Black spots on dogs can are available in a wide range of forms.
Some dogs have black patches that look as in the event that they’re beneath the skin’s surface, whereas others have noticeable bumps.
While pigmentation changes akin to black splotches often occur across the eyes, nose, lip, or paws, it’s also commonly noticeable on the belly.
Easy pigmentation changes shouldn’t trigger panic however it’s essential to distinguish between harmless skin changes and serious underlying issues.
My Rottweiler only in the near past had “black spots”.
That’s when I noticed that what some mean by this isn’t necessarily what others mean.
For higher comparison, I’ve just compiled these causes into rough categories.
We’ll go into more detail (including pictures) below.
Benign causes of black spots:
- Environment (dirt)
Serious primary conditions where the encompassing area of the black spots is usually red, itchy, rough, or crusty:
- Skin conditions (Yeast/Bacteria)
- Demodex Mites
- Autoimmune diseases (Lupus)
- Hormonal imbalance (Cushing’s)
- Endocrine disorder
Dark spots or bumps on the skin’s surface:
- Blackheads (often only a symptom!)
Loose black spots:
Aspects that exacerbate the aforementioned conditions:
- Suppressed immune system
Benign Causes of Black Spots
Some dogs are born with black spots on their underbelly or develop them as they age.
Photo by RavenaJuly on Depositphotos
Not all breeds will exhibit darker splotches anywhere on their skin, the next breeds are more vulnerable to this:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bullterrier
The Dalmatian is the apparent selection but their coloration is more obvious to the typical person in comparison to the very light splotches on other breeds.
Some dogs develop darker spots as they age.
Breed-specific hyperpigmentation could also be cosmetic and never an indication of an underlying health issue.
Nevertheless, it’s clever to have sudden or extreme changes examined by a vet.
To be clear, harmless pigmentation rooted in your dog’s genetics won’t be accompanied by some other symptoms.
If the skin is inflamed, you notice a rash, or any changes to the skin (red, swollen, rough, crusty, scaly, or your dog is itching), then an underlying health issue is likely to be the cause.
Last but not least, it could just be dirt from outdoors.
Attempt to gently wipe the dirt away with a cotton washcloth or wipes designed for dogs.
If all else fails, your vet may prescribe a (medicated) shampoo.
An accumulation of dirt skin cells and oils may result in clogged pores… et voilà you may have the human blackhead equivalent.
Bacteria may enter the bloodstream in case your dog suffers an injury around a grimy spot which might become an infection.
Serious Conditions With Black Spots as a Symptom
Yeast or bacterial infections, mites, or allergies can often cause black spots. Other causes include autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, endocrine disorders, and cancer.
Don’t worry, if the black spots are a standalone symptom (i.e. you don’t notice some other behavioral or physical changes), there’s no reason to panic. It’s still smart to have your vet check them out.
Normally, serious cases aren’t solely expressed through black spots but other symptoms including but not limited to:
- Rough, crusty, or scaly skin
- Offensive smell
- Behavioral changes (excessive drinking, lethargy, etc.)
If you happen to notice any of those signs across the newly formed skin changes, seek the advice of your vet.
Diagnostics & treatment are largely depending on the precise root cause.
Demodex mites (“Demodicosis” or “red mange”) may cause color changes and should be confirmed by your vet through a skin scrape.
Because the name “red mange” implies, the skin is normally red and it could be visible in other areas of the body.
You may’ve encountered the little beasts on social media as your friendly neighborhood parasites residing in your eyelashes.
Cushing’s disease, for instance, is understood to cause “blackheads” partly attributable to the hormonal imbalance in some dogs.
It’s also notoriously difficult to diagnose. No single test will provide a 100% diagnosis.
As a substitute, a myriad of tests strengthens the diagnosis akin to bloodwork, urinalysis, dexamethasone suppression tests, ultrasound, CT, and MRI.
Seek the advice of your vet in the event you assume any serious underlying health issue is changing your dog’s skin (color).
Comedones Caused By Seborrhea
While “blackheads” could also be relatively easy to diagnose in our furry friends, it’s difficult to find out the cause.
Blackheads generally is a symptom of secondary canine Seborrhea (i.e. skin just isn’t producing appropriate amounts of the protein keratin).
Secondary seborrhea, in turn, could also be attributable to allergies, immune-related diseases, hormonal issues, or skin lymphoma.
Primary seborrhea is rare and only strongly considered after more likely causes are ruled out.
Each primary and secondary seborrhea often result either in dry or oily/greasy skin.
While some bumps in the shape of blackheads are harmless, others can signal an underlying health issue.
In case your vet confirms the greasy skin issue, they could prescribe a medicated shampoo.
In case any underlying issues are detected, they have to be treated.
All these conditions might be worsened by aspects akin to a lowered immune system so let’s dive a bit deeper in a moment.
Loose Black Crumbs Normally Means Parasites
If the black spots don’t appear to be embedded and you possibly can comb your dog’s coat just to seek out loose particles that may mean it’s flea dirt.
Combing your dog is start in the event you suspect that’s what it’s but don’t stop there.
Flea dirt or other parasites could make it homey in your dog’s belly but other favorite areas include behind the ears or across the neck.
If it’s indeed a parasite situation, you’d have to treat the underlying cause and schedule a vet visit.
Contributors To Canine Skin Changes
Various primary aspects akin to a suppressed immune system, medication, injuries, or shave burns can result in a secondary infection.
For instance, in case your dog suffers an injury outdoors (even a comparatively small cut may suffice), this may open the pathway for bacteria or other microorganisms and result in an infection.
Cases can get pretty complex.
Example 2: Theoretically, your dog could suffer from an allergy, which in turn affects the immune system, and should entice him to bite the itching spot.
Now the underlying allergy causes the dog to inflict a wound which opens the gate to bacteria.
To a layman, the cause is probably not clear if the signs of allergy haven’t been caught and it looks just because it does in the primary example.
That’s why it’s crucial to have your vet run a few tests and explain the situation in the event you suspect a correlation.
If all that stuff went over your head, no worries, I’ll try to maintain it so simple as possible.
Some breeds will experience harmless hyperpigmentation.
Other harmless causes might be ruled out with a shower or just a delicate scrub with a cotton washcloth.
You want to have the opportunity to inform when it’s time to get knowledgeable opinion though.
When to call your vet?
If you happen to notice any behavioral or skin changes (including signs of inflammation and changes in color, texture, or smell) seek the advice of your vet.
What may very well be the cause?
Serious issues include yeast or bacterial infections, mites, allergies, autoimmune diseases, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, or cancer.
What your vet might do?
Diagnostics rely upon the precise symptoms. Issues akin to Cushing’s Syndrome are a bit tougher to pin down. Bloodwork or skin scrapes are common steps.
Could it’s an easy blackhead?
Principally, it is likely to be an imbalance of oil production (i.e. seborrhea) of various severity depending on the underlying issue. In dogdom, skin changes often point toward an underlying health issue.
Disclaimer: This blog post doesn’t substitute veterinary attention and doesn’t intend to accomplish that. I’m not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. In case your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.