Human acne is quite a common sight. It usually affects adolescents and is sometimes found in adults as well. But did you know that your dog can also suffer from this problem? So if you’ve ever been troubled by them, you should know that they are just as annoying for your pup. While the reasons for pet acne may differ from one pet to another, it is found that they usually occur around the face, mainly chin, lips and muzzle.
When the oil glands on your dog’s face are blocked, it leads to the formation of blackheads and pimples which can, over time, develop into acne, a condition that is medically referred to as furunculosis. It usually occurs in dogs who have a short coat and on the onset of puberty, i.e., when the pup is about five to eight months old. The reasons attributed are hormonal changes, genetics and/or trauma. Mostly, the acne bug is low grade, but if left untreated, it can make your pet’s skin itchy, sore and crusty, resulting in an inflamed and swollen chin. The breeds commonly known to suffer from this problem are Boxers, Dobermans, Pugs, Great Danes, Rottweiler’s, Mastiffs, etc.
Acnes appear as blackheads, papules or red pimples or comedones. They can even leak pus and become infected.
Here are a few effective home remedies that you can try in order to battle your pet’s acne-
1. Make sure your dog is clean. Cleanse the skin using washcloth, warm water and soap (make sure the soap is pet friendly. You can purchase one from a pet store). This helps in removing bacteria and unplugging of oil glands, which prevents future acne occurrences.
2. Another similar idea is to hold a warm washcloth (make sure the cloth is not sweltering hot), against the patch of skin affected by acne. Keep it there for a few minutes. When you can feel the cloth cooling, take it off. Repeat once a day.
3. Take a cotton ball and soak it in coloring of marigolds- calendula, which is a concentrated tincture. Now dab it on the wound twice in a day. It speeds healing and quells the infection. The suggested proportion is to take warm water (an ounce) and mixed with six drops of calendula.
4. Applying gel of aloe vera to the affected skin will lessen the pain.
5. Sometimes, acne can be due to a food allergen or a contact with an irritant. In this situation, use only ceramic or stainless steel bowls for water and food (as they collect less bacteria). Refrain from using plastic bowls.
6. Also, make sure the water and food bowls are well-cleaned and dried. Just like you, your pet wouldn’t like eating from a dirty dish.
7. Don’t use deodorized soaps meant for humans, as they can cause much irritation. Opt for antibacterial or mild cleansing soaps.
8. Echinacea, an herb that helps battle infection is also a useful ingredient. A mild antibiotic, it stops acne eruptions from within and is sold in liquid and tablet form. The dosage is usually prescribed as below-
To a large dog- One half of a human’s dose,
To a medium sized dog- One quarter of a human’s dose,
To a small dog- One eighth of a human’s dose.
9. Preparing an herbal tea with the help of nettle leaves is another helpful idea. Apply it on the bruised area. As nettle alleviates the discomfort and nourishes skin, it can be used to fight acne.
10. To detoxify your dog’s body, herbs make an excellent choice. Oregon grape, red clover, etc have cleansing and blood purifying functions.
11. Do not squeeze the pimples. Seeing that awful outbreak will tempt you to squeeze those pimples yourself, but please don’t do it as it will spread the infection, further causing more pain.
However, if despite all the measures you do not see any improvement in your pet’s acne, it is time you consult a vet. He may opt for topical steroids, washes and antibiotics which will lessen the problem in the long run. Remember, your pet might not peep in the mirror, to check his acne, but his acne requires your immediate attention.