Blackheads on Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

icon February 28, 2024

Blackheads on dogs, medically known as comedones, are small, dark spots on the skin that occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Though more commonly associated with humans, blackheads can affect our canine companions too, leading to discomfort and potential skin issues. This article delves into the causes, symptoms, and treatments for blackheads in dogs, offering insights from both veterinary science and first-hand experiences to help you understand and manage this condition effectively.

Can Dogs Get Blackheads?

Yes, dogs can get blackheads, although they are more commonly referred to as comedones in veterinary medicine. However, be aware the dog generates the blackhead himself and hasn't caught it from a person! Just like people, in dogs it's a case of clogged pores….it's just that dog follicles get bunged up for different reasons.

blackhead in dogs

What are The Most Common Places for Blackheads to Develop?

In dogs, blackheads, or comedones, can develop in various areas of the body, including:

  • Chin: The chin is a common area for blackheads to develop in dogs, especially those with short coats.

  • Lips: Blackheads can also occur around the lips and muzzle area.

  • Groin: In some cases, blackheads may develop in the groin area, particularly in breeds with skin folds or excess skin in that area.

  • Armpits: Dogs with skin folds in the armpit area may be prone to developing blackheads.

  • Belly: Blackheads can sometimes be found on the belly, especially in areas where there is friction or rubbing against surfaces.

  • Inner thighs: Similar to the groin area, blackheads may develop in the inner thigh region, especially in breeds with skin folds.

Why Do Dogs Get Blackheads?

Dogs can develop blackheads, also known as comedones, for various reasons. Here are some common causes:

Canine Acne

Just like humans, dogs can develop acne, particularly during adolescence. This can lead to the formation of blackheads on the chin, lips, and muzzle area, acne in dogs can result from a combination of factors including hormonal changes, genetics, and clogged pores due to excess oil production. It's important to keep an eye on any signs of acne in your dog and consult with a veterinarian if you notice persistent blackheads or other skin issues.

Primary Seborrhea & Genetic Problems

Primary seborrhea can lead to abnormalities in the production of keratin, resulting in symptoms such as scaliness, dandruff, and greasiness of the coat. The accumulation of excess oil can contribute to clogging of the pores, leading to the formation of blackheads. While primary seborrhea itself may not be itchy, secondary infections with yeast or bacteria can exacerbate symptoms and cause itching.

Secondary Seborrhea

secondary seborrhea can develop in dogs as a consequence of various underlying health issues. Allergies, hormonal imbalances, and infections are common culprits that can disrupt the normal function of the skin and its oil-producing glands. When these conditions occur, they can lead to changes in the skin's oil production, which may result in the development of blackheads.

For example, allergic reactions to certain foods, environmental allergens, or flea bites can trigger inflammation in the skin, altering its normal balance and leading to increased oil production and the formation of blackheads. Similarly, hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease can affect the skin's health and contribute to seborrhea and blackhead formation.

blackhead on dogs

Infections, whether bacterial or fungal, can also disrupt the skin's natural balance and lead to secondary seborrhea. These infections can cause inflammation, itching, and further disruption of the skin's barrier function, creating an environment conducive to blackhead formation.

Demodex mites

Demodex mites can cause a condition called demodicosis, also known as mange, which results in hair loss, skin inflammation, and sometimes crusty lesions. While blackheads may not be a direct result of Demodex mite infestation, the skin inflammation and irritation caused by the mites can potentially lead to secondary skin issues such as bacterial or yeast infections, which may contribute to the development of blackheads. Additionally, the presence of Demodex mites may indicate an underlying immune system or health issue that could predispose the dog to other skin problems.

Pressure Sores (Calluses) & Friction Blackheads

Pressure sores, also known as calluses, can develop in areas of the body where there is constant pressure or friction, such as the elbows, hocks, and other bony prominences. These calluses can become irritated and inflamed, leading to the formation of blackheads due to the buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil in the affected area.

