Natural Remedies to Treat Black Spots on Dogs

| Modified on Jul 15, 2023
Does your dog have unexplained black spots here and there on its fur? Is there hair loss and irritation that might be causing your pet to bite and scratch itself to distraction? Have you tried steroid creams to no avail? Check into the conversation among Earth Clinic users to find out what might be causing your dog's black spots and how you might be able to naturally treat this condition.

Acanthosis Nigrans is one somewhat common condition in which a dog's fur can become greasy, clumped together, and begin to fall out. However, it may also be due to allergies, aging, or simply the changing seasons. Most often, the black spots appear on the abdomen.

If the black spots appear without any signs of irritation or a change in the underlying skin, most likely the condition is cause for less concern. However, if the skin become sensitive or other symptoms appear, a trip to your vet is probably in order.

Hydrogen peroxide and borax are among the most popular remedies to treat black spots on our dogs. What works for you and your pet?

Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel

2 User Reviews
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2 star (1) 

Posted by Mary (Colorado) on 08/05/2019

I have been Maltese breeder for 25 yrs. My thoughts on black spots problem. Clean well rinse w/Apple cider vinegar. Dry Wipe w Witch Hazel. Let dry. Vick's Vaporub rub in Wipe off excess

Diet: Meat Beef, Chicken, lamb w leg bone, rice green veg Treat w Royal Maltese PUPPY dry KIBBLES

Works for me. Hope this helps ❤️😋👍🏿 Mary

Replied by Tammy

Mary, Thanks for that suggestion of the apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and vicks vapor rub. I have a Maltese mix and I noticed one black spot on her skin around her shoulder area. I'm not sure if it's what's described in this article but I cleaned it as you suggested and noticed an immediate change in the spot. I will keep cleaning it daily until it's gone.....if it doesn't go away completely or more appear, we'll be heading to the vet to make sure she's ok. I'm wondering if I should make the change in her dog food, she and her brother currently eat Grain Free Merrick. Tammy

Replied by Karen

Vix vapour rub? Good lord, why would you want to use petroleum on your best friend. The ACV and witch hazel is great, but VVR? Please noooo

Dietary Changes, Olive Leaf Extract

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5 star (1) 

Posted by Stella's Mom (So Ca) on 05/22/2015

Unfortunately, we've had lots of experience with black spots on dogs that we've rescued. It's from a systemic yeast (candida) infection. The best thing to do is get the dog on a raw meat and bones diet immediately, add probiotics, digestive enzymes, coconut oil, a bit of raw goat milk keifer or yogurt daily and a small amount of raw green vegetable like organic spinach or brocoli. NO kibble, pet foods, starches, carbs, sugar and other junk. These will only enable the yeast to live and grow. You want to feed foods that kill the yeast.

We also added 1 capsule of Seagate olive leaf extract to their meal every day; it's a powerful fungus killer and also strengthens their immune system. The last dog we got who had this had a really bad case. She even smelled yeasty after getting baths. Doing the above, she was clear of yeast in just 2 months; no more itching, red skin, smell and black spots. Her hair also grew in nice and full; it was at least twice as much as she had when she was full of yeast. That was 2 years ago. She's been healthy ever since on her raw meat/bones diet.

Oh, and stop the shots. Vaccines worsen any health problem and also disrupt the immune system. They cause way more problems and don't help like we've all been told.

Replied by Carole

Symptoms sound like my dog's symptoms. I have tried Ted's cure, and it works well, except My dog still has lots of black spots on back and abdomen. I plan to try your recommendations and will report back. Can you tell me about the exact measurements for the goat milk, coconut oil, and any others not listed in your writing? How long before spots are gone?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Stella's Mom!

Thank you for this advice! I have used Olive Leaf Extract for giardia but have not thought to try it for systemic yeast. Thank you!

