Canine pyoderma is a common entity seen in small animal veterinary practice, and despite the fact that it rarely occurs as a primary event caused by pathogenic bacteria, historically the treatment approach has been to rely on systemic antibiotic therapy, often for several weeks. In addition, even when canine pyoderma clears entirely with a regimen of systemic antibiotics, it often recurs, and this recurrence is also often treated with antibiotics. Given the current desire to demonstrate responsible antibiotic stewardship, and the real risk of microbial resistance from routine antibiotic use, better approaches are needed. Canine pyoderma is often classified according to the depth of microbial penetration, the species of microorganisms involved, and any underlying causes. The vast majority are caused by overgrowth of commensal, mildly pathogenic bacteria, predominantly Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, which are superficial to intermediate in penetration of skin layers, and very often are secondary to underlying conditions. In these instances, the appropriate use of specific topical therapies is not only indicated but preferred and can greatly lessen the need for systemic antibiotics. Determining and addressing the underlying cause that ultimately perpetuates the superficial overgrowth of microbes is in the best interest of all concerned and helps make topical therapy a prudent and practical option.