Golden Retriever Skin Turning Black? Find Out Why

If your golden retriever has skin turning black, there are numerous way that causes such phenomenon on your dog. Although it’s hard to really pinpoint the exact cause especially when it’s in their early signs. Sometimes when it’s becoming serious, this will only tell the specific ailment. Some skin that is turning black is due to hyperpigmentation, skin allergies, or something else.

If your dog is suffering from an unknown condition wherein their skin is turning black, this article will closely examine and identify some of the common ailments regarding your golden retriever that has skin turning black.

Also, if you think that some of these ailments have the same symptoms as your dog’s, please do not hesitate to go to your nearest vet for further assistance.

Dog Skin Supplement
Missing Link
Dog Skin Supplement
Dog Skin Supplement
Dog Skin Supplement

Golden Retriever’s distinct skin

We all know that the golden retriever’s coat is one of a kind because of its distinct golden or sometimes cream-colored hair, and its finest features. But due to their thick fur, they are also subject to many skin problems.

The dual coat of the golden retrievers makes them adapt to colder climates and humid environments also. Their coat is water-resistant and great for water activity sports. Also, as much as there’s some goodness in their coat, they are prone to skin allergies. That’s why when it comes to grooming, they needed to have extensive grooming care just to maintain their beautiful and shiny hair. And all of the golden retriever owners very well know this fact.

Normally these wonderful dogs are scratching and licking their body to maintain their hygiene. But, without the well-maintained grooming needs of these golden, you are putting them in a harmful situation. These factors can lead to excessive scratching and itching the hell out which eventually leads to skin irritation and other skin problems.

Hotspots are very common, particularly in this breed. The area of the skin hotspots is usually swollen. There’s an inflamed patch on their skin due to excessive itching. In some cases, this phenomenon occurs when the fur of the golden retriever remains wet for a long time.

Common causes of skin problems

There are various factors that cause problems on the dog’s skin, namely mold, dirt, pollen, food, chemicals, environmental irritants, and mites. These are the foremost harmful elements that make the dog’s skin become irritated leading to skin problems if not treated properly. Bacteria and fungus on the skin can pose a threat. They can weaken the immune system which makes it more harmful to the dog.

Sometimes it’s the warm temperature and the dampness the make the dog’s coat weaken and susceptible to bacteria buildup and then quickly transforms into skin hot spots. There’s also a disease that is genetically inherited known as ichthyosis which causes them to shed like fish flakes and also dry skin.

These are just one of the many skin problems every golden retriever is experiencing.

Golden retriever skin turning black — possible causes

So far we have covered the common causes of skin problems but this time, it’s about skin darkening. This is connected to numerous skin problems and sometimes secondary symptoms from these skin conditions. All the more, there are still certain problems that are somewhat the cause of the darkening of the skin on dogs.

Furthermore, those certain ailments or conditions have something to do with an inflammatory process. Because pets love to lick their wounds and something that’s feeling weird on their body. Due to their licking, this can eventually turn into reddening of the skin. This will become dark and thicken over time.

Infections and inflammations from different sources can cause hyperpigmentation of the dog’s skin. Sometimes it’s in a particular area and some are widespread. Below are conditions that are caused by the darkening of the skin.

Bacterial infection

A bacterial infection such as the Staphylococcal Infection (staph infection) is one of the common types of skin infection caused by bacteria that are seen in dogs. This can affect either of the two, which is the skin or the upper respiratory tract. Fortunately, this kind of infection is treated using antibiotic ointments or shampoos for skin infections.

The staph infection can be transmitted from human to dog and vice versa. It’s best to spot this early on so treatment can help, and also a proper hygiene practice can greatly prevent this infection. Remember the key is proper hygiene. It’s the most inexpensive treatment that dogs can have.

Yeast infection

Yeast infections are mainly from the fungi that are present on any dog’s skin. This only occurs when there’s an abnormal increase of the yeast in the area. The major cause of yeast infection is due to environmental and food allergies.