Replied by Tien-huey Heh
(San Diego, Ca)

Hi, I read this article and I'm desperate to get a copy of the author's ( Stella's mom's ) recipe for the raw diet she uses to beat the yeast. I too have a rescue. He's about 45 lbs. He had chronic skin issues with yeast and we've seen numerous vets, spent thousands of dollars, and tried low glycemic foods, and really trying hard to avoid another round of antibiotics, but his paws are in bad shape. Help! I fed him Holistic Select and now switched to Orijen and have been giving coconut oil, omega-3, and probiotics. But his itchiness, and paws especially, are still problematic. Thinking maybe switching to raw or lightly cooked might have more significant results in his health...

Replied by D
(Cincinnati, Ohio)

Please be specific with the dog weight/dosage for the olive leaf extract treatment. Thank you

Replied by Elizabeth
(New York)

I need help I've been to numerous vets. I have a shit-zu he has a skin problem he's always scracthing has dark black spots on skin. Vets treat it but the problem keeps coming back

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney, Australia)

Elizabeth, Try olive leaf capsules, but not an overnight cure.

Replied by Julia
(Hollywood, Fl)

Hi, my dog has developed black spots over his body. At first I thought they would brush away but they keep building. Every time I try to take them off the area becomes inflamed red and barely any of them came off. It keeps bothering me and he continuously scratches. He is a small yorkie and he has them all around his arms, legs, stomach, and abdomen. I haven't gone to the vet yet to check him out, I just wanted to know if there was a way to naturally get them off. HELP!!! He has a scruffy look, and they make him smell bad. we continously wash him with flea shampoo if thats the case, but he goes to the same scent again the next day. And he barely goes outside, we rescued him so we arnt sure how old he is but he still isn't trained, so he pees on pee-pee pads.

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney, Australia)

Hi, Julie - try giving your dog olive leaf capsules, but remember its not an over night cure

Replied by Patricia
(Beverly, Ma.)

Dear Stella's mom,

Your post was a long time ago so not sure if you will get this email. If you do, is it possible to get your food recipe? How is your dog doing at this point? It is wonderful for people like you to post your experience and remedies...thank you.

Best Regards,


Replied by Elisabeth

Hi there,

my 3 year old wheaten terrier has developed this type of allergy since approximately 1 year. I will try your recommandations. I stopped giving her the heart worm vaccines and the lyme protocole as well since I don't believe it's necessary. I also stopped taking her to the vet for thèse allergies. Last time she was given vaccines (for the allergy) and more antibiotic. After two weeks of treatment it was back... what's your perspective on thèse interventions? Are they necessary?

(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Elisabeth,

Vaccines are different from antibiotics and the likely steriod shot your dog received. You likely do not need any further vaccines of any sort. The steroid shot was given to combat inflammation; reduce the inflammation and the itching goes away. You should look at the diet you feed; many skin troubles and allergies are directly related to cheap diets that use grains and corn. So upgrading the groceries do grain free [or at least wheat, soy and corn free] can help a lot. Combat systemic yeast with Ted's Borax protocol for dogs; by adding human acidophillus to the diet [there are many kinds, I say try them all and rotate the brands and strains], and other supplements such as the Olive Leaf extract. Combat the inflammation with quercetin, Yucca extract, turmeric and also colostrum. And finally a good dip in Ted's mange remedy can help cleanse the skin of surface yeast and provide some immediate relief for itchy skin.

Replied by Tina
(Olive Branch, Ms)

I have a 10 yr old wheaten terrier and we adopted him at 8 weeks old. We have spent a fortune on this baby. He is allergic to everything. We have gone through all the blood testing, injections, etc and nothing really helped. Once we started him on a raw diet and got all the weeds out of our yard we noticed a big change within 3 months and he felt much better. That means no treats with starch or sugars.... that means peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dextrose or any sugars. Extremely hard to find anything in stores that this baby can eat and not get ear infections, itchy skins and feet. Raw is the best! Rubbing organic Coconut oil on teeth and gums a few times a week seems to help also.

Replied by Alyssa

I have a puppy 7 months old that is having trouble with itching and losing hair. I just need some help figuring out what to do. Can he have Olive leaf extract? And what is a good health wormer and shampoo?

Have a great day
Thank you,


Hi Alyssa,

Sounds like your puppy has food allergies. Consider changing his food. You may have to experiment a bit to find a good one and go slowly because he is a puppy, but once you do, those issues will go away quickly.

