SHIH TZU 4U

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Shih Tzu Skin Problems - Black Spots

As a Shih Tzu owner, you may have noticed black spots appearing on your dog’s skin and wondered what they could be.

 

IMPORTANT – While they are usually harmless, these spots could be a sign of an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

 

In this article, we aim to shed light on the possible causes of black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin and the available treatment options.

Article Contents

Why Does A Shih Tzu's Skin Turn Black?

The appearance of black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin can be due to a variety of causes, including infections, diseases, and other underlying conditions. One possible explanation for black spots on a dog’s skin is the presence of melanin, the pigment that provides color to the skin, fur, and eyes.

 

An increase in melanin production in certain areas of the skin can result in the appearance of black spots.

 

Infections such as fungal and bacterial infections can also cause black spots on a dog’s skin. These infections can cause the accumulation of pigment-producing cells, leading to an increase in melanin production and the appearance of black spots.

 

In some cases, black spots on a dog’s skin may be a result of an underlying medical condition, such as melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. This cancer can cause the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells, leading to the formation of black spots on the skin.

 

Trauma or injury to the skin can also result in the formation of black spots. In these cases, the accumulation of blood and other cellular debris in the damaged area can cause the skin to turn black.

 

Additionally, exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun can cause the skin to turn black, a condition known as sunburn. Sunburn can result in the accumulation of dead skin cells, which can appear as black spots on the skin.

 

In conclusion, black spots on a dog’s skin can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, diseases, trauma, injury, and exposure to harmful UV rays. A veterinary examination is necessary to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Below we will further explore the different reasons and provide information on the possible cures and treatments.

black spots dogs

When You Shouldn't Be Concerned About Black Spots On Your Shih Tzu

While black spots on a dog’s skin can be cause for concern, there are also some instances where they may not be a cause for alarm, including:

As dogs grow older, they may develop age-related black spots on their skin. These spots are typically small, round, and uniform in size, and are not usually associated with any underlying health issues.

Some breeds of dogs, such as the Shar Pei, are known for having black spots on their skin as a result of normal pigmentation. These spots are typically small and uniform in size, and are not indicative of any underlying health problems.

Some dogs may develop black spots on their skin as a result of idiopathic hyperpigmentation, which is a condition where the skin darkens without a known cause. This condition is not typically associated with any underlying health problems and does not usually require treatment.

Small black spots on a dog’s skin may also be caused by flea or tick bites. While these bites can cause some discomfort, they are not usually associated with any serious health problems.

It is important to note that while some black spots on a dog’s skin may not be a cause for concern, it is always best to consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. This is especially important if the black spots are accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching, swelling, or discharge.

When You Should Be Concerned About Black Spots On Your Shih Tzu

Black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin can be indicative of various health issues and it is important to pay attention to changes in your dog’s skin and seek veterinary attention when necessary.

 

Here are some instances when you should be concerned about black spots on your dog:

If black spots appear suddenly or grow quickly, this could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as skin cancer or an infection.

If the black spots are accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching, swelling, discharge, or loss of hair, this could be a sign of an underlying health issue and requires veterinary attention.

Irregularly shaped or sized black spots can be a sign of a more serious health issue, such as skin cancer.

The presence of multiple black spots on a dog’s skin can be a sign of a systemic issue and requires veterinary attention.

shih tzu black spots

The presence of multiple black spots on a dog’s skin can be a sign of a systemic issue and requires veterinary attention.

It is important to seek veterinary attention if you notice any concerning changes in your dog’s skin, including the appearance of black spots. A prompt diagnosis and treatment plan can help prevent the progression of the underlying health issue and improve your dog’s overall health.

Common Causes Of Black Spots

Fungal Infections

 

Fungal infections are one of the common causes of black spots on dogs. These infections can cause circular, black spots to form on your Shih Tzu’s skin, leading to hair loss and discomfort.

 

There are several types of fungal infections that can affect dogs, including ringworm, yeast infections, and aspergillosis. Each of these infections is caused by a different type of fungus and can result in different symptoms.

Ringworm


Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that can affect both dogs and humans. It is caused by dermatophyte fungus and is characterized by circular, black spots on the skin. The spots may be itchy and could lead to hair loss if left untreated.

Yeast Infections


Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida. They can cause black spots to form on a dog’s skin and are often accompanied by redness, itching, and a foul odor.

Aspergillosis


Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that affects the respiratory system. It can also cause black spots to form on a dog’s skin, especially on the head and face.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Fungal Infections

 

If you suspect your Shih Tzu has a fungal infection, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis.

 

The vet will perform a physical examination and may take a sample of the affected skin for laboratory analysis. Based on the results of these tests, the vet will be able to determine the underlying cause of the black spots and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

 

The most common treatment for fungal infections in dogs is an antifungal medication. This medication may be taken orally or applied topically, depending on the severity of the infection.

 

In severe cases, the vet may also recommend medicated baths or shampoos to help clear up the infection.

Conclusion – Fungal Infections

 

Fungal infections are a common cause of black spots on dogs. They can cause circular, black spots to form on the skin and can lead to hair loss and discomfort.

