Dog Acne: Treatment and FAQs | MetLife Pet Insurance (2024)

Does your pup have gnarly looking bumps on their chin? Don’t panic — your dog may just have acne. Canine acne is an inflammatory disorder that causes swelling and itching in or around the hair follicles, causing red bumps or pimples to form.³ Usually, pet parents find dog acne on their pup’s chin or around their muzzle.

Dogs, especially young adolescent dogs, go through puberty just like us. These hormonal changes don’t just include naughty behavior — they may come with a few pimples. Here are the basics about canine acne and what you can do about it.

What Causes Dog Acne?

Like with humans, acne happens when a dog’s pores get clogged by dirt, debris, and excess sebum. Unlike us, dogs don’t have fancy skincare regimens to keep their skin clean, so bacteria can wreak havoc on their skin. Here are some familiar places that can host acne-causing bacteria and fungi:³

  • Ceramic and plastic water bowls
  • Your yard
  • Other dogs
  • Dog beds
  • Crates

Luckily, most dogs experience acne due to hormonal changes. The breakouts tend to go away in less than 2 weeks.

Symptoms of dog acne

The most common signs of canine acne are:

  • Swelling of the lips or muzzle
  • Pimples on the chin, lips, or face
  • Excessive rubbing or scratching of the affected area
  • Skin lesions from scratching

Inspect the area carefully for signs of infection, like excessive pus. Make note of when the flare-up started and how long it lasts so you can work with your veterinarian for proper treatment.

When to call the vet

Acne isn’t a major health risk to dogs, but it can be very uncomfortable and unattractive. Chat with your vet about it and they’ll advise on if you should schedule an appointment. Most canine acne can be managed with over-the-counter shampoos and ointments, but your vet may insist on conducting tests to identify underlying conditions.

Some of the tests may be basic blood tests, skin cultures, and physical examinations. Many vets will want to rule out allergies, parasites, fleas, or skin conditions before prescribing anything that could make the flare-up worse.³,⁴ After the tests come back, they’ll usually make a decision based on what’s best for you and your family.

Common Dog Breeds That Get Acne

Some dogs are more likely to experience acne than others, so those little bumps may just be a part of the doggy package. Many brachycephalic breeds get acne due to the shape of their muzzle and the folds in their skin. Breeds that experience acne include:³

  • Boxer
  • Great Dane
  • German shepherd
  • American bulldog
  • Doberman pinscher

Chat with your vet about your dog’s specific needs if you own one of these breeds. They may be able to guide you on how best to manage their canine acne.

Is It OK To Pop a Dog’s Pimple?

The short answer is no. Popping your dog’s pimples can make their acne worse because the bacteria inside the pimple can spread. On top of that, the open wound can become reinfected and cause even more pain. Do yourself — and your pup — a favor by leaving the pimple popping to your vet. Your vet is typically trained to drain the pimples properly plus they could give you all the meds you need to keep the area clean.

Dog Acne Treatment Options

There are a few things that pet parents can do to manage their dogs' acne. Your vet may prescribe you antibiotics or antifungals if a skin culture shows an infection is present. If parasites and other disorders are ruled out, your at-home care may include:³’⁴

  • Topical benzoyl peroxide creams
  • Antibiotics
  • Topical or oral antifungals
  • Topical or oral steroids
  • Medicated shampoos

Keep in mind that you may have more than one of these treatment options given to you by your vet. Follow their instructions closely, especially with antibiotics, to avoid repeat flare-ups or antibiotic resistance.

How To Prevent Acne in Dogs

The simplest way to prevent dog acne is to practice good hygiene.³ You should bathe your dog regularly with vet-approved shampoos. If your dog isn’t due for a bath, you could simply wipe their muzzle with a damp cloth and diluted benzoyl peroxide. There are also dog acne wipes on the market that are easy to use.

Some other things you can do regularly to manage canine acne are:

  1. Switch ceramic and plastic bowls to stainless steel. Stainless steel is non-porous and easy to sanitize. Simply put them in the dishwasher for a wash and dry, and forget about it!
  2. Clean doggy blankets and beds regularly. It’s easy to neglect laundry day but don’t skip your dog’s stuff in the process! Opt for machine-washable dog beds or ones with zip-on covers to cut your cleaning time down.
  3. Talk to your vet about your dog’s diet. Since acne is usually a hormonal issue, you may be able to manage the acne with simple dietary changes. Consult with your vet and they can help guide you when making a diet plan.

Pet parents have a lot of control over this disorder, unlike other dog illnesses like cancer. Trust yourself and your vet to help your dog manage their itchy chin problems.

You Know What's Uglier Than Pimples? Vet Bills

Your dog’s acne may be able to be treated at home, but you might have to get special shampoos and medications that only your vet can provide. On top of the tests your vet may conduct, you may find yourself paying a few hundred bucks you weren’t prepared to spend. MetLife can help.