Raw food, freeze-dried raw or frozen raw food diet is ideal for dogs with allergies, but also very pricey. However, you can add it to the top of kibble as a more cost effective method and it will definitely help. Hope your puppy gets better soon!

General Feedback

Posted by Kathy (Cullman, Alabama) on 11/10/2006

My dachshound has black spots that appear on her stomach in different places. What causes this?

Replied by Ted
(Bangkok, Thailand)
391 posts

Dear Kathy: The common cause of black spots on dogs, at least from where I live, is a fungus issue. Therefore, hydrogen peroxide 1% with saturated borax applied to skin, or 2% copper chloride helps. Again it is quite deep, so several applications may be needed.

Replied by R
(Yonkers, NY)

What causes these black spots? My dog has them too! She is constantly licking and bites at her skin. I have changed her diet and cook it myself and her ear infections have gone away, but I have noticed these black spots on her belly.

EC: One answer we found:

"...It is not uncommon for spots to be on the abdomen of dogs, but for them to appear there over time, can be due to age, allergies, change of season, ect. This is only a pigment cluster in the skin, and should be no threat to your dog's health. If the spots seem to be growing, changing in color, become raised or tender to the touch, I would recommend a veterinary visit to have this physically examined. As of now, I don't think you have anything to be concerned about. My Shih Tzu, Charlie, is only 2 years old, and has terrible allergies this time of year. Every spring, sure enough, he gets spots on "his lower belly. A lot of things can trigger a pigment change, so don't you worry!

Replied by James
(Orange City, Fl)

Clobertasol Propionate Cream USP,0.05%. This is a prescription cream I had to use, but it works on our dog. Check it out, works great.

Replied by Bamatami
(Pensacola, Florida)

Do the spots look like little black flea eggs? If so, they could be caused from Cushing's Disease. My dachshund was just diagnosed and had tiny black spots that looked like flea eggs all over her stomach.

Replied by D Smith
(San Diego, Ca)

Black Spots are signs of internal problems. My dogs skin was so bad at 18 months, the vet said she had maybe 2 years to live. He sighted extreme allergies. Its been 4 and she is healthier than ever! This diagnosis was wrong. What did we do?

Switch to high quality food (Dry or raw). Our vet said she should avoid chicken or beef... not true, just quality.

Some brands we have used with HIGH success:

Flint River Ranch

Wellness brand



Have not tried but was told Kirkland premium brand from Costco was great too.

Expensive, yes (compared to Purina), but like I heard one doctor say. You can spend a little extra on food now, or spend a lot in health bills and low quality of life later.

Replied by Diane
(Conroe, Texas)

My min. Schnauzer has black spots on her back not belly. They are flat, black, seems to be getting more even noticed one on top of her head today. She is extremely itchy. We feed her good dog food. She eats Blue brand dog food by The Blue Buffalo Co. Input appreciated.

Replied by Amanda
(Norfolk, Virginia)

My 2 year old female #spayed# schnauzer began developing black spots on her back several months ago. They have now spread to what looks like an bird on her back and on the back of her neck. Where the black spot are she has lost all hair and the skin is thick and oily. We visited the vet for a full work up #$300# and she said everything was normal. We have her on Orijen. She does not lick, scratch, rub, or even act like it bothers her. I would like to stop the spreading because it looks horrible. Any advice?

Replied by Laurel
(San Francisco, CA)

You should look up "Acanthosis Nigrans". If you do a Google search, it will try to correct the spelling for something else- I have given you the correct spelling. Your dog isn't going to die from it but you should get her to a vet.

Replied by Nancy
(Temecula, CA)

Feed a limited ingredient duck and potato kibble and canned. Dogs with allergies need this type of diet. Bath in Oxiderm PS shampoo and black areas and red ones need Betagyn Spray and or Panalog. Get a vet's advice. My dog is on antigen allergy shots as well. Also add to the food daily Grizzley salmon oil and a supplement such as Dinovite is helpful.