 

By taking good care of your dog’s skin and coat and protecting them from contaminated surfaces, you can help prevent fungal infections and the black spots they can cause.

 

If you suspect your dog has a fungal infection, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Bacterial Infections

 

There are several types of bacterial infections that can affect your Shih Tzu, including pyoderma, folliculitis, and Staphylococcal infections. Each of these infections is caused by a different type of bacteria and can result in different symptoms.

 

Pyoderma

 

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is characterized by the formation of pustules or pimples on the skin. These pimples can burst, leaving behind black spots on the skin. Pyoderma is often caused by a bacterial infection of the hair follicles and is most commonly seen in dogs with compromised immune systems.

 

Folliculitis

 

Folliculitis is a skin condition that is caused by an inflammation of the hair follicles. It is often accompanied by the formation of black spots on the skin and can lead to hair loss if left untreated. Folliculitis is often caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus.

 

Staphylococcal Infections

 

Staphylococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus. They can cause black spots to form on a dog’s skin and are often accompanied by redness, swelling, and a foul odor.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bacterial Infections

 

If you suspect your Shih Tzu has a bacterial infection, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis.

 

The most common treatment for bacterial infections in dogs is antibiotics. These antibiotics may be taken orally or applied topically, depending on the severity of the infection.

 

In severe cases, the vet may also recommend medicated baths or shampoos to help clear up the infection.

 

Prevention and Care

 

To help prevent bacterial infections and the black spots they can cause, it is important to take good care of your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat. This includes regularly bathing them, brushing their fur, and keeping their skin moisturized.

 

Additionally, it is important to protect your dog from exposure to contaminated surfaces, such as communal dog beds and grooming tools, and to keep their living space clean and disinfected.

Aged-Related Black Spots

 

As dogs grow older, it is common for them to develop black age spots on their skin. These spots are a natural part of the aging process and are nothing to worry about.

 

However, it is important to understand why these spots develop and what they might indicate about a Shih Tzu’s health. 

 

What are Black Age Spots?

 

Black age spots are small, dark spots that can appear on a dog’s skin as they grow older. They are caused by an accumulation of melanin, the pigment that gives color to your Shih Tzu’s skin and hair.

 

Black age spots are not a sign of illness or disease and do not cause any discomfort or pain to the dog.

 

Causes of Black Age Spots On Your Shih Tzu

 

The causes of black age spots in dogs are not well understood, but there are several theories about what might contribute to their development. Some of the factors that are thought to play a role include genetics, sun exposure, and hormonal changes that occur as a dog ages.

 

Age Spots – Prevention and Care

 

There is no surefire way to prevent black age spots from developing in aging dogs.

 

However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of their formation. One of the most effective ways to do this is to limit a dog’s exposure to sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

 

Additionally, it is important to keep your dog’s skin moisturized and to avoid exposing them to harsh chemicals or irritants.

Melanoma in Dogs – The Link to Black Spots

 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can affect dogs and cause black spots to appear on their skin. While melanoma is a relatively uncommon form of cancer in dogs, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms so that early diagnosis and treatment can be pursued.

 

What is Melanoma in Dogs?

 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is caused by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.

 

When these cells grow in an uncontrolled manner, they can form a tumor. Melanoma can occur anywhere on a dog’s body but is most commonly found on the nails, mouth, and footpads.

 

Causes of Melanoma in Dogs

 

The causes of melanoma in dogs are not well understood, but there are several factors that are thought to play a role in its development. These include genetics, exposure to sunlight, and exposure to certain chemicals.

 

Additionally, certain breeds of dogs, such as Scottish Terriers and Dachshunds, are thought to be more susceptible to melanoma.

 

Symptoms of Melanoma in Dogs

 

The most common symptom of melanoma in dogs is the appearance of black spots on their skin. These spots may be raised or flat, and may or may not be painful. In some cases, the spots may be surrounded by a halo of lighter skin.

 

Other symptoms of melanoma in dogs can include swelling, redness, and ulceration of the affected area.

 

Melanoma – Diagnosis and Treatment

 

Diagnosis of melanoma in dogs is usually made through a biopsy of the affected area. Treatment options for melanoma in dogs can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be used.

 

Conclusion – Melanoma

 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can affect dogs and cause black spots to appear on their skin. While the causes of melanoma are not well understood, exposure to sunlight, genetics, and certain chemicals are thought to play a role.

 

Early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma in dogs is important for ensuring a good outcome, and can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Black Spots Caused By Allergies

 

Allergies can be a common cause of black spots on dogs, as they can result in skin irritation and inflammation. Here’s how allergies can lead to black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin:

 

Atopic Dermatitis

 

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition in dogs caused by an allergy to environmental allergens, such as pollen or dust mites. It can cause itching, redness, and inflammation, which can lead to the formation of black spots on the skin.

 

Food Allergies

 

Food allergies can also cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots on a dog’s skin. For an in-depth look at food allergies, you might like to read our article: Best Food For A Shih Tzu With Allergies.

