If your dog has dark spots on the skin, this is not a disease, but rather a reaction of the dog’s body that can have various causes.
It is therefore important to identify and treat possible causes of the skin changes. You can find out what causes this can be in this article.
In a nutshell: Why is my dog’s skin turning dark?
If you notice blackening of the skin on your dog, this is also known as hyperpigmentation. The dark spots are a result of an increase in the amount of melanin, a dark brown pigment that gives color to your dog’s skin and is produced by melanocytes, cells in the dog’s epidermis.
The hyperpigmentation may be localized as one or more patches or areas on the animal’s body or may extend over the entire skin surface.
Skin turns black in dogs: 6 causes
If your dog has dark spots on its stomach, this is a non-specific symptom that can have several causes. The following paragraphs explain what these can be.
1. Skin tumors
Your dog’s skin is exposed to UV rays and environmental toxins. But a genetic predisposition can also lead to the formation of tumors. These often begin in dark color pigments in the skin.
The most common skin tumors are:
- mast cell tumor
- squamous cell carcinoma
- Cutaneous Lymphoma
In order to diagnose a tumor early, you should definitely consult a veterinarian. With a simple cell removal, an exact diagnosis can be made quickly and further treatment steps can be initiated.
At the same time, you should examine your dog’s skin regularly. Depending on how quickly they spread, tumors can be benign or malignant. If bumps form under the affected areas of skin, it is high time to see a veterinarian.
2. Pruritic dermatitis
This is repeated trauma to the dog’s skin, often associated with early and chronic scratching.
If your dog is constantly itching and you often and regularly observe that your dog scratches itself, this may be pruritic dermatitis.
You should consult a veterinarian for an exact diagnosis. In addition to medication, a change in diet can also be considered for treatment.
Alopecia occurs recurrently, usually on your dog’s flanks.
This is a still little-known skin disease for which a genetic predisposition is suspected. This disease is manifested by hair loss (alopecia) on the flank of the dog. At the same time, this spot has dark spots. This effect occurs mostly in winter.
Breeds prone to this condition include boxers, labs, bulldogs, schnauzers, airedale terriers, poodles, or even korthals.
4. Alopecia X
Alopecia X is a syndrome whose origin is unknown but which causes hair loss.
This begins at friction surfaces such as the neck and flanks. In addition, the skin on the hairless areas turns black. Young male dogs can be prone to this syndrome.
5. Melanoderma and Alopecia
Melanoderma and alopecia is also known as Cutaneous Ear Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by hair loss and pigment spots on the ears and on the muzzle between the nose and eyes.
6. Endocrine diseases
An endocrine disease such as Cushing’s syndrome or hyperestrogenism can also cause skin pigmentation disorders.
Although the sudden appearance of black spots on a dog isn’t usually a big deal, there are situations where veterinary attention is needed. A sign that the dark spots may be something more serious is if the spots are accompanied by other symptoms.
These symptoms include hair loss, bleeding, fluid-filled bumps, or a crusty appearance of the skin, among others.
Symptoms like crusted skin and hairless patches are linked to a condition known as alopecia X, or black skin disease.
It is a genetic condition that primarily affects male dogs of northern breeds such as the Pomeranian and Alaskan Malamute. A hormonal imbalance is generally assumed to be the cause of the disease.
Hormonal disorders can be treated with medication. Supplements or dietary changes can also help your dog.
Neutering your dog can also help bring your dog’s hormone levels back into balance.
When do I have to go to the vet?
You should take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups. This ensures that skin or hormone diseases can be diagnosed and treated quickly.
Regular checks will help maintain not only the health of the skin, but also its overall general condition.
Dates for vaccinations or deworming cures that are due anyway are ideal for check-ups. You can combine that with each other.
You should always consider a vet visit if you notice any sudden changes in your dog, especially if bumps form under the discolored areas.
Darkening of the skin in dogs is not always a sign of a serious illness. However, if the dark patches on your dog’s skin are itchy, progressive, and spreading, you should see a veterinarian.
The same applies if, in addition to the black spots, other lesions appear on the skin. It is then advisable to visit a veterinarian without waiting too long.
If your dog has black spots on its stomach, treatment varies from dog to dog. There is no one set procedure that will work for every dog. The overriding goal of treatment is for the dog’s fur to grow back and prevent renewed hair loss.
You should consider neutering your dog and have it done as the first step in treatment.
Skin health is critical to your dog’s overall condition. Your role in this is very important in preventing disease and maintaining skin health.
Therefore, always examine your dog, take them to the vet for a check-up, feed and care for them properly, and make sure they are diagnosed with a skin condition and that your pet is receiving the right treatment.