Pyoderma in dogs is a bacterial skin infection that can affect dogs of all ages, including puppies. It's essential to recognize the signs, understand the causes, and know how to treat and care for your furry friend. 

In this blog, we will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for pyoderma in dogs, as well as provide home care tips. Let's learn how to keep our dogs' skin healthy and free from infection.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that commonly affects dogs of all ages, including puppies.
  • Treatment for pyoderma may not be necessary as it often clears up independently. 
  • If symptoms persist or worsen despite home care efforts, it's important to schedule a veterinary check-up for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment options.

What is Pyoderma in Dogs?

Pyoderma in dogs is a mild bacterial skin infection that commonly affects dogs of all ages. It is characterized by the presence of red bumps on the skin, typically found in areas with less hair like the belly, armpits, groin, and chin. Pyoderma usually stays localized and does not spread or penetrate deep into the skin. While it is generally not serious and tends to clear up without causing long-lasting effects, proper treatment may be required in some cases.

What Causes Pyoderma in Dogs?

Pyoderma in dogs can occur due to various factors. Dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to bacterial skin infections, including pyoderma. Other contributing factors may include allergies, hormonal imbalances, parasites, underlying skin conditions, or irritants like chemicals. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus intermedius, commonly found on the skin, can multiply excessively, leading to pyoderma.

Signs & Symptoms of Pyoderma in Dogs

Dog owners need to be aware of the symptoms and signs of pyoderma to ensure early detection and prompt treatment. You can provide the necessary care and seek veterinary assistance by recognizing these signs:

  • Red, Raised Bumps: Dogs with pyoderma often develop red bumps on their skin. These bumps may be raised and look like pimples.
  • Pus-Filled Heads: Some of the bumps may have a white or yellowish pus-filled head, similar to whiteheads in humans.
  • Dry, Flaky Skin: Circular areas of dry and flaky skin, called epidermal collarettes, can appear around the bumps.
  • No Itching or Pain: Most dogs with pyoderma do not experience itching or pain. The condition is usually not bothersome for them.
  • Limited to Certain Areas: Pyoderma tends to stay localized in specific areas with less hair, such as the belly, armpits, groin, and chin. It doesn't spread to other parts of the body.

Additionally, dogs with pyoderma usually maintain their normal appetite and overall health. While the skin infection may be present, it does not typically affect their overall well-being.


How is Dog Pyoderma Diagnosed?

Veterinarians can often diagnose pyoderma in dogs by physically examining the affected areas. However, additional diagnostic tests may be recommended if the condition does not resolve or worsens. These tests may include taking a skin swab for culture and sensitivity, which helps identify the specific bacteria causing the infection and determine appropriate antibiotics for treatment. Sometimes, hair plucks, or skin biopsies may be conducted if the veterinarian suspects a different skin condition.

Treatment for Pyoderma in Dogs

Treating pyoderma in dogs is often unnecessary as it tends to clear up independently. Here are some simple steps you can take:

  • Monitor the Area: Keep an eye on the affected area and observe any changes. In many cases, monitoring is enough to allow the pyoderma to heal.
  • Salty Water Baths: Gently bathing the area with salty water a few times a day can be beneficial. It helps keep the area clean and may aid in the healing process.
  • Antibacterial Wash or Cream: In some instances, veterinarians may recommend using an antibacterial wash or antibiotic cream on the affected area to promote healing.
  • Oral Medications: If the pyoderma persists, becomes itchy, or affects deeper layers of the skin, oral medications like antibiotics or steroid tablets may be prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Caution with Human Products: Always consult with your veterinarian before using any human creams or ointments on your dog's skin, as they can potentially worsen the condition.

Remember, pyoderma is not contagious, so no special precautions are needed. If you have concerns or the condition worsens, seek professional advice from your veterinarian.

Pyoderma in Dogs Home Treatment

Home treatment for pyoderma in dogs focuses on maintaining cleanliness and supporting overall skin health. Here's what you can do:

  • Keep the Skin Clean: Regularly clean your dog's skin, especially in areas with less hair. Use mild pet-friendly products and avoid using human shampoos or harsh chemicals.
  • Parasite Prevention: Stay consistent with flea and tick treatment to reduce skin irritation caused by these parasites. Follow your veterinarian's recommendations for the most effective preventive measures.
  • Quality Diet: Provide your dog with a high-quality diet specifically formulated for puppies. A balanced diet supports proper immune system development and helps maintain a healthy skin barrier.

By practicing good hygiene, preventing parasites, and supporting your dog's overall health, you can minimize the risk of pyoderma and promote a healthy skin condition in your furry companion. Always consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance.

Pyoderma in Puppies

Pyoderma can also affect puppies due to their immature immune systems and sensitive skin. Puppies are more susceptible to skin infections, including pyoderma, compared to adult dogs. The condition in puppies may manifest similarly to adult dogs, with red papules and flaky skin. Monitoring the affected areas and ensuring cleanliness is essential. If pyoderma persists, worsens, or causes discomfort in puppies, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for appropriate diagnosis and treatment options.


Caring for your dog's skin health is crucial, and knowing the signs and treatment options for pyoderma can help you provide the best care for your furry companion. Remember, if you notice persistent symptoms or if your dog's condition worsens despite home care efforts, scheduling a veterinary dermatological check-up is essential. 

A veterinarian can diagnose properly and recommend appropriate treatment options tailored to your dog's needs. You can ensure your dog's skin stays healthy and happy by staying proactive and seeking professional advice when needed. Schedule a veterinary check-up if you have concerns about your dog's skin health.

Talk to a veterinarian online with BetterVet if you have additional questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is dog pyoderma serious?

Dog pyoderma is generally not serious and tends to clear up without causing long-lasting effects. However, proper treatment may be required in some cases.

Is pyoderma in dogs contagious?

No, pyoderma in dogs is not contagious. You don't need to worry about it spreading to other pets or humans.

Can pyoderma kill a dog?

Pyoderma itself is unlikely to be life-threatening for dogs. However, if left untreated, severe cases or underlying conditions may pose risks to their health.

Is pyoderma in dogs contagious to humans?

No, pyoderma in dogs is not contagious to humans. It is a bacterial skin infection specific to dogs and does not affect humans.