Pyoderma In Dogs: What You Should Know

Pyoderma In Dogs: What You Should Know

Alpha Paw Sale

Jan 10, 2024

What Is Pyoderma In Dogs?

Pyoderma is an extremely common skin condition diagnosed by veterinarians. It is a bacterial skin infection that creates rashes and lesions on your dog’s skin. Many times, there is an underlying reason your dog has developed pyoderma. There are multiple forms of pyoderma in dogs.

Superficial Pyoderma

This is one of the most common types of pyoderma seen in dogs. Superficial means that the bacterial infection is only on the outer layers of the skin. Because it is more superficial, it may take less time to treat than deep pyoderma.

Deep Pyoderma

Deep pyoderma in dogs occurs when the bacterial infection is occurring within multiple layers of the skin. Deep pyoderma infections may take longer to treat because the infection is occurring deep within the layers of the skin. Pyoderma gangrenosum is an extremely rare form of pyoderma that has been reported in dogs. There have only been a few reports of this condition in dogs.

Puppy Pyoderma

Puppy pyoderma, as the name suggests, is a bacterial skin infection that occurs in puppies. This is typically a superficial skin infection that results in red bumps and pimples on your puppy’s belly.

Pyoderma in dogs: what you should know

What causes dog pyoderma?

Merck Veterinary Manual reports that Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is the most common bacterial organism causing pyoderma in dogs. This bacteria lives and grows on the skin normally, but infection occurs when this bacteria overgrows. This can be common in moist and warm areas of the skin such as armpits, lip folds, or facial folds.

Often, there is an underlying cause for bacterial overgrowth. The most common predisposing factors for pyoderma in dogs are:

What Are Signs Of Pyoderma In Dogs?

Pyoderma dogs have skin lesions that can vary in appearance. Sometimes a dog with pyoderma has itchy bumps filled with clear liquid. Other times, these bumps are red and don’t itch. According to veterinarians at VCA specialty hospital, the most common symptoms of pyoderma in dogs include:

  • Pustules (pimples)
  • Papules (red bumps)
  • Epidermal collarettes (circular crusts)
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Patchy hair loss
  • Redness of the skin

How Do You Diagnose Pyoderma In Dogs?

The first step in diagnosing dog pyoderma is to visit your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam on your dog and can often diagnose pyoderma on visual inspection of your dog’s skin. Your veterinarian may wish to perform skin tests to look for bacteria and yeast under the microscope. In addition, they may perform a skin scrape to look for evidence of mites. Veterinarians may wish to perform a culture of the skin if the bacterial infection is recurring or if it does not resolve with antibiotic therapy.

Is Pyoderma In Dogs Contagious To Humans?

Typically, most forms of pyoderma in dogs are not contagious to humans. That being said, there have been reports of humans developing skin infections from dogs. The highest risk of getting infected occurs if you are immunocompromised. If you are concerned, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian and medical doctor.

Top Supplements for Your Dog’s Skin & Coat

Nourish your dog’s skin and coat with our curated selection of top supplements, specially formulated to enhance their natural radiance. Packed with essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, and vitamins, these supplements promote healthy skin, reduce itching, and contribute to a lustrous coat.

