Impetigo in Dogs: What to Do

Brindle & White Bulldog Puppy

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by pus. This type of skin illness is widespread in dogs, thanks to the abundance of germs that dwell on their skin. Impetigo, often known as puppy pyoderma, is a skin ailment that affects mostly young or adolescent dogs. It is not communicable to humans (you will not catch it from your dog) and will occasionally go away on its own. Learn how to recognize impetigo and whether it's an issue that needs to be treated by a veterinarian.

What Is Impetigo (Puppy Pyoderma)?

Pyoderma is a word used to describe any form of skin infection. It literally means "skin pus." Impetigo is most commonly caused by an excess of Staphylococcus germs, but other bacterial types can also cause it. It is commonly detected in pups that have been kept in unsanitary conditions, but this does not suggest that all puppies with impetigo live in a filthy environment. It's a skin illness caused by germs that are already present on your dog's skin. Because impetigo is not infectious like it is in humans, you don't have to worry about your dog contracting it from another dog (or you catching it from your dog).

Symptoms of Impetigo

Pustules (little, pus-filled lumps), papules (small, red, raised bumps), and epidermal collarettes may appear in a dog with impetigo (circular lesions with crusting around the edges). You may also notice your dog scratching the skin in the afflicted regions. Hair loss in your dog is also a possibility. The midsection and chin of your dog are the most probable locations to be impacted. If your dog's impetigo has worsened, they may appear sad, lying about the house more and not eating as much.


The exact etiology of impetigo is unknown, however dogs with a damaged immune system, endocrine system, or skin injury are at a higher risk of contracting it. Flea infestation, a food allergy, bug stings, mange, or ringworm are all things that might put your dog at danger. Thyroid problems or other hormonal abnormalities might make your dog more susceptible to impetigo.

Impetigo may be inherited in some breeds. Bully breeds such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, and Boxers, as well as Shar-Peis, fall under this category. Your dog's impetigo may last from puberty to maturity in certain circumstances.

Diagnosing Impetigo

Your veterinarian will order diagnostic tests depending on your dog's clinical symptoms and medical history. Skin cytologies will reveal any bacterial, fungal, or mite infestations to your veterinarian. If your dog has low thyroid levels, blood testing will reveal this. A diet trial is the most effective technique to identify a food allergy. This entails solely giving your dog a hydrolyzed prescription diet for 8-12 weeks. During this period, no additional foods, snacks, or treats are permitted.


Impetigo is a very benign ailment in dogs that is readily treated. Some instances may even resolve without the need for therapy. If your dog's impetigo requires treatment, antibiotics are usually prescribed. This can be localized if the problem is minor, or systemic (oral) if the problem is significant. Antibiotics are usually only given to your dog for a few weeks, but more serious infections may require extended treatment. Inform your veterinarian if your dog has any antibiotic sensitivities or allergies. Your veterinarian may also recommend a wash to help clean up your dog's sores. Impetigo is a non-life threatening skin infection that generally stays localized, seldom spreading and rarely leading to deeper skin diseases.


Because the exact etiology of impetigo is unknown, avoiding it might be difficult. Hormonal imbalances and immune system problems in your dog are unavoidable. You can keep them in a clean environment that is devoid of fleas, urine, and feces. Clean their bedding and toys on a regular basis, using colour and smell free detergent for machine washable toys and mild dish soap for non-washable items. It's also important to keep them up to date on their flea prevention. Flea preventatives are widely accessible, and may be found at pet supply stores and your veterinarian's office. However, not all flea repellents are created equal. Your veterinarian can advise you on which products are safe to use and which to avoid.

Impetigo can be a nuisance to your growing puppy, but most cases are mild and most dogs do grow out of flare ups. If you have any questions about your dog's impetigo, speak to your veterinarian.