This article will cover everything you need to know about skin tags on dogs — some of what we will cover include how to find them, what causes them, and whether to get them removed.
It will even include information about warts, another skin condition that many dog owners often mistake for skin tags. Don’t worry, warts on your dog are not dangerous either; however, you should still be aware of the differences.
What is a Skin Tag on a Dog?
A skin tag on a dog is a lump that appears on the skin of your dog,and this lump will typically be black, but they can also be other colors such as white or pink. Dogs generally tend to get two different types of skin tags;one has hair and one does not have hair.
Fibroadnexal Skin Tags
Fibroadnexal skin tags are certainly the most common type of skin tags found on dogs. These are extremely small skin tags and are usually no bigger than the size of a pinhead. They do not have any hair growing from them either which makes them difficult to spot on most dogs. They often clump together though, so you will feel a group of raised bumps when you pet your dog.
Follicular hamartomas are another form of a skin tag. As the name implies, these skin tags contain hair and are much less common than fibroadnexal skin tags. However, you will probably spot these type of skin tags much quicker because they tend to be larger and much easier to spot than the other types of dog skin tags.
What Causes Skin Tags to Form?
Skin tags are nothing more than skin cells that have begun to grow too much. The skin cells grow on top of each other and form a “tag.” The exact reason that the skin cells grow too much remains unknown; however, a few theories exist.
Some scientists think that the skin rubbing against something will cause a skin tag to form because it may cause new skin cells to form. Another theory is that some breeds of dogs just have a genetic predisposition to skin tags. While there are theories like these, scientists are still unclear on exactly what causes skin tags in human and dogs.
Are Skin Tags Dangerous?
On rare occasions, the skin tags may form because of cancer. However, in this case, the skin tags tend to be benign tumors and not malignant. The tags will grow all over the body though, which can look unsightly on your dog.
Now, if the tags continue to grow or they change color, then you should certainly take your dog to the vet. When skin tags change like this, it is often an indicator that the tag may be cancerous.
The bigger risk with skin tags on your dog is that they will form in a bad location. Some bad locations include near the eyes, near the urinary tract, the spinal area, joints, and on the feet. All these locations can make your dog’s life much more difficult.
Despite the fact the cancer risk is low, you should still take your dog to the veterinarian to ensure that the skin tags are not cancerous or harmful.
Should You Get Them Removed?
You should consult your vet and see what they suggest when it comes to the decision of removing the skin tags. Honestly, most vets will not remove a skin tag from a dog. The risk of putting a dog under anesthesia is simply not worth it for this kind of cosmetic issue. Plus, the cost is more than most owners are willing to pay for a cosmetic problem. However, if the vet finds that it is medically necessary to remove the tags, then that is a discussion to have.
Unfortunately, skin tags will not disappear without surgery. They will almost always remain for your dog’s entire life. They may also suggest removal if the tag is located in a difficult or sensitive place for your dog such as the eyelid.
One more thing, some vets will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tags. Liquid nitrogen effectively kills the skin tag. The big advantage of liquid nitrogen is that no anesthesia is required, which makes it much safer. Not all vets will offer it though.
Warts on Dogs
First, warts are not skin tags. However, many people get warts and skin tags confused, so they are included in this discussion.
Warts are caused by a virus coming in contact with the skin,and this makes warts contagious. They typically spread when your dog comes in contact with another dog that has warts. You can even spread warts to