet if you ever become concerned.

Resources:

1.) https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/acne-in-dogs

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