A dog insurance policy can potentially reimburse you up to 100% of your bill.¹,² Get started today with a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance, winner of the “Pet Insurance of the Year” Award in the 2023 Pet Independent Innovation Awards Program.

Dog Acne: Treatment and FAQs | MetLife Pet Insurance (2024)


How do pet insurances know of pre-existing issues? ›

Depending on your insurer, when you submit a pet insurance claim, they will typically request your pet's medical records to evaluate the claim and determine if the issue predates your waiting period.

Does dog insurance cover everything? ›

A “comprehensive” pet insurance policy typically refers to an accident and illness plan with optional wellness coverage, but even the best pet insurance plan doesn't cover everything. All pet insurance plans exclude incurable pre-existing conditions.

How quickly does spot pet insurance work? ›

Waiting Period: Spot Pet Insurance plans have a 14-day waiting period. Pre-Existing Conditions: A pre-existing condition is an injury or illness that occurs or shows symptoms before coverage begins on a policy or during a waiting period.

How does MetLife Pet Insurance pay out claims? ›

How does our pet insurance reimbursem*nt work? We'll process your covered claim — usually within 10 days — and send your payment via multiple direct deposit options or a paper check in the mail, at your request.

What voids pet insurance? ›

Some of the most common things pet insurance does not cover are: Pre-existing illness or injury - In general, insurers will not cover illness or injury that your pet had or showed signs of having before the policy started.

What counts as a pre-existing condition? ›

What are pre-existing medical conditions? A pre-existing medical condition (PEMC) is an illness or injury you had before your policy began or was renewed. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include, diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol or a long-term back condition.

Does pet insurance cover skin allergies? ›

Pet insurance may help to pay for allergy testing, if it's recommended by your vet as the best treatment (for example if your pet is suffering from itchy skin). However, all policies vary in what they cover and what exclusions are in place.

Which of the following would not be covered under pet insurance? ›

Usually not covered: Preventive care

A standard pet insurance policy won't cover many common vet expenses a new pet parent faces, such as spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and annual checkups. Insurers consider these services to be routine care and won't pay for them under an accident and illness plan.

Is it worth claiming on pet insurance? ›

It's usually not too difficult to know when you should claim, and you can always check your policy documents or speak to your insurance provider if you're not sure. The only time it might not be worth claiming is if your policy excess – that's the amount you pay to make a claim – is more than the cost of the treatment.

Can I get pet insurance then use it straight away? ›

Can I buy pet insurance with no waiting period? Most pet insurance plans don't offer immediate coverage for accidents, injuries, or routine care. However, a routine care or wellness pet insurance plan is usually effective the next day.

Is spot better than fetch? ›

Fetch covers what Spot does not, including:

Comprehensive dental coverage for injury and disease in every adult tooth. Spot doesn't offer coverage for every tooth. Up to $1,000 in boarding fees should you require hospitalization for 4 days or more. Spot doesn't do that.

Is lemonade pet insurance good? ›

Overall, we rated Lemonade Pet Insurance 4.8 out of 5 stars. The company is our top overall pick for pet insurance due to its comprehensive coverage and affordable rates.

How long does it take MetLife to approve a claim? ›

How long will it take MetLife to approve my claim? Once we receive your claim, we'll review everything within 5 business days and respond to your claim within 10 business days if we need more information from you. If there are multiple beneficiaries, how will we get paid?

Does MetLife pay the vet directly? ›

MetLife doesn't offer an accident-only plan or the option to have the company pay your vet directly. Note: Coverage options and availability may vary depending on where you live and the age and breed of your pet.

What is a payout in pet insurance? ›

A maximum limit or payout per year (also known as Annual Limit) is the maximum amount of money a pet insurance provider will reimburse you for eligible claims within a given year.

How does pet insurance get medical records? ›

When you purchase a pet health insurance policy, you agree to let your provider contact current or previous vets on your behalf, and obtain all of your pet's medical records if needed.

Can you get pet insurance if your pet is already sick? ›

Can I get pet insurance if my dog or cat is already sick? Yes! Even if your dog or cat has a pre-existing condition, that won't exclude you from obtaining pet insurance. The costs of treating that particular issue won't be covered by your new plan, but you can expect coverage for future illnesses and injuries.

Does pet insurance cover existing problems? ›

Generally, pet insurance companies do not cover incurable pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and hip dysplasia. But some pet insurance companies will cover what are considered “curable” pre-existing conditions, such as bladder infections, diarrhea and ear infections.

Do pet insurance companies ask for medical records? ›

Pet insurance companies do require medical records in order to enroll any pet in a policy. These companies employ teams of veterinary specialists that are trained to review your pet's medical records to determine if your pet has any pre-existing medical conditions.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated:

Views: 6237

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.