Fera pets fish oil for dog and cat with dha, epa, vitamin e and omega-3 fatty acids – liquid fish
  • Fish oil sustainably sourced from the clean and pristine Atlantic waters of Iceland.
  • Made with wild caught sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel.
  • Supports the immune system of your pup as well as brain health.
  • Keeps your paw-tner’s skin and coat soft and shiny with high amounts of EPA and DHA.
  • Provides support for joint strength and flexibility while promoting heart function and normal circulation.
Omega 3 alaskan fish oil treats for dogs (180 ct) - dry & itchy skin relief + allergy support - shin
  • Helps alleviate allergy symptoms such as itching and paw licking while bolstering your dog's immune response to allergens.
  • Omega-rich formula works to reduce hotspots and shedding while promoting a soft, shiny coat.
  • Makes a pleasant-smelling alternative to liquid salmon oil.
  • Ideal for dogs of all ages, these chews also include amino acids and vitamins to support healthy joints, mobility, and energy levels.
  • The tempting chicken and bacon flavor makes these soft chews easy to administer.
Wild alaskan salmon oil for dogs & cats - omega 3 skin & coat support - liquid food supplement for p
  • This natural fish oil additive supplement works to support your pal’s skin, coat, hips and joints, heart and immune system.
  • The premium salmon oil is rich with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids from EPA and DHA to promote soft skin, a shiny coat and good overall health.
  • May also help support proper hip, joint, heart and immune function.
  • Makes a yummy alternative to capsules or soft chew supplements—simply add to your pet’s favorite meal.
  • Great for small, medium and large breed dogs or cats.
Fera pets - skin and coat supplement for dogs and cats - goats milk for dogs - goat milk for cats -
  • Crafted in the USA using high quality standards, zero fillers, and 100% recyclable pouches.
  • This tasty food topper for dogs and cats helps maintain your pet’s skin and coat health.
  • Features thoughtful ingredients like collagen, vitamin C and biotin to promote strong, healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  • Goat’s milk contains a unique blend of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that make this supplement easy to digest.
  • Collagen supports skin hydration, elasticity, coat thickness, and shine, while biotin promotes keratin production to maintain a healthy skin and shiny coat.
Pet naturals skin and coat for dogs with dry, itchy and irritated skin, 30 chews - salmon oil, vitam
  • Essential fatty acid supplements designed to help your dog achieve a healthy and shiny coat
  • Salmon oil maintains sheen and luster and can offer your dog support for healthy skin elasticity
  • Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to keep your pup in top shape
  • Beneficial for dogs with allergies, helping to improve their coat appearance and feel
  • Naturally delicious and veterinary formulated, made in the USA

How Do You Treat Pyoderma In Dogs?

The superficial pyoderma dog treatment usually consists of an oral antibiotic and a topical antibacterial shampoo. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions on the duration of antibiotic therapy. The rule of thumb is to give oral antibiotics for 7 to 10 days past the resolution of clinical signs. This usually means that you will be giving oral antibiotics for 3 to 6 weeks on average for a superficial infection. Deep infections may take 8 to 12 weeks to heal.

The most common antibiotics used to treat pyoderma in dogs include:

If the infection returns after your dog stops antibiotics, your veterinarian may wish to do additional tests or treatments to determine the underlying cause of the infection. Often, recurrent skin infections are caused by some type of allergy. Dogs with allergies may also be extremely itchy and have recurrent ear infections.

If your veterinarian suspects your dog’s pyoderma is caused by allergies, your dog may need to be placed on a long-term allergy medication like Cytopoint or Apoquel. In addition, fatty acid supplements may be helpful in reducing the itchiness that your dog is experiencing from allergies.

Pyoderma in dogs: what you should know

Best Dog Food for Pyoderma

If your veterinarian suspects a food allergy as the underlying cause for the pyoderma, they may recommend a food trial with a low allergen dog food. The most common dog allergies are to proteins including chicken and beef. Contrary to popular belief, grains are not common causes of allergies in dogs. Prescription veterinary diets contain low levels of allergens or a unique protein. The pet foods I use most often for food trials in dogs include:

  • Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d

Will pyoderma go away on its own?

Unfortunately, pyoderma will not usually go away on its own. The body can not fight off bacterial infections like pyoderma without some assistance from antibiotics. If you suspect your dog has pyoderma, I recommend taking your dog to a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will likely prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the bacterial skin infection.

When should I visit the vet?

Anytime your dog is experiencing a new or unusual symptom, you should visit your veterinarian. If your dog has any skin lesions or is itchy, it would be a good idea to visit your veterinarian. Skin infections will often heal faster if they are treated promptly. If a skin infection is left untreated, it will often get worse.

Alpha Paw Sale
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Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian who lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and currently practices in the central Kentucky region. Dr. Addie has special interests in preventative care, dermatology, and diseases, and she enjoys creating helpful educational resources related to these topics to help pet parents keep their four-legged family members happy and healthy. We love Dr. Addie’s passion for providing reliable veterinary insight and medical advice to help pet parents like us give their pups the happy & healthy lives they deserve!


The medical, nutritional, or behavioral advice we provide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our editorial content is not a substitute for formal or personalized medical advice from a veterinary professional. Only board-certified veterinary specialists who have examined your pet should diagnose medical conditions, provide personalized treatment, or prescribe appropriate medication. For questions regarding your pet’s health, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness, injury, or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.