Hypochlorus Acid

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lynn Rienguette (Alberta, Canada) on 04/20/2021

My friend told me to use 20ppm of hypochlorus acid (HOCl) and spray that on a few times a day. Her tummy is now turning back to pink. We were initially using it for a natural pest control. Amazing stuff, all natural.

Sign of Cushing's Disease

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Posted by Sugee (MA) on 04/17/2022

My scotty had diabetes, then diagnosed with Cushing's. She lived to 13. I found out at 8yrs. Black spots on the tummy were a sign of Cushing's. Our vet didn't know that. Another vet told us about the tummy coloring. She did get anipril once a day.

Ted's Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax Cure

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by R (Yonkers, Ny) on 08/20/2009

I just wanted to follow up on using the peroxide with borax for black spots. I read what Ted wrote plus what else was written about Borax on the other pages. I have been using it on my dog for the last two weeks and I am seeing results! The black spots seemed to have gotten worse with summer months and all the rain we have gotten around here. She started to lick her paws non-stop and biting at her skin. After the first bath using the mix I noticed that she wasn't licking as much and the brown color on the fur of her belly and paws seemed to have cleared up. The second week after her bath she started scratching less, licking less and the dry skin patches started to go away. I am still watching the spots to see if they will go away...but I haven't seen new ones which is great! Thanks EC!

Replied by Ann
(Paranaqye, Luzon, Philippines)

hi there. would like to know how your dog is doing now? were you able to get rid of the spots after the borax treatment? my pet had her first treatment last week and I am seeing results when it comes to scratching.. she isnt licking and scratching anymore. I am hoping the spots will go away too.

Replied by Jean K
(Tyler, Tx)

Would like to know the measurements for the borax and peroxide for bath of pet to stop itching and black spots on stomach.

Replied by Rosemarie
(Yonkers, Ny)

Hi Ann, Sorry I haven't checked in awhile. She is doing much better. I didn't continue it because of the winter season, but when I had the smell, bad skin and itching stopped. I just recently started checking again for her paws. She is constantly biting and licking them. I do think it is some sort of fungus that has overgrown in her body. Now it seems to have been brought into check!

Replied by Carolyn
(Winston Salem, Nc)

My lab has yeast , skin smells bad, damp and all of his belly skin has turned black and crinkly.. Constantly biting and gnawing.. Antibiotics help some but always comes back.. Any suggestions or treatment?

Replied by Gina
(Iuka, Ms)

Carolyn, Try Tree of Life kosher organic expelled pressed coconut oil. I get it at the health food store but you can also find it on I have a yorkie(9lbs)and I give him 1 teaspoon a day in his food. I also rub it on his skin on any breakouts- it dries them right up. Most antibotics cause yeast. For immediate relief from itching try liquid benadryl 1 to 2 mg per lb. It could be allergies and you will have to change diets.

Replied by Tracey
(Locust Grove, Georgia)

Hi, I have a golden retriver and she has black spots on her abdomin. They are different in size and her abdomin has an oily feel and she always smells really bad. Her abdomin is also red and bumpy. I was told it was allergy related but she has it all the time and you would think if it were allergies that it would go away at some point! Do you think this solution will help, I have researched this and found that omega fatty acids would help. Are you familiar with this? Thanks traceyisrael(at)

Replied by Wendy
(Columbus, Oh/usa)

To Tracey from Locust Grove, Georgia:

1) Change your dog's food to grain-free. Do this gradually. This means, if you normally feed your dog 1 cup of food twice a day, change it to 1/2 cup old food and 1/2 cup new food twice a day for a week. Then, if there are no problems, then switch over completely to the new food.

2) Add 1 tablespoon organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with "the mother") to her food and mix it all up.

3) Follow the mange remedy recommendations here on earthclinic.

4) Do NOT feed your dog anything but her dogfood. This means NO people food at all.

These are the basics. Again, please do your research and search this earthclinic site for remedy recommendations. The answers are here.

