How To Treat American Bully Skin Problems

The American Bully is one of the most affectionate dog breeds. Originally bred as a companion dog, they have captured the hearts of many dog lovers with their devoted and easygoing nature. 

American Bully Skin Problems

Originating in the US during the 1980s, American Bullies have experienced a surge in popularity over the years. 

If you are a devoted American Bully owner, you know how important it is to keep your furry friend’s skin healthy. 

Skin problems can be distressing, but fret not!

In this article, we will break down the different types of skin problems that commonly occur and what treatment options are available for each to ensure your American Bully’s skin remains radiant and problem-free.

What Causes American Bully Health Problems?

Skin problems in American Bullies can stem from various factors.

Despite their short coats, skin problems arise from extra skin folds and inadequate maintenance, leading to infection or dryness.

Therefore, regular hygiene practices are crucial for their well-being. 

However, external factors, like environmental conditions, can also contribute to specific skin concerns. The cleanliness, hygiene, and presence of allergens in their surroundings impact the health of their skin.

Understanding these triggers and causes helps you take effective preventive measures to maintain your American Bully’s skin and ensure they lead a comfortable and happy life.

Most Common Skin Problems 

Let’s break down some frequent skin issues experienced by American Bullies, some of which are minor and can be addressed with home remedies.

However, it’s best to keep in mind that some home remedies may do more harm than good. 

Some conditions may resemble each other, so a vet’s expertise may be ideal if you aren’t confident about what the skin problem is. 

Hot Spots

What Are Hotspots?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are inflamed, red, and irritated skin patches on dogs that are typically itchy and painful. 

Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body and often result in hair loss.

How Is It Caused?

Causes include allergies, insect bites, skin wounds, or anything causing irritated skin.  

Dogs may worsen the hotspot by licking or scratching the area.

Prevention involves regular grooming, especially for dogs with long, dense coats prone to matting, which can trap moisture and parasites.

Flea and tick prevention is also important, and you should visit a vet if your dog seems to have excessively itchy skin.

How To Treat Hot Spots

Treating hot spots involves trimming or shaving the areas to expose them to air, making cleaning easier and aiding the healing process. The area should then be cleaned with a pH-appropriate cleanser and antiseptic spray or shampoo.

Cold compresses can provide relief, and a hydrocortisone spray or steroid cream prescribed by a vet can reduce itching. Topical treatments can also alleviate skin irritation.

To prevent further licking or scratching, a plastic cone may be necessary. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the affected area are important, although complete healing may take days to weeks. 

Severe or persistent hot spots may require vet care, including oral antibiotics or cortisone injections.

Skin Mites

What are Skin Mites?

Demodicosis mites, commonly known as Demodex or red mange bites, are a prevalent skin problem involving a parasite affecting American Bullies, particularly those with prominent skin folds. 

While these dust mites typically live on dogs without causing issues, rapid multiplication can lead to discomfort for the dog.

Identifying Demodicosis mites can be challenging due to their microscopic size. Symptoms include hair loss, dandruff, itching, redness, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections. Vet diagnosis involves scraping the affected area to examine under the microscope.

Dust mites like Demodex are more common in young dogs and puppies due to their underdeveloped immune system, but they can infest adult dogs as well. 

How To Treat Skin Mites

Prompt and effective treatment is crucial as skin mites can be uncomfortable, contagious, and may cause permanent damage to the dog.

Usually, the best treatment for any mitosis is anti-parasitic shampoo, which can kill mites over a month or two of use. 

Seeking veterinary assistance might be needed for accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

It takes patience to eradicate mites, and your Bully will surely thank you!

Pyoderma And Intertrigo

What Is Pyoderma And Intertrigo?

Pyoderma, characterized by “pus in the skin”, is a common skin issue among American Bullies.

Additionally, Intertrigo, a milder form, is also prevalent in this breed. Both these conditions, often referred to as skin fold dermatitis, primarily affect the skin folds of American Bullies.

How Is It Caused?

Skin fold dermatitis results from severe skin irritation due to chafing, excessive moisture, heat, and bacterial infections, particularly in warm, humid areas. 

Diagnosing Pyoderma and Intertrigo involves identifying inflammation and bacterial colonization in the warm, humid skin folds, where infection and irritation are common. 