There’s also a yeast-like fungus that makes dogs sick and becomes a disease. The infection is known as Cryptococcus. Usually, this can be contracted when dogs inhale spores that are found in the soil. This soil is contaminated by bird droppings. The cryptococcus can affect the dog’s lymph nodes, eyes, and skin. They can be treated but be sure to consult with your vet if something like this occurs.

Mite infection

Mites are the arch-enemy of every dog. These tiny critters love to reside in dark areas where there is an undisturbed and peaceful area in the dog’s body — be it in the groin, ears, necks, etc. Upon establishing their place, they are notorious to leave dark spots, especially in the ear area. Sometimes these dark spots are like coffee grinds which can turn the skin dark. These mites can cause extreme itchiness and irritation which can make the dog’s skin darkened over time.

Although there is widely available treatment on the market even at the over-the-counter pet sores. One of the best ways to combat them is to regularly take them a bath. Always groom them, brush, clean the ears, and others.


One of the common causes of skin turning black is partly due to allergies. Allergies come in different forms and symptoms. Common allergies are food, environmental factors, and chemicals. When an allergic reaction strikes, it’s likely that the dog will scratch them in order to satisfy their irritation. These excessive scratches can later turn into open wounds and inflamed skin which can become serious in the long run. The darkening of the dog’s skin is just a secondary symptom. You should watch closely if these allergies invade your dog’s body.

Might be an indication of a hormonal issue

There’s some instance when the golden retriever skin turning black is due to hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing syndrome. These might have increased the levels of adrenal hormones in the dog’s body. The foremost physical sign of this condition is skin pigmentation in the abdominal area. This symptom can be seconded by hard lumps of the skin in the abdomen area.

Other symptoms are lethargy, poor wound healing, increased urination, and increased panting. This disorder affects middle-aged to old dogs. Because it can hard to tell by yourself, the vet can confirm such a diagnosis. They might prescribe some treatment.

In addition, one of the possible culprits is hypothyroidism, and the foremost symptom is skin pigmentation. This pigmentation usually occurs over the flanks or the abdomen area. This ailment is very common in golden retrievers or medium to large-sized breeds.

Good thing that this type of health condition can be treated properly. With some proper medications with the guidance of your vet. Also, some hypothyroid canines should be treated accordingly sometimes in their lifetime.


This time, it’s the female dog’s ovaries or male dog’s testes who are prone to this kind of condition. This condition mainly shows physical signs like the darkening of skins in dogs due to excess estrogen. One of the causes of this is tumors or cysts. Hyperestrogenism is a somewhat complicated condition. Sometimes the disorder produces various symptoms called feminization. Among the symptom is the enlargement of the female dog’s breast area or the vulva.

In other circumstances, dogs who are suffering from hyperestrogenism may have some irregularities. These include irregular heat periods, infections in the uterine, and phantom pregnancy. Even yeast infections are closely related to the symptoms and other various types of dermatitis and allergies. Thereby resulting in the skin turns black. The safest and effective way to treat this is through the proper consultation of the veterinarian because they will strategize about the treatment plan.

Two types of hyperpigmentation

I bet you have been seeing the word hyperpigmentation in this article. In a nutshell, hyperpigmentation is a skin discoloration occurring on the dog’s body it can be red, brown, and black. With regards to its causes, there are several factors that may lead to skin pigmentation. Actually, there are two kinds of hyperpigmentation which the primary and secondary.

Primary Hyperpigmentation

Primary hyperpigmentation is a rare type of skin discoloration. The physical signs of this are very evident, like thickening or darkening of the skin from being light to slowly turning into red then black. These areas may develop usually in the areas where their fur is absent. The darkening of the skin can become widespread, the edges of the darkened areas have become red which is a sign of yeast infection or secondary bacterial infection.

When your dog is experiencing this, it may not or may itch. The itching can be excessive which can result in skin inflammation. Unfortunately, there is no cure for primary hyperpigmentation, it can only be treated the symptoms but not the actual condition per se.

