Brown Spots on Puppy's Belly
Many puppies will have colour variation on the skin that is completely normal and is just pigmentation. These areas are usually flush with the rest of the skin and not red, itchy or discharging. These such areas do not need any treatment or intervention and are completely normal skin pigment.
Abnormal spots on a puppy’s belly are not at all uncommon and, in the vast majority of cases, are nothing serious. There are a few things however to keep an eye out for and that you may need to act on.
Puppy pyoderma is an extremely common skin complaint that can be self resolving, but is best to initially be viewed and assessed by your veterinarian. Puppy pyoderma is where pus fill spots form on the skin, often on the belly, groin or armpit area. In some instances these lesions will dry up on their own but, especially if puppy is scratching at the area, may need treatment to prevent them deteriorating. Anything that makes puppy scratch the area more can act as a trigger for infection and so it is important to check whether there are any infections or infestations present such as fleas, mites, lice, ticks or fungal infections. All of these can usually be addressed and managed easily with no long term implications, once diagnosed by your veterinarian. Parasites such as fleas, ticks and lice are usually visible to the naked eye. Some parasites and other pathogens require more advanced diagnostic testing to recongnise.
It is nice to sit with the dog, and give a run on the abdomen, but when you see the spots on the belly skin, it can be frightening. Maybe you have no idea what it is, and probably do not know how long they’ve been there. In many cases, these spots are very natural and may be present from birth. Some dogs develop brown spots on the skin when they get older. They are not itchy or scaly, the skin is not thick and does not cause any harm to the dog at all. There is no need to worry about this, however, if there are spots that obviously itch or bleeding yellow or green pus, then it would be good to have your veterinarian take a look. Otherwise, there is no need to worry!
In some cases, this is normal; as the dog matures there are hormonal changes that can cause these spots. The spot might stay, but most likely your dog’s stomach will again return to the normal pink color. My dog once had all pink belly and developed spots, which are gone now. It is likely that it’s only pigmentation formation. My dog developed more pigmentation as he got older. If the spot is actually itching, you can use medicated dog shampoo with selenium, this is usually used to treat dog skin bacterial infections. These shampoos clean at the base of the hair follicles, which helps eliminate the infection. Selsun blue is generally used for this purpose. Shampoo containing chlorhexidine can help with infections of the dog's skin caused by bacteria, ringworm or yeast. You can also use iodine based shampoo for bacterial and fungal infection.
Edited by: Dr. James Blanshard
BVM&S GPcertEM&S MRCVS
James graduated in 2003 from the University of Edinburgh, R(D)SVS. He has worked in a range of veterinary settings from 1st opinion clinics to specialist hospitals in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. He has completed an in-residence, postgraduate training position run jointly by The Calgary Zoo and the University of Calgary, Canada in zoological medicine (exotic/non domestic species) and is also the holder of an ISVPS certificate in Emergency Medicine and Surgery (GPcert EM&S). By working at Perrovet James hopes to provide our pets and pet parents with high quality 1st opinion veterinary services and the personable and caring service that you deserve.