Oct. 27.2021

What Is Impetigo, How to Diagnose and Treat It: Can You Get Impetigo from a Dog

What Is Impetigo

Veterinarians agree that skin infections are common in dogs. This is usually due to the presence of bacteria on your pet’s skin. Is impetigo meaning a type of skin infection? Yes, and it is most often found in young dogs under one year old, in other words, it is a childhood disease. We will tell you what it is in more detail, how to recognize it, and which way is the most effective puppy impetigo treatment!

What Is Impetigo?

Any type of skin infection can be designated by the term impetigo. In simpler words, it is pus on the skin, which has different clarifications – superficial and deep. Impetigo in puppies can be caused by overgrowth of staphylococci, but also by other strains of bacteria. It is not as contagious as it is in humans, so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting infected from another dog. Can you get impetigo from a dog? No, you can’t, it is totally safe for you to be in contact with an infected dog. Most often, the rash that appears as a result of the infection would disappear over time, but the right antibiotics can speed up this process. Only a veterinarian will be able to determine if your dog needs immediate treatment or not.

Symptoms and Causes of Early Stage of Impetigo

Symptoms and Causes of Early Stage of Impetigo

A superficial infection affects the top layer of cells, which is usually located in the layers of fat. And with a deep infection, the top layer of cells and hair are affected. Puppy impetigo can be detected even in its early stages, because among the common signs of the disease:

  • redness and inflammation of the skin;
  • itching;
  • rash or blisters;
  • behavior change. For example, an active dog becomes lethargic or displays excessive apathy.

Symptoms can vary depending on the form of the disease. So, with superficial impetigo in dogs, slight seals appear on the skin. And with a deep form, these seals begin to fester. Additional symptoms may include redness, blistering, and sores. Your pet may also have a fever.


No analysis or experienced veterinarian would help determine the cause of impetigo. Also, if your dog has endocrine or skin damage, then the risk is higher. Other diseases that also increase your risk include:

  • fleas;
  • food allergy;
  • scabies;
  • lichen;
  • insect bites;
  • thyroid problems;
  • hormonal disorders.

Some dog breeds can be susceptible to skin infections, such as Bulldogs.

Dog Impetigo: Treatment and Diagnosis

How to Treat Impetigo

This is not a fatal disease, but if the pathology has been neglected, and the dog is exhausted and did not receive timely medical attention and competent care, the dog may die. Therefore, it is best not to experiment and if puppy impetigo has been diagnosed, home treatment is best avoided. In 99% of cases, the treatment prescribed by an experienced veterinarian guarantees the complete recovery of the pet. But your help would also be needed, because the treatment will not work if the dog constantly licks the affected areas. How can a veterinarian diagnose a skin infection? Visual examination may not be enough, so blood chemistry and allergy tests are often done.

How to Treat Impetigo?

Treatments for your puppy’s impetigo usually include shampoo, cream, and antibiotics. In severe cases, or if your puppy has an underlying medical condition causing impetigo, additional medications or treatment may be needed.

  • There are many medicated shampoos available for this condition, but your veterinarian would be able to tell you which one is best for your dog. Some options are benzoyl peroxide, and chlorhexidine. The vet would tell how often to use the shampoo, but usually it is used once or twice a week for a month.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe some topical creams or ointments, including mupirocin, polymyxin, and neomycin.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe a systemic antibiotic for 6 to 8 weeks. In some cases, more than one course of antibiotics may be required due to resistant bacteria.

The transferred impetigo can leave scars on the body of the dog. In addition, there is a sharp decrease in immunity and regular relapses. At the slightest suspicion of it, you should immediately contact a veterinary clinic. Since the real cause of impetigo is not fully understood, it can be difficult to prevent it. It is impossible to prevent hormonal imbalances or problems with the dog’s immune system. You can make sure they live in a clean environment, free of fleas, urine, or feces. Clean their bedding and toys often. For toys that can be machine washed, use detergents that do not contain dyes or fragrances. Use a mild detergent for toys that cannot be machine washed. Keeping them informed about the latest flea prevention tools is also key. If you notice some unusual symptoms, you need to contact your vet, who can give useful tips of how to get rid of impetigo. If your dog has already had this infection, share in the comments how quickly you were able to cure your pet!

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