Replied by Barney's Mom
(Palmyra, Pa)

Thrilled to see some of the posts regarding other's dachshunds. I have a standard that has had the allergy patch test and is allergic to most everything growing outside including dust mites inside, but not flea bites, cat dander, mold or regular house dust. He has been eating a high quality kibble and also grain free wet food and now raw food made by myself with supplements from Dinovite and I also add an extra probiotic 2 x's a day because I think he is yeasty. His belly is covered with the black spots and red pimples and is anus area is also black and has some hair loss and crusting on his tail too. Also on his hind legs and sides and neck area. It is actually almost all over his body. His eyes also have a small amount of mucus at times too. I always wondered if this could be some kind of hair follicle issue as well as inhalent allergies and ingested food allergies. Barney is the product of a "backyard breeder" and I have his AKC pedigree where I learned his mother is also his sister, hence, the inbreeding factor which probably contributed to all his allergies and also his malformed bottom jaw. It has been an ongoing and ever growing problem fighting to keep him comfortable for the last several years. He is on a small amount of Temaril-P everyday to help control his itchiness. Everytime I try to wean him off of it, the rubbing and skin irritatations increase dramatically. I will try the witch hazel and other remedies mentioned in all these posts.

Replied by Dawn Pool
(Martinez, Ca)

What is the mixture for Ted's hydrogen peroxide and borax cure for black spots?

Replied by Julie Carr
(Cincinnati, Oh)

It sounds like maybe your dog has a thyroid problem. The skin gets thick, itchy, crusty, oilyish and smells. Then, secondary infections occur in the skin. No external meds will do much good if the thyroid isn't fixed first.

Witch Hazel

2 User Reviews
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1 star (1) 

Posted by Deelee (Kingman, Az) on 06/24/2010

Hi. One of my mini-doxies has had darkened skin and black spots for years. The vet diagnosed severe seasonal skin and inhaled allergies and gave us a steroid-based cream for the itching; later a topical spray. (The steroids made her fat and overgrown). I tried oatmeal baths, etc. Nothing worked for more than a few hours. In desperation one day I soaked a cottonball in witch hazel astringent. The greasy stuff crystallized and rolled off, the itching stopped, and the skin lightened. I used 5 balls, all of which turned brown. My dog's condition is most likely a thing called Acanthosis Nigrans. It is caused by an overpopulation of a natural and essential mite that lives in the follicle of every hair shaft on a dog. This mite is supposed to be there, and not eradicated comepletely, but N.A. is a situation similar to Candidiasis (yeast infection), where the proper balance of a symbiotic organism is out of whack and overpopulation causes severe problems. A.N. is a common inherited problem in Dachsunds, and supposedly untreatable except to keep the dog clean and avoid allergens. Rubbish - the witch hazel works for days at a time. Apply once or twice a week. If the astringent contains alcohol, be careful around open sores. Make sure your dog lies on its back and watch him until the witch hazel is dry. It should not be ingested (swallowed). I suppose you could then bathe the dog to avoid poisoning but my dog completely quit her licking immediately. Acanthosis Nigrans symptoms are: the skin on the belly and chest has turned dark, some places appear black, with hair loss; the skin in 'armpits' and other depressions and folds has thick, greasy dark-brown clumps gluing the hairs together, and the skin itself has thickened. 'Pimples' and reddened skin or sores are secondary infections from the poor animal nibbling and licking so much and the moistness causes fungus and dirt collection.

Replied by Krista
(Levittown, Pa)

I just read your email and am so grateful to have read this. I own a mini doxie and he has been having the same problem with black spots and itching and licking. Thank you for the info, it helps alot, so glad I saw your email. Hope your doxie is doing well..

Replied by Bb
(Atlanta, Ga Usa)

Sounds like a fungal/yeast infection. My doxie used to get this. Get him/her off commercial food. No grains, sugars or starches. Use organic coconut oil, add to food & topically. Start with ground meats, fish, chicken... All raw. Add probiotics.

Replied by Louria
(Columbus, Ohio)

My Chihuahua has the same problem, she is 11yrs old. I will try the Witch Hazel, thanks!