Symptoms of skin fold Pyoderma include foul odor, excessive moisture, hair loss, redness, and skin irritation. Symptoms typically manifest in areas with skin creases and folds, such as the face, nose, tail, toes, armpits, and ear folds.

How To Treat Pyoderma And Intertrigo

Treatment often involves wiping the affected area with benzoyl peroxide wipes and applying prescribed steroid creams to eliminate infections and maintain cleanliness and dryness.

For more severe cases or open lesions, vets may prescribe antibiotics, antihistamines, or steroids. Chronic causes may require surgical procedures, such as a “facelift”, to remove excess skin and tissue. 


What Is Ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is a hereditary condition commonly seen in American Bullies, characterized by fish-like scales on the skin. It is named after the Greek word for “fish” due to the appearance of the scaly skin.

Some people also describe this as flaky skin. This condition cannot be prevented as it is inherited from both parents and manifests from a young age.

How Is It Caused?

Ichthyosis is caused by a recessive trait inherited genetically. It is a hereditary disorder, meaning the dog is born with the condition. It is prevalent among Bullies, with a sub-category specific to bully breeds.

Symptoms of Ichthyosis manifest with a thin and ragged coating on the skin and may lead to the development of calluses. The coat gets scruffy with a wrinkled appearance. Dandruff and constant greasy flakes appear on the coat, and sometimes, even skin lesions occur.

If you suspect your pup has Ichthyosis, visit your vet, who will perform a skin biopsy to determine the exact nature of the condition, and rule out other possible disorders. Additionally, a DNA test called ICT-A can definitively identify Ichthyosis.

How To Treat Ichthyosis 

Since preventive care is not possible, you can focus on treatment options.

You can use medicated shampoos and moisturizers to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Frequent brushing and grooming help remove greasy flakes and provide comfort. You can also apply topical treatments, preferably oil-based, to form a protective barrier on the skin.


Allergies are a common issue among American Bullies, just like many other dogs. These allergies can manifest in various forms, ranging from skin issues to respiratory problems. 

Common allergies in American Bullies include dermatitis, food reactions, mold allergies, yeast allergies, and seasonal allergies. 

Understanding the types of allergies and their symptoms is crucial for providing appropriate treatment and ensuring the well-being of your pet. 

Consulting your vet can help determine the type of allergy and the best course of treatment tailored to your dog’s specific needs. 

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

What Is Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD) is a common allergic condition in American Bullies, often inherited from the previous generation. It typically appears between six months and three years of age but can develop later due to overexposure to allergens.

How Is CAD Caused?

The most common allergens triggering CAD  in American Bullies include fleas, pollen, grass, mold, certain foods, and bacteria on your dog’s skin. Diagnosis involves deduction, considering factors like flea infestations, environmental allergens, mold exposure, and skin cleanliness. 

Diagnosing CAD can be challenging due to its symptoms overlapping with other skin conditions.

Signs include constant itching (pruritus), redness, lesions around the face, ears, belly, and buttocks, and bacterial or yeast infections in the ears. Vets will conduct allergen panels and prescribe appropriate medications or therapies. 

How To Treat CAD

If fleas and ticks are present, it’s important to carry out flea eradication and pest control. 

Consult your vet to obtain medicated baths and oral antihistamines for environmental allergies. 

Stick to wheat-free, beef-free, and dairy-free dog food.

Any form of fungal exposure will require medicated shampoos, antihistamines, steroids, or immunotherapy shots.

If the cause is poor skin hygiene, use antibiotics and antifungal treatments to cure the resulting bacterial/yeast infections. 

Food Allergies

What is a Food Allergy?

Similar to humans, most dogs, including American Bullies, can develop allergies to certain foods. Common food allergens for American Bullies include beef, chicken, soy, wheat, and corn. 

Symptoms in most Bullies may include irritated skin, redness, inflammation, hair loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. These symptoms of food allergy typically occur each time the allergic dog consumes problematic food.

How To Treat Food Allergies  

The primary treatment involves identifying and eliminating the allergen from the Bully’s diet. This process can be challenging as many commercial dog foods contain common allergens. Get a vet’s advice to find safe food options for the Bully. 

Read more on food allergies. 

Yeast Allergies

What Are Yeast Allergies?

Yeast allergies are common among American Bullies, even though other types of fungi can also colonize their skin. 

Fungal infections like yeast infections look similar to bacterial infections and pyoderma, primarily affecting the dog’s skin folds, joints, paws, and ears. However, distinguishing between the two types is crucial.

