Canine Acne Home Remedies

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Canine Acne


Your dog will not stand in front of the mirror worrying about her complexion, but acne can cause her a lot of discomfort all the same.

When oil glands on the dog's face is blocked, pimples and blackheads are formed. These pimples and blackheads can develop into acne when they get infected.

Acne is a deep bacterial infection of the skin, and can be found on a dog's lower lip, chin, and muzzle, and sometimes on the belly.

Usually the infection is low-grade, but can cause the skin to become crusty, sore, and itchy. The dog's chin may also become swollen and inflamed.

What Causes Acne to Develop on Dogs?

For some reasons, acne is seen almost exclusively in large breeds of dog with short hair, such as dobermans, boxers, pugs, rottweillers, great danes, mastiffs, and German short-haired pointers.

This dog skin problem usually plagues dogs in their "teenage" years. Generally speaking, puppies from 3 months of age and above can get acne.

Veterinarians are not sure what causes acne to develop on dogs. Some suggested causes are:

  • Inflammation of blocked oil glands caused by scratching;
  • Allergies;
  • Hormonal imbalance especially in young dogs and puppies which can be associated with puberty.

It is also believed that poor grooming and hygiene can contribute to the formation of acne in dogs and puppies.

Dog Acne Home Remedies

Unless your dog's acne is severely infected, most bouts of puppy acne and pimples can be treated at home.

Daily Cleaning

Cleaning the affected area daily with warm water is essential. The warm water can open up the clogged pores and clean out dirt.

Use a soft cloth soaked with warm water as a compress and hold it against the affected area until the cloth becomes cool.

After that, use an antibacterial soap for pets to wash your puppy's face to get rid of the bacteria in the pores.

Alternatively, use these antibacterial wipes to thoroughly clean out the skin folds (especially important for dogs like the pugs and bulldogs!) (Affiliate links):

Home Remedies for Topical Use

Dog Acne Home Treatment To stop skin infections caused by canine acne, use remedies that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, such as:

  • Calendula: Calendula is excellent for healing wounds and preventing infections. Use a tincture of Calendula (add 6 to 7 drops of the tincture to one ounce of water). Apply the diluted herbal tincture with a cotton ball to the affected areas twice daily.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is antibacterial and has astringent properties as well. The gel-like juice of this herb cools and soothes the skin and helps kill bacteria. You can apply aloe vera gel on your puppy's acne several times a day after washing her face.
  • Nettle: You can make an herbal tea using nettle leaves and apply the tea to the affected area as well. Nettle nourishes the skin and alleviates discomfort caused by skin conditions such as acne, eczema, hot spots, etc.
  • Black or Green Tea: Tea has astringent and anti-itch properties. Applied topically, tea can help alleviate itching and reduce infection.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV also has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Dilute ACV in warm water (50:50 ratio) and apply the diluted ACV to the acne with a cotton ball.

Dog Acne Home Remedies for Internal Use

Very often, dogs and puppies with acne have imbalanced or weakened immune systems, causing toxins to build up in their bodies.

It is therefore essential to eliminate acne from the inside out.

Use tonic herbs to remove toxins from the body and strengthen the immune system of your dog.

Excellent herbs that can detoxify a dog's body include Burdock Root, Nettle, Thistle, Oregon Grape, Sarsaparilla, Red Clover, and Echinacea.

These herbs all have blood purifying and cleansing functions. In addition, Echinacea is effective for strengthening the immune system and curbing infections.


Check Out This Natural Herbal Product

Detox Gold for Dogs
(affiliate link)

This herbal formula contains the herbs mentioned above and more. It is excellent for purifying and cleansing a dog's blood and strengthening the immune system so that skin problems such as canine acne can be prevented or treated from the inside out.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also has anti-inflammatory functions and can ease itchy skin irritations and inflammations caused by infections such as acne.

As such, coconut oil is a good supplement to give to your dog for acne. Please see this page for more information and how much coconut oil to give to a dog.


Some homeopathic remedies are also extremely effective in getting rid of acne on your dog. Consult a holistic vet if you would like to use homeopathy.

Effective remedies include Hepar sulph which is a major remedy for painful inflammatory conditions and Silicea which is good for skin troubles.

Things NOT To Do

  • Do not squeeze the pimples - It can be painful for the dog. More importantly, it will cause bacteria to spread beneath the skin, causing a deeper infection.
  • Do not use acne medication made for people on your dog.


Eldredge, et al. Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook 4th edition (Wiley Publishing, 2007).
C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
D. Hamilton, Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs (North Atlantic Books, 1999).

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