Secondary hyperpigmentation

A common type of skin discoloration condition. Several factors are caused by this which are hormonal imbalance, dermatitis, skin infections, allergic reaction, and even obesity. A proper examination with the vet is the key to treat and diagnose this kind of condition. In addition, this kind of condition can be cured if treated properly and early on. Even proper grooming and a well-maintained dog can prevent secondary hyperpigmentation to cause harm to your dog’s body.

It may be a developing skin cancer

These are usually black spots or dark areas that appear on the dog’s skin. They are forming individually and commonly show up as small masses, compared to hyperpigmented skin that is large and smooth. The dark spots are usually mast cell tumors that are beginning to build up which makes create an area where there is hair loss, bump, or lump. The MCT can also cause lesions that can get bigger or smaller if triggered by irritations.

That said, some mast cell tumors can be cured through surgery. But keep in mind, the money you will put in this will be a relatively sum of money. Also, this can be only diagnosed through the vet. MCT in the skin can become quite complicated especially when left unnoticed and it can be deadly to dogs.

Above all, if the if golden retriever skin turning black and it’s suspicious enough for you, don’t think twice to bring your golden to your local vet. Because all of the serious health conditions and complications came from small symptoms which turn out to be chronic.

Skin turning black can be caused by bruising

Among the common cause of the skin turning black is the dog’s long-forgotten scar due to bruising. This scar can become dark due to yeast infection or because of the internal blood clot wherein the blood wasn’t released and over time it becomes black or known as dark blotches. Other reasons that caused the darkened skin is platelet disorder or rat poison toxicity.

There are some cases that if the golden retriever skin, turning black, it must be from dark blotches from an old bruised which is not at all serious but it might lead to infection. Be sure to treat the wound properly and apply antibacterial ointment if necessary just to avoid any blotches or infection in the future.


OUR TOP PICK: Makondo Dog Skin Supplement

Product Description: No dog will refuse the flavor of bacon because the bacon's smell is so flavorful that dogs will go crazy upon smelling it. The products like Makondo dog supplement have a bacon-flavored chewable tablet. This is easier for dogs to take their pills for healthier skin and coat health. They have no problem gobbling to this wonderful treat. This is primarily for dogs who have skin conditions such as dry and flaky skin, excessive shedding, and others. Breeds like golden retrievers needed the utmost care when it comes to grooming needs and also what they need is a dog supplement for healthy skin, the fact that goldens are susceptible to skin problems. It has essential fatty acids, filled with nutrients such as vitamins and omega 3 to combat any skin allergy issues. You don't want your dog to have skin pigmentation or any diseases that are waiting to appear on your dog's body. What you need is an immune system booster.

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Overall, it has great ingredients and it’s somewhat effective. It’s great that it each tablet is flavored with bacon the fact that dogs refuse any of these tablets. However, the downside with this one is the higher price point than its counterparts. But all in all, it’s excellent and worth buying.


Bacon flavored
Mainly supports skin and coat
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Tablet form


BRUTUS & BARNABY Dog Skin Supplement

The only missing link for your golden retriever is a dog supplement that will further improve his skin and coat for a long time.

That missing link is a nice dog supplement specifically designed for dogs who are suffering from skin allergies and other conditions. That said, it’s better to give them this Missing Link dog skin supplement.

This is our premium choice because it’s not only great for skin but also for joints, coat, and immune system. Also, if your golden retriever is suffering from GI tract issues besides skin condition, then this is the perfect gift for your dog.

It’s rich in fiber which regulated your dog’s digestive system. Both customers and vets recommend this product because it’s highly effective and created with human quality.

Missing Link is easy to put in the dog’s kibble food because of the powder formula. You have no problem giving this to your dog, a sprinkle on his food will do the trick. Also, each granule of the powder is packed with nutrients and whole food which makes it more very appealing and palatable to your dog.

Overall, we recommend buying this product because it’s very easy to mix with kibble food. Plus it has excellent ingredients that will surely be beneficial to your dog. The price point is slightly higher but when it comes to your dog’s health, there’s nothing better than having a premium dog supplement.

