Dog Skin Getting Darker on Underbelly

by Flo


My Jack Russell is between 2 and 3 (not actually known as we adopted her from a shelter, just under a year ago).

She has just recently, 2 days ago, no more, developed a black underbelly and nipples. This area up until then was very light pink. She hasn't changed in any other way, i.e. no loss of appetite, no extra grooming, and doesn't seem to be in any discomfort?! I was just wondering if there was an explanation for this, or am I being irrationally worried about something normal.

Thank you in advance for the help.

Vet Suggestion on Dog Underbelly Skin Darkening

Hello Flo,

Dog skin darkening like you describe can have several causes. Most often, I see it when the skin is attempting to protect itself from some type of irritation. Allergens, chemicals (e.g., cleaning solutions), physical irritation, heat, and sun exposure are all possibilities – has anything changed in your dog’s environment recently? Hormonal or primary skin disorders can also be to blame. As long as the skin isn’t thickened, oozing, red, or bothering your dog, you do not need to rush to the veterinarian.

Try bathing her in cool water with a gentle soap once or twice a week and keep an eye on things. As long as her condition doesn’t get worse, wait until your next regularly scheduled veterinary appointment and bring the change to the doctor’s attention. To be honest, I’ve had several patients whose skin in sparsely haired areas darkened with age and we never found a problem that could explain it. This may be a normal reaction when the skin comes in contact with irritants in some individuals.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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