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Hyperpigmentation: why is my puppy’s tummy turning black?

Pet parents being alarmed whenever they notice something different about their furry friend is not unusual. If anything, that seems to be the standard for many of us. We absolutely adore our pets and if anything’s wrong, we want to address it as soon as possible.

Every now and then, something unusual may arise and many of us may not know how to handle it right away. That could be the case if your dog is affected by a condition known as hyperpigmentation.

What is hyperpigmentation, you ask? That’s the question we’ll be answering throughout this article.

Defining Hyperpigmentation

It is something that can go unnoticed even though it affects a lot of dogs. There’s a chance your pet may have it already given how common it is.

For those who may be unaware, the MSD Veterinary Manual defines hyperpigmentation as the “darkening and thickening of the skin seen in dogs”. Let’s go further into that description.

The darkening of your pet’s skin may take on different forms.

Skin doesn’t necessarily have to become black for it to qualify as a case although that does happen. The appearance of brown or even light brown patches on your dog’s skin could already be a manifestation.

While running your hands over your pet’s skin, you may also notice that some spots feel thicker and rougher. Those again are indicators of hyperpigmentation.

More often than not, the signs will appear on your pet’s belly, legs, or near their groin area. Inspect those spots often if you want to keep tabs on your pet’s skin.

The Different Kinds

Thus far, we’ve discussed what it looks like and where signs of it may show up. What we haven’t talked about yet is the severity of that particular condition.

Should you be worried if your dog exhibits the signs? Well, that depends on what kind your dog has. There are two kinds in dogs that we’ll define below.

Primary Hyperpigmentation

Of the two, this one is the less worrisome because it’s mainly cosmetic. It will affect the appearance of your dog’s skin, but have no impact beyond that.

You can tell that your pet has it if the color of the patches mostly stays the same. The patches should also not cause your pet discomfort. You should be able to touch it without your dog reacting as if they experienced pain.

Cases can be somewhat difficult to deal with . Those discolored patches are likely not going to disappear anytime soon. Even treatment may not do much about the patches.

Dogs will not experience any kind of discomfort if they have hyperpigmentation, and that’s obviously a good thing. However, the marks caused by the condition may also be permanent.

Secondary Hyperpigmentation

Pet owners need to be more alarmed if their pet has a case of secondary hyperpigmentation. That’s mainly because secondary hyperpigmentation is a symptom rather than the main condition itself.

Secondary hyperpigmentation is a sign that your pet is ill in some way. Obviously, you need to find out what’s wrong with your pet and treat it as quickly as possible.

Note that secondary hyperpigmentation acts very differently from its primary counterpart. That means the patches may change in appearance quickly or even disappear on their own. Your pet may also feel discomfort if you touch the discolored patches.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that many dogs may experience over the course of their lives. It’s important to understand what it really is so you know how to react to it accordingly. Hopefully, the information we’ve provided here will help you do exactly that.

Do you need more time to understand the type of hyperpigmentation that has affected your pet? We at TAILored Pet Services can keep a close eye on your dog and report if anything unusual occurs during a dog walk. Contact us at 425-923-7791 or browse our website to learn more about our dog walking services.

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