Symptoms include a sour, yeasty smell, reddened ear and/or skin folds, waxy discharge, constant itching, potential hair loss, and skin flaking. Severe cases can cause difficulty breathing, leading to anaphylactic shock. 

Other fungal allergies like those caused by mold spores include symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. Furthermore, difficulty breathing can lead to anaphylactic shock. 

How To Treat Yeast Allergies 

To treat yeast infections, use a vet-prescribed antifungal cream, drops, shampoos, wipes, or a spray. These products typically contain antifungal ingredients like miconazole, which eliminate fungi and maintain a clean and dry environment for rapid recovery. 

In severe cases, oral antifungal medication or other prescription medications will also be prescribed for yeast infections.

Seasonal Allergies

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies, also known as pollen allergies, are triggered by allergens such as pollen from trees, grass, and weeds. These allergens can lead to hay fever-like symptoms in American Bullies. 

Symptoms of such allergies in American Bullies mirror those experienced by humans. They include runny eyes, sneezing, coughing, and red or itchy skin.

How To Treat Seasonal Allergies 

Managing seasonal allergies involves avoiding allergens that trigger symptoms. While this can be challenging, maintaining a clean home and yard is crucial. Regular bathing with a soothing, medicated shampoo can help alleviate symptoms. 

Additionally, topical corticosteroids or immunomodulatory medications prescribed by a vet may be necessary for more severe cases. 

What To Do If Your American Bully Has An Allergic Reaction

  • If possible, eliminate the allergen causing the reaction to prevent an allergic reaction from happening altogether. 
  • Keep your Bully indoors on days with high pollen counts, or use air purifiers to reduce dust mites. Keeping your bully indoors for long periods requires training. If you haven’t trained your dog already, follow IPet guides for all tips and tricks on effective dog training.
  • Soothe your dog’s skin with a cold bath using mild, medicated shampoo. Avoid using conditioner, as it may irritate the skin and worsen skin allergies. Apply a soothing lotion or cream after the bath.
  • Use hypoallergenic creams or lotions to relieve itching and irritation. Ensure the product is safe for dogs and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Consult your vet before giving your American Bully an antihistamine to alleviate itching caused by the allergic reaction.  
  • If other treatments fail, your vet may prescribe topical corticosteroids. Use them only as directed, as they are potent medications that require careful administration. 
  • Consider switching your American Bully to a hypoallergenic diet if the allergic reaction persists. Consult your vet before making any dietary changes. 

Tips To Prevent Allergies

  • Keep your home free of dust and mold by using a dehumidifier and air purifier.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding in hot water weekly to prevent infections. 
  • Bathe your dog with hypoallergenic shampoo, and avoid using conditioner.
  • Use hypoallergenic creams on your dog’s coat to moisturize and protect the dry skin from bacterial and fungal infections. 
  • Switch to a hypoallergenic diet to prevent food-related allergies.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the health and well-being of American Bullies require proactive measures and tailored care to address their unique breed-related skin health concerns effectively.

Pet owners play a crucial role in maintaining Bullies’ skin health through regular veterinary care, proper grooming, and a balanced diet. 

By staying vigilant, educating yourselves about breed-specific health risks, and working closely with vets to implement preventative measures and treatment plans, you can ensure that your furry friend lives a long, happy, and healthy life. 


How often should you bathe an American Bully?

American Bullies typically need bathing once every 4-5 weeks. However, this can vary based on their activity level and skin conditions. Use a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo and avoid over-bathing to prevent dry skin.

How Do You Moisturize An American Bully?

Moisturize your dog’s skin with hypoallergenic creams and lotions made for dogs. Apply to dry patches or itchy skin, avoiding products with fragrances or harsh chemicals.

Why Does My American Bully Have Bumps On His Skin?

Bumps on your Bully’s skin could be due to allergies, insect bites, infections, or skin conditions like acne or skin infections. 


Hi there, my name is Blake and I have an American Bully named Rocky. I fell in love with the breed around ten years ago after seeing some of my friends adopt a Bully. I love the combination of the muscular physique and calm, loyal companionship that the American Bully breed has to offer. My enthusiasm for the breed has led me to train as a dog behavioralist and trainer. Over the last ten years, I have supported many households in raising their American Bully and maximizing the potential of the breed. I’m delighted to share my knowledge and expertise on this site.

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