Replied by Veronica
(Lansing, Michigan)

I have a yellow lab pit bull mix she carries most of the yellow lab characteristics. She is two years old and just in the last month I have noticed she is losing hair on both her sides the right side is a lot worse though. It looks very black I took her to the vet and she said that her annul glands were swollen and impacted so she flushed them out and told me that should fix it? Idk if they were or not but she does not have an issue using the bathroom so find that hard to believe. I have not seen her itching her sides at all. I did see someone above wrote about their dogs biting there feet though and she does do that a lot which I also told the vet. Where do I find this Witch Hazel and how much do I use. What about the Borax treatment mentioned above has anyone tried both does one work better then the other. Both are safe for my baby?

Replied by Suefl9
(Pembroke Pines, Florida)

Hi, My mini dauschaund developed black spots on her belly and then under her arms, after about 2 weeks she then broke out with pimples covering her body and started to lose her hair where the pimples were. I took her to the vet and they said she was allergic to her dog food. The pimples were a secondary skin infection from the scratching/biting. We changed her to "Hills Z/D prescription diet"(gotten thru vet) with only cheerios as a treat. She gets bathed with Douxo shampoo once a week and the problem was solved. I was told her former food "Pedigree" was the worst offender with all the additives and fillers. The food and shampoo was a little high priced but worth it! Last vet bill was $200.

Replied by Esli
(North Massapequa, NY)

Hi, I have an 8 year old shih tzu, who has always had skin problems. But the past few months he has developed this horrible smelling, black, greasy condition, that all of you are describing. I can't afford to get all these creams and medicines from the vet. I'm going to try the witch hazel first and if that doesn't help I will try the peroxide/borax bath. My poor little guy is so itchy I feel so bad for him and the kids don't want to pet him because he smells so bad. So I'm hoping one of these things work. Thanks for the suggestions, good to hear I'm not the only one with this problem.

Replied by Helen
(Thousand Oaks, Ca)

Try contacting Marc Ching/The Petstraunt in Sherman Oaks, CA. He is a pet nutritionist and herbalist. He cured my dog from generalized itching...said it was the kibble. My dog has been itch free for a year and a half; he eats buffalo burgers and green vegs with supplements and probiotics. Many dogs have systemic yeast (as my dog had and was misdiagnosed by veterinarians) that causes itching.

Replied by Fiana
(Crane, Texas)

My dog is a chihuahua / poodle and has developed the black skin disease, he has had numerous steroid shots, antibiotics and shampoos nothing is working, I will try the witch hazel next. I hope this licking stops too it drives him crazy and me too, poor puppy. Thank you

Replied by Barbara

I tried it, did not work on my babies.

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney Nsw)

Try colloidal silver, both internally and topically.

Replied by Simply
(Brandon fl)

Thanks for the information I have never heard of this condition and it sounds like holds a possibility my lab has struggled with this same as described and I have found that a lime sulfur dip helps Now my boxer is getting these black spots too. I think something is in our dirt maybe idk!! It has been extremely hot this summer and have noticed moths in the yard where they play and I've never seen this many moths before I hate them! I'm going to put some DE powder in yard in attempts to rid the moths I wonder if that has something to do with it or not I hate the smell of this deep and it's yellow too. So I'm going to try this witch hazel and see if it is better. Thanks


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Meadow's Mom (Miami Beach, Fl) on 08/16/2016

My Shorkie has this problem, black spots, and it sort of looks moldy in places. I tried steroid creams but they didn't work. A trainer suggested using a dandruff shampoo and that sort of helped, but it came back. I kept at the research and it seems yeast is the most likely culprit, so I tried Monistat/Walgreen's 2% external cream and that helped a bit but it came back pretty quickly. So, next I applied yogurt (plain, whole milk Greek yogurt) near her ears and neck where they were. The next morning, the black spots were significantly reduced and she completely stopped itching. Be careful with applying on large amounts of skin because it's cooling effect can cause chills. To sanitize the air and fabric in the house, I used Clorox 4 In One Disinfecting Spray because it works on molds/mildews, reduces allergens, sanitizes air and fabric, hard nonporous surfaces and soft surfaces like upholstery/linens, fabrics. No this is not a plug for the brand, just the product because it seemed to help. I'm also buying something to add to my laundry to disinfect it from fungus/mold/bacteria/viruses because I have not found any detergent that does this and I need to clean color fabrics, not just whites that I can use a disinfecting bleach on.