We’re reader-supported. When you click on our chosen products, we may receive a commission. Learn more.
canine health problems
White dog getting belly rubs

Can dogs get pimples on their belly? 

The short answer is yes. Acne in dogs, also called folliculitis, usually occurs around the muzzle, lips, and chin. But, other bacterial infections of the skin and hair follicles, called pyoderma, can affect other parts of dogs’ bodies, including the belly. Besides infection, things like allergies, trauma, and genetics can result in pus-filled pimples or red bumps on your dog’s stomach.

👉 Here’s what pimples on a doggie’s belly may look like. 

Common causes of canine skin issues

Pyoderma is oftentimes caused by many underlying skin conditions. So, it’s best to bring your dog to the vet. They’ll determine a treatment plan that best fits your dog and whatever might be causing those irritating red bumps.

Allergies. As in humans, dogs can develop allergies or sensitivity to many things. Skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies are three common issues in canines. Symptoms of allergies in dogs include itching, inflammation, rashes, and more. Skin allergies can lead to contact dermatitis where the irritant touched your dog.

Trauma. Wounds from trauma like a bite or injury are susceptible to bacteria, which can lead to infection. Inflammation and rupturing of the hair follicles are also thought to be common causes of canine acne. When the follicle ruptures, it irritates the surrounding skin, which can allow bacteria to more easily spread.

Parasites. Despite preventative measures, parasites often find their way onto (or into) our dogs. Insect bites from parasites like mange mites, fleas, and ticks, are often responsible for itchy red bumps and rashes on the skin. Mange mites in particular cause sarcoptic mange, causing intense itching and hair loss, often on the belly.

Hormonal disorders. Disorders of a dog’s endocrine system can create a hormonal imbalance, causing skin issues. Cushing’s disease, caused by excess cortisol production, can cause hair thinning, skin infections, and rashes. An underactive thyroid gland can also wreak havoc on a dog’s skin, known as hypothyroidism. This can cause excessive shedding, recurrent infections, and other skin symptoms.

Yeast infections. Yeast infections in dogs occur due to an overabundance of fungus on the skin. These infections often cause itchy, dry, flaky, or crusty skin. They’re also characterized by a yeasty or musty odor around the infected area.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). While not especially common in dogs, the bacterial infection known as MRSA is sometimes caused by pet-human contact. Symptoms of MRSA in dogs include crusty, scaly skin, hair loss, and infection.

Dog breeds predisposed to skin problems

As a dermatological condition, pyoderma affects dogs differently. Puppies, for instance, are often more susceptible, due in part to their developing immune systems. Some dog breeds are often at higher risk to develop pyoderma or acne from skin infections. These breeds include those with shorter hair or excessive skin folds like:

  • English bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Danes
  • Doberman pinschers

Symptoms of pyoderma on dogs’ bellies

Pyoderma in dogs can show in many ways. Certain areas like the belly or entire body may show signs.

Common pyoderma symptoms to keep an eye on include:

  • Bumps like pimples, pustules, and lesions
  • Red, crusty, or flaky skin
  • Skin discharge
  • Excessive itching
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation around the hair follicles

If your dog is showing one or more of these symptoms on their belly, it’s time to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis.

Diagnosis and treatment of pyoderma in dogs

There are several ways a vet can diagnose pyoderma in your pet. Visible characteristic signs like pimples or lesions can suggest the presence of bacteria. Vets may then collect fungal cultures to rule out infections like ringworm.

Skin cytology is an important tool used by vets to diagnose pyoderma. Techniques can vary, Usually, vets collect and examine cells from the infected skin. This helps doctors identify inflammatory cells and bacteria. Proper diagnosis is key in pyoderma cases, as it will help dictate the best treatment plan.

Once a vet makes a diagnosis, they may perform further tests to determine the root cause and treatment options. Following that, they can prescribe appropriate medications. Antibiotics such as cephalosporins or amoxicillin are a common treatment for pyoderma in dogs. Often, this antibiotic therapy lasts 3-4 weeks before showing results, though it can take longer for deeper infections.

Managing skin issues at home 

Besides medications or antibiotics, there are some at-home options to help ease skin condition symptoms. These include:

  • Elizabethan collars. The dreaded “cone of shame” is an easy and effective way to keep dogs from chewing or licking at infected skin and making things worse.
  • Medicated shampoos or scrubs. There are plenty of products on the market with ingredients like chlorhexidine to help soothe itchy or inflamed skin.
  • Supplements. Salmon oil is full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s a commonly-recommended supplement for dogs experiencing skin or immune issues.  For an effective supplement with all-natural ingredients, try the Wild Alaska Salmon Oil from Natural Dog Company.
  • Soothing balms. For any irritated areas on your doggie’s skin, Wrinkle Balm soothes swelling, redness, and irritation. It can help heal areas with rashes or wounds.

How to prevent belly rashes on your pet

Skin issues in dogs can be tricky to treat, so prevention plays a key role. There are a few simple steps you can take to lower the risks to your pup.

Bathe and groom regularly — Yes, baths keep our dogs clean and fresh-smelling, but they also help bacteria from flourishing on the skin. Routine grooming is another way to keep your dog’s fur healthy and manageable.

👉  Here’s our list of vet-approved doggie shampoos to keep your dog fresh and clean. 

Maintain flea and tick treatments — Parasites are annoying to pet parents and their pups! They’re also the cause of several skin conditions, like flea allergy dermatitis. Regular oral or topical flea and tick treatments can help keep these pests at bay.

Watch your dog’s diet — Dogs can develop allergies throughout their lives, leading to skin issues. If you suspect a food allergy or intolerance, a switch to a new or hypoallergenic dog food may warrant consideration.

Frequently asked questions

Can dogs get pimples?

Yes, a variety of skin conditions cause lesions, pustules, or pimples on a dog’s skin.

How is canine acne different from pyoderma?

Canine acne, or muzzle folliculitis, most often affects the hair follicles around a dog’s muzzle and chin. Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin that causes symptoms in various areas of the body, including the belly.

Should I pop my dog’s pimples?

Never! Popping pimples can cause pus and bacteria to spread on your dog’s skin. It can also damage the hair follicle leading to further inflammation.

Is pyoderma contagious?

Pyoderma isn’t contagious but causes like parasites can pass from dog to dog. So, exercise caution in suspected infected dogs.

What do I do about pimples on my dog’s belly?

A vet visit is your best bet to receive a proper diagnosis. From there, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection. At-home options to relieve symptoms include medicated shampoos and skin supplements.