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BRUTUS & BARNABY Dog Skin Supplement

Proudly made in the USA, the BRUTUS & BARNABY Dog Skin Supplement is among the top-notch manufacturers of dog supplements across the country. It has active ingredients that will surely drive some of the diseases that is looming within the dog’s body.

This product does not compromise its quality and they are determined that what they offer is beneficial to dogs. You can even return the product if you are unsatisfied with it.

Some of the main components of the ingredients are fish oil, hemp seed meal, coconut oil, chicken liver, to name a few. With these mentioned ingredients you know that the product has something valuable to be gained when dogs take it. In addition, it has omega 3 fatty acids and EPA, and DHA that are found in fish oils. This is great for the dog’s skin which alleviates any inflamed skin and even prevents any chronic condition.

With all that, it’s made from fish oil and hemp seed which has a great effect on the dog’s health. Also, it has the essential fatty acids that every dog’s skin needs these are omega 3, 6, 9, EPA, and DHA.

Your golden retriever will surely need this one especially if there’s some skin condition that is building up. This is great for the money and worth investment for your dog’s health

  • It has the essential fatty acids
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BIXBI Dog Skin Supplement

The BIXBI is an organic food supplement that is great for dogs like golden retrievers and other similar breeds that are susceptible to skin and coat conditions.

What’s great about this is it’s purely organic and made from mushroom formulas. No, not the mushroom acid you are thinking of, but mushrooms that are potent and have natural healing properties.

This is certified by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) and USDA organic. Meaning this passed to the food safety standards. That said, you can assure that this contains nothing but health benefits such as polysaccharides that is great for the dog’s health. It’s all-natural, gluten-free, no grains added, even artificial flavors or preservatives.

Not only that, it’s great for dogs with allergies, sheds excessively, and excessive scratching. It’s a powder supplement which is easy to mix with kibble food.

All in all, the BIXBI Supplements uses all-natural ingredients and belonged to high-quality dog supplements. This is a great dog supplement especially for golden retrievers who have skin turning black that somehow alleviate any complications. Apart from that, this must be considered as an aid for dog health for every dog owner.

  • Contain healthy mushrooms
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  • None so far

What to consider when looking for a dog supplement


Because we often overlooked the formulas in the dog supplement we buy, only to find out that the effectivity rate is low. When looking for an excellent formula, choose the ones with active ingredients like fish oil; other ingredients such as colostrum, coconut oil, and hemp. These ingredients increase the potency of the dog supplement. Some formulas are specific only to skin allergies, some digestive systems, and others are for hips and joints. The choice is yours. Make sure that you match the supplement with your dog’s needs.


Because there are numerous fake products and even products that did not undergo strict inspection of food and safety regulations, poor knowledge regarding this can greatly harm your dog. It’s important to always check the label if there’s FDA approval and some safety assurances that will guarantee the safety and authenticity of the product. It’s always a safe bet to opt to buy relatively high price and those brand that has a high reputation.


Another important factor is taking the time to look for ingredients. Some dog supplements have added preservatives, fillers, GMOs, and other additives that are synthetic and can be a harmful element to your dog. Always see to it that the products are 100 percent natural, clean, fish oils are wild-caught. Because these prime ingredients are what makes the product more effective and organic compared to other product that blends some chemical components.

Never, ever compromise your dog’s health for cheap and inexpensive supplements. If that’s the case, don’t buy yet and save your money later, so later on, you can buy quality supplements which are more effective and natural.

Final Thoughts

Although our article is informative about the condition of golden retriever skin turning black, we are not authoritative to tell what’s right or what’s wrong. We only write what we think the common causes are related to the darkening of the skin.

There are plenty of reasons why this happens, what we provided is that people would have an idea regarding the symptoms. If those symptoms are closely related to what their dog is experiencing, then it’s better for you to consult your local vet. After all, they hold the highest opinion and they know exactly what to do.

Also, we have recommended some of the dog skin supplements that we also think will be a great help for your dog if ever there’s some skin condition that your dog is experiencing.

Check this also: Can Golden Retrievers Live Outside? — Things You Should Know

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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