 

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

 

Flea allergy dermatitis is a type of allergy that is caused by flea bites. It can cause intense itching and skin irritation, leading to the formation of black spots.

 

In order to determine if allergies are the cause of black spots on a dog’s skin, it is important to seek veterinary attention. A veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and develop a treatment plan to address the underlying allergy and relieve skin irritation. 

Autoimmune Disorders – Black Spots

 

Autoimmune disorders can be a cause black spots on a dog’s skin, as they can result in skin irritation, inflammation, and tissue damage. Here’s how autoimmune disorders can lead to black spots on a dog’s skin:

 

Pemphigus

 

Pemphigus is a group of autoimmune disorders that affect the skin and mucous membranes. It can cause blistering and crusting of the skin, which can lead to the formation of black spots.

 

Lupus

 

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can affect the skin and other organs. It can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots.

 


Immune-mediated Skin Diseases

 

Various immune-mediated skin diseases, such as autoimmune skin diseases, can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots on a dog’s skin.


In order to determine if an autoimmune disorder is the cause of black spots on a dog’s skin, it is important to seek veterinary attention.

 

A veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and develop a treatment plan to address the underlying autoimmune disorder and relieve skin irritation. This may include medications, immunotherapy, and dietary changes.

Hormonal Imbalances – Black Spots

 

Hormonal imbalances can be a cause of black spots on a dog’s skin, as they can result in skin changes and abnormalities. Here’s how hormonal imbalances can lead to black spots on a dog’s skin:

 

Hypothyroidism

 

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. It can cause skin changes, such as hair loss and dry, scaly skin, which can lead to the formation of black spots.

 

Cushing’s Disease

 

Cushing’s disease is a condition in which the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol, a stress hormone. It can cause skin changes, such as thinning of the skin and an increased risk of skin infections, which can lead to the formation of black spots.

 


Hormonal Imbalances During Estrus

 

During estrus, the female dog’s hormones can become imbalanced, leading to skin changes and an increased risk of skin infections, which can cause black spots.

Trauma Or Injury – Black Spots

 

Trauma or injury can be a cause of black spots on a dog’s skin, as it can result in skin irritation, inflammation, and tissue damage. Here’s how trauma or injury can lead to black spots on a dog’s skin:

 

Trauma: Such as a cut, bite, or burn, can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots.


Bruising: Bruising can occur when a dog experiences blunt force trauma, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height. Bruising can cause skin discoloration and lead to the formation of black spots.


Tissue damage: Tissue damage can occur when a dog experiences a traumatic injury, such as a broken bone or laceration. The damaged tissue can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots.

Parasites – Black Spots

 

Parasites can be a cause of black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin, as they can feed on the skin and cause irritation and inflammation. Here’s how parasites can lead to black spots on a dog’s skin:

 

Fleas: Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of dogs and other animals. Flea bites can cause skin irritation and itching, leading to the formation of black spots.

 

Ticks: Ticks are small, blood-sucking parasites that attach to a dog’s skin and feed on their blood. Tick bites can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of black spots.


Mites: Mites are tiny parasitic insects that can feed on the skin, hair, and oils of dogs and other animals. Mite infestations can cause skin irritation and itching, leading to the formation of black spots.

Sunburn Or Exposure To UV Rays – Black Spots

 

Sunburn or exposure to harmful UV rays can be a cause of black spots on a dog’s skin, as it can result in skin damage and discoloration.

 

Here’s how sunburn or exposure to UV rays can lead to black spots on a dog’s skin:

 

Sunburn: Sunburn occurs when a dog’s skin is exposed to intense UV radiation from the sun, leading to skin irritation, redness, and pain. Sunburn can cause skin discoloration and lead to the formation of black spots.

 

UV radiation: UV radiation can penetrate a dog’s skin and cause damage to the underlying tissue. Over time, exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin aging, discoloration, and the formation of black spots.

 

In order to prevent sunburn or exposure to harmful UV rays from causing black spots on a dog’s skin, it is important to take protective measures. This may include providing shade, applying sunscreen, and limiting exposure to direct sunlight, especially during peak hours when UV radiation is the strongest.

 

Additionally, it is important to seek veterinary attention if black spots are observed on a dog’s skin, as a veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and develop a treatment plan to address any underlying skin damage or irritation.

Summary

In conclusion, black spots on your Shih Tzu’s skin can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hormonal imbalances during estrus, trauma and injury, parasites, and sunburn or exposure to harmful UV rays.

 

It is important to take steps to prevent these conditions from occurring in order to safeguard your dog’s health and well-being.

 

IMPORTANT – If black spots are observed on your dog’s skin, however, it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible in order to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

 

With proper care and attention, you can help keep your beloved pup happy and healthy!

Further Reading

If you would like to dig deeper into all areas of caring for your Shih Tzu we recommend you check out the book below.

shih tzu complete guide book cover

Using interviews with 17 top Shih Tzu breeders, author and experienced Shih Tzu owner Molly Weinfurter has created an in-depth look at what it takes to successfully live with, raise, and train a Shih Tzu.

 

This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 220 reviews.

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