Poor Grooming

Poor grooming can contribute to the development of blackheads in dogs. Inadequate grooming can lead to a buildup of dirt, debris, and dead skin cells on the skin's surface, which can clog pores and contribute to the formation of blackheads. Dogs with longer coats or thick fur may be especially prone to this if their grooming needs are not adequately met.

Regular grooming practices such as brushing, bathing with appropriate shampoos, and cleaning the ears and folds of skin can help remove dirt and dead skin cells, preventing them from accumulating and clogging pores. Additionally, ensuring that your dog's coat is properly trimmed, especially in areas prone to friction or moisture buildup, can help reduce the risk of blackhead formation.

Symptoms Of Blackheads on Dogs

  • Small, dark bumps on the skin, particularly in areas with hair follicles, such as the chin, lips, and muzzle.

  • Mild to moderate inflammation around the blackheads.

  • Itching, scratching, or rubbing of the affected area.

  • Secondary skin infections or pustules in severe cases.

Symptoms Of Blackheads on Dogs.webp

Can Blackheads Be a Sign of a More Serious Condition?

Yes, blackheads in dogs can sometimes be a sign of an underlying or more serious condition. While blackheads themselves may not always be cause for alarm, they can sometimes indicate an underlying skin disorder, infection, or other health issue. Some potential underlying conditions that may be associated with blackheads in dogs include:

  • Skin infections

  • Allergies

  • Skin cancer

How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Dogs?

Getting rid of blackheads on dogs typically involves a combination of grooming practices, topical treatments, and addressing any underlying causes. Here are some steps to help manage and reduce blackheads in dogs:

Proper grooming

Regular grooming is essential for preventing and managing blackheads in dogs. This includes brushing your dog's coat to remove dead hair and skin cells, as well as bathing with a gentle, medicated shampoo specifically formulated for dogs. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any shampoo residue, which can contribute to clogged pores.

Topical treatments

There are various topical treatments available for managing blackheads in dogs, including medicated wipes, sprays, and spot treatments, which can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on the most suitable topical treatment for your dog's specific needs.

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Address underlying causes

If blackheads are caused by an underlying skin condition, such as allergies, infections, or hormonal imbalances, it's important to address these issues to effectively manage blackheads. Your veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests to identify any underlying causes and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include medications, dietary changes, or allergy management.

Maintain a healthy diet

A balanced diet with proper nutrition is important for maintaining your dog's overall health, including their skin and coat. Ensure that your dog is eating a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. In some cases, dietary supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids may help improve skin health and reduce inflammation.

Can I Pop My Dog’s Blackheads?

It is not recommended to pop or squeeze your dog's blackheads. Attempting to pop blackheads can cause further irritation, inflammation, and potential infection of the affected area. Additionally, dogs may find the process uncomfortable or painful, leading to stress or anxiety.


What Are the Mites that Look Like Blackheads on Dogs?

The mites that are commonly associated with skin conditions in dogs are Demodex mites. These microscopic parasites live in hair follicles and oil glands, and their presence can lead to various skin issues, including inflammation, itching, and the formation of blackheads.

Do Dogs Get Blackheads on Their Nose?

Dogs can indeed get blackheads on their nose, as well as on other parts of their body. The nose, chin, lips, and muzzle area are common areas where blackheads may develop in dogs.

Can Diet Affect My Dog's Skin Condition?

Yes, diet can affect your dog's skin condition. A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining your dog's overall health, including the health of their skin and coat. Some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients in their diet, which can manifest as skin problems such as itching, inflammation, and blackheads. Ensuring that your dog is eating a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs can help support healthy skin and reduce the risk of skin issues.

Are Certain Breeds More Prone to Blackheads?

Yes, some dog breeds, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and Pugs, are more prone to skin issues, including blackheads.


It's essential for pet owners to monitor their dog's skin health regularly and seek veterinary advice if they notice any concerning changes or persistent blackheads. With proper care and treatment, most cases of blackheads in dogs can be managed effectively, promoting healthy and clear skin for our canine companions.




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