Can Pugs Get Pimples? Causes and Treatment of Pug Acne

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When you think of pimples, you probably think of acne on humans. However, pugs can get pimples too. Just like in people, some dogs are prone to acne and similar skin ailments. This genetic disposition is more commonly seen in certain breeds like pugs. 

Please keep reading to learn more about acne in dogs and pug pimples, what causes canine acne, and how to treat it. 

Pug Pimples

Do pugs get pimples? Yes. Pug pimples can develop on various parts of your dog’s body, but they are more common on their face or around their muzzle, like on the chin and lips. Acne is also more common in younger dogs, puppies under one year of age. 

Canine acne is also more common in certain breeds, such as boxers, Doberman pinschers, English bulldogs, Great Danes, Weimaraners, and Mastiffs. These breeds all have a genetic predisposition for developing acne. 

There is a general consciousness that canine acne tends to be more common in short-haired breeds. With their short coat and wrinkled faces, pugs are the perfect candidates for bacterial buildup and acne. Pimples are a common health issue for pugs, and nothing to worry too much about. 

Signs of Pug Acne

Acne in pugs can vary in severity and size; pimples on pugs can be anything from a couple of minor bumps to a more severe breakout. 

Signs of pug acne include:

  • Red bumps, especially on the face but can also be found on the body or belly
  • Pus-filled pimples and blackheads, similar to human acne
  • Open or bleeding wounds caused when your dog rubs their face on something and the pimples burst
  • Inflammation
  • Pain or irritation
  • Scars and scabbing

Your dog may have a milk breakout to something more severe. A mild dog acne breakout includes a few reddened bumps that may later develop into pus-filled pimples. 

A more severe breakout has the addition of swelling and inflammation. Severe breakouts are much more uncomfortable and painful for your dog. Sometimes, in an attempt to soothe their itchy, irritated skin, your dog may itch and rub its face against things. If they do so consistently, they may cause bleeding. 

If you see bleeding or open wounds, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to prevent infection and permanent scarring. 

Also, be sure not to confuse your pug’s whisker bumps for pimples. These are regular features of your dog’s face. Even though they may look like pimples, whisker bumps will not develop whiteheads or fill with puss. 

Causes of Pug Acne

Acne in pugs is caused by a buildup of oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells on their skin that becomes trapped in their hair follicles. There are a few reasons why this occurs.

Genetic predisposition

As mentioned before, canine acne is more common in particular breeds that have a genetic predisposition for developing spots. Some dog breeds, like Rottweilers, Dobermans, Mastiffs, and Boxers, experience acne at higher rates. 

If you are curious about your pug’s predisposition for pug pimples, check out their family history to see if it runs in the family. 

can pugs get pimples


Dogs with allergies generally have a weakened immune system and are more likely to develop acne. Any existing skin condition or allergy can also cause acne as a side effect.

If you can properly treat and control your dog’s allergies, that may help prevent pimples as well. 

Poor Hygiene

With their wrinkled faces and multiple skin folds, pugs have the perfect conditions for creating bacterial buildup, especially when their faces are not kept clean. Poor hygiene is one of the many causes of dog acne, from excess oil and dirt that can become trapped in hair follicles.

Like in humans, your pug’s face needs to be washed and kept clean. Wiping your pug’s face after each meal, brushing their teeth, and bathing them regularly will help keep them clean. 

Skin Trauma

When your pug’s skin is damaged for various reasons, especially around their face, those hairs can break off, and the hair follicles can rupture. This damage leaves a perfect spot for bacteria to collect, causing infection and acne. 

Contact Irritation

Similar to skin trauma, irritation from your pug rubbing its face against certain items, like food and water bowls, can cause pimples and acne. Some materials can cause an allergic reaction if your dog has sensitive skin. Or they can harbor bacteria, which transfers to your dog when they rub their face against it. 

Sexual Maturity

When a dog reaches puberty at around five to eight months, its hormones fluctuate. This fluctuation can cause excess oil and dead skin cells to collect, clogging hair follicles and causing pug pimples. 

This is why canine acne is more often seen in younger dogs and less likely in older dogs whose hormones have balanced out or have been neutered. 

Treatments and Remedies for Pug Pimples

Unfortunately, your dog’s age and breed significantly influence whether or not they will get acne. You cannot help with either of these factors. However, you can help with the other causes of pug pimples, especially in the hygiene department. 

As mentioned before, bathing your pug regularly and keeping their face clean and dry will help prevent pimples. Avoiding using plastic bowls and toys, since plastic can harbor bacteria, will also help.

If your dog already has acne starting to flare up, there is a remedy you can do to treat it at home. You can try dog acne shampoo, specifically one that contains benzoyl peroxide. Flushing your pug’s hair follicles with this medicated acne shampoo will help clear up acne and reduce the bacteria present. 

For more severe cases of canine acne, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics if the outbreak is nasty and bleeding. 

If your dog has a bad case of swelling and itchiness with their acne, your vet may prescribe a steroid to help reduce the swelling and give them some relief. 

To Wrap Up – Can Pugs Get Pimples?

Like in humans, pugs can also get pimples and acne, although the root causes are different. Seeing a veterinarian when acne shows up is always the best course of action. 

rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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About PugFacts

PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.