Discoloration of your dog’s skin is often relatively normal and harmless and also goes by the name of hyperpigmentation. It’s definitely the kind of thing you’ll want to get checked out by a professional, as it could be a sign of something more serious in rarer cases. Don’t worry, though; we’re going to go through the potential causes of black spots on dog skin one by one, so you’ll know exactly what to do next.

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  1. Signs of Black Spots on Dog Skin
  2. Causes of Black Spots on My Dog Skin
  3. How to Treat Dog Skin Black Spots
  4. How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

Signs of Black Spots on Dog Skin

Also known by the medical name Acanthis Nigricans, hyperpigmentation, or black spots on the skin, is just as the name suggests: black spots on the skin of your dog. They could almost be mistaken for moles in some cases, but if your dog has black spots on the skin and is losing hair, it is less likely to be a mole.

Characterized by black or light-to-dark brown patches on the skin, black spots can also bring the following symptoms, depending on the type:

  • Skin thickening;
  • Velvet-like feeling;
  • Hair loss;
  • Redness;
  • Inflammation;
  • Odd smell;
  • Yeast infections;
  • Displaying pain behavior.

The location of these patches can depend on the type of hyperpigmentation your dog has, but they are usually found around the eyes, in or around the ears, anywhere on the abdomen, in leg creases, and also throughout the groin. If your pet is obese, the folds of skin will be vulnerable to flare-ups, and wrinkly dogs with lots of folds are also more likely to develop the spots.

As always, if you notice anything different in your pet, whether it’s lumps, bumps, eating changes, or skin changes, have a chat with a vet. Petcube’s vets are digitally available 24/7 for chats just like it.

Causes of Black Spots on My Dog Skin

Black spots on your dog’s skin are not a medical condition, instead, they are symptoms of another underlying issue. For that reason, you shouldn’t ignore the discolorations and should make an appointment with your vet to get them checked out.

There are two types of hyperpigmentation: primary and secondary. Primary is rarer and is usually obvious and diagnosed when they’re puppy-aged, up to one year. Dachshund breeds tend to experience primary hyperpigmentation more than any other breed.

MSD Vet Manual research shows that secondary hyperpigmentation has a long list of potential causes, including:

All dogs, regardless of breed, size, age, and coat type (long, short, etc.), can develop secondary hyperpigmentation, and for the most part, it is a cosmetic issue rather than a life-threatening one.

How to Treat Dog Skin Black Spots

If your four-legged friend has secondary hyperpigmentation or black spots, the root cause of the symptom is addressed once diagnostic testing has highlighted the culprit. Once that issue has been resolved, the black spots on your dog’s skin will go away.

If the issue is obesity-causing folds of skin and contact dermatitis, your vet will likely advise on a controlled diet, increased and regular exercise, and skin treatments (such as shampoos or baths) to get any irritation and discomfort under control. Hormonal imbalances, on the other hand, will require hormone-balancing treatments, such as oral tablets or liquid medications.

There is no cure for primary hyperpigmentation. Ongoing management and treatments, such as antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections and specially formulated shampoo washes, help to keep symptoms at a minimum.

Your vet might advise preventative treatments and routines, such as antifungal and antibacterial products, to keep recurrent bouts of hyperpigmentation at bay.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

A small bacterial infection can very quickly turn into a very big problem if it isn’t treated, and sepsis, which is what happens when bacteria travel to your bloodstream, can kill humans and pets alike in hours.

Thankfully, with Petcube’s Emergency Fund, you’ll not only have access to up to $3,000 worth of emergency vet care, protecting up to six pets, but you’ll also gain access to qualified and friendly veterinarians around the clock. A quick chat with one of the team members could be the difference between life and the absolute worst possible outcome for you and your pet, and all for less than a dollar per day.

As a loyal blog reader, you’ll get 27% off by following this link — and thank you, from Petcube!


Is my dog’s black spot cancer?

The only way to really tell, one way or another, is to make an appointment with your vet. Once you explain your concerns, the vet will perform a physical examination alongside other diagnostic tests, such as blood, urine, and stool samples. Those tests will lead to a diagnosis, which will then lead to treatment. Your pet won’t get any treatment if you don’t take that first step.

Is there a natural treatment for black skin disease in dogs?

It’s best to consult with your vet before trying natural or holistic treatments for your dog’s skin issue. Dog-safe shampoos or other products that contain antifungal and antibacterial properties can help with skin irritation and other issues, so look for ingredients such as mint, tea tree oil, lavender, and apple cider vinegar.


Until your dog is checked out, the dark spots could be hyperpigmentation, cancer, or a whole host of other things. By not having them medically checked, you are essentially playing Russian roulette with your pet’s health, and if the issue is hyperpigmentation, regular treatments, and preventative measures will go a long way toward reducing the problem.

Why not have a chat with one of Petcube’s vets today? At best, your mind will be put at ease. At worst, you’ll need to book a vet’s appointment. It’s a no-brainer, really.

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