Why Does My Yellow Lab Have A Black Belly

Why Does My Yellow Lab Have A Black Belly? [Solved]

Your yellow lab can have a black belly for reasons like pigmentation, skin issue, health issue, and a few more that we will discuss further. However, it is highly recommended to consult a vet to be sure about the real cause and respective treatment.

Hyperpigmentation in dogs

Hyperpigmentation in dogs is when the dog’s skin starts to turn black. It is not an illness, rather it is a reaction to certain things going on with the skin.

It can be a result of different conditions in your pooch. Hyperpigmentation in dogs is of two types. One is primary hyperpigmentation and the other one is secondary pigmentation.

Primary Hyperpigmentation

This is a breed-specific issue mostly seen in Dachshunds.This hyperpigmentation is usually seen when the dog is one year old.

Secondary Hyperpigmentation

Secondary hyperpigmentation is usually triggered by a primary illness. It is mostly seen in German Shepherds, Yorkshire Terriers, Basset Hounds, Irish Setters, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Border Collies, Great Danes, Dalmations, Irish Setters, Basset Hounds, Lhasa Apsos, Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, and Jack Russell Terriers.

Why Does My Yellow Lab Have A Black Belly

Symptoms Of Hyperpigmentation In Dogs

Some of the symptoms of Hyperpigmentation in dogs include-

  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Redness in the affected area
  • Thickened skin area
  • Mostly seen near the legs, groyne, or armpits 

Causes of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

The causes of Hyperpigmentation in dogs include-

  1. Allergies
  2. Canine Atopic Dermatitis
  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Cushing’s disease
  5. Hormonal imbalances
  6. Mange
  7. Obesity

Let us discuss each one of them in detail.


Some allergies can cause chronic licking or chronic itching and it can lead to turning yellow lab’s belly black. In this situation, the skin gets infected and the frequent scratch makes it worse and the process is very quick.

However, your lab’s skin colour does not change all of a sudden. This change is very gradual and if you check your pooch frequently, you can easily notice it before it gets worse.

Symptoms of Allergies –

  • Watery eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Runny nose
  • Hives
  • Shortness in breath
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Facial pain
  • Sneezing
  • Red eyes

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare says that around 10% of labs suffer from Canine Atopic Dermatitis. This is a skin condition that causes extreme itching. This condition is incurable, however, you can manage it.

Make sure that you take your dog to the vet for the right diagnosis and proper treatment and medications.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where a canine’s thyroid glands are very underactive. Hence, they do not secrete enough thyroid hormone. Moreover, when a canine’s body does not secrete enough hormones, his metabolism becomes slower.

Hypothyroidism is more common in dog breeds including Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Dobermans, and Irish Settlers.

One of the prime symptoms of this disease is hair loss. And this mainly happens at the tail and back of the hind legs. After that, you can see dark spots in these areas. However, this problem does not cause a canine’s skin to get itchy.

Cushing’s Disease

This is also known as Hyperadrenocorticism. It is a condition where a canine’s adrenal glands produce too many hormones. This disease is usually caused by a tumour in the pituitary gland. In very rare cases, Cushing’s disease can also be caused by giving your canine too many medications like steroids.

Symptoms of Cushing’s disease include –

  • Unhealthy-looking fur
  • Dark spots on the skin

Hormonal Imbalances

If your yellow lab’s belly gets dark accompanied by dandruff, floor wetting, and hair loss, this may be an indication of Hormonal imbalance. A vet can examine the skin and understand its root cause of it.

Mange mites

This is a disease caused by mites and these mites are in 2 forms:

  • Sarcoptic mange
  • Demodectic mange

Sarcoptic mange evolved from Sarcoptes scabiei mite. This is the same mite that leads to scabies in us. These mites go deep inside the skin and cause intense itching. They usually target areas where there is no fur. These areas include the armpits and bellies.

The intense licking and itching can lead to red rashes that may turn into a loss of fur and dark spots.

Demodectic mange evolved from Demodex mites. Moreover, they also cause intense itching and licking that leads to open sores. Afterwards, they may turn into dark patches. It is not contagious and normally affects canines whose immunity is weak.


Yellow labs usually put on weight as they grow old. Their less active lifestyle makes them obese over time. However, this weight gain stresses their immune system and overall body. Therefore, this can lead to certain infections causing dark spots on the legs and bellies.

Diagnosing & Treating Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

A vet will diagnose the main stimulus causing hyperpigmentation with the help of various methods, depending on the case. In every case, the vet will examine the canine physically and ask the owner some basic line of questions about the visual symptoms.

Afterwards, depending on the situation, the vet may use –

  • Skin biopsies
  • Food trials
  • Endocrine function tests
  • Impression smears

Depending on the cause of the disease, the vet will suggest a few DIYs like bathing the dog with medicated shampoo, making changes in diet, using antibiotics, etc. In the end, the whole treatment depends on what the vet has diagnosed.

However, primary hyperpigmentation isn’t curable and does not require treatment. On the other hand, secondary hyperpigmentation can be cured with the correct medications.

How Do I Get Rid of Dark Spots on a Dog’s Belly?

The first and best way to get rid of dark spots on a dog’s belly is to take him to the vet. This is because dark spots are a sign of some specific issues. Therefore, it is better to check with the bet to understand the root cause.

Moreover, if it is primary hyperpigmentation, then it cannot be cured. However, if you find it early, it can be improved with the help of medications.

You can handle secondary hyperpigmentation. For instance, antibiotics and antifungal medicines can be used here.

Final words

In conclusion, your yellow lab’s belly can turn black due to hyperpigmentation. Therefore, it is better to take him to the vet to understand if it is primary hyperpigmentation or secondary hyperpigmentation. According to it, the vet will describe the further treatment.

Here, the best thing is to always monitor your dog’s health and fur and take immediate action if you see any abnormality.

I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.

Frequently asked questions

What colour is a yellow Labs belly?

Most of them have pink bellies in their puppyhood and turn white as they grow old. As they get older, the bellies start turning dark. This is natural, however, in some cases, this can be due to some underlying illness.

How can I tell if my yellow Lab is full-blooded?

Here are the 3 ways that you can use to find out if your yellow lab is full-blooded-

  1. DNA testing
  2. Visual confirmation
  3. Certification

However, certification and visual confirmation are not enough to tell if the yellow lab is full-blooded. In this scenario, only a DNA test is the best way to be sure about your yellow lab’s purity.

Are yellow Labs smart?

Yes, yellow labs are smart. In fact labs, shepherds, retrievers, and poodles are the smartest dogs in the world. They can learn up to 250 words, signals, and signs. Also, they obey commands 95% of the time.

Do yellow Labs pick a favourite person?

Yes, yellow labs do pick a favourite person. However, they do not show it much. Still, they show affection to every member of the family. Moreover, yellow labs are very loyal to their family and protect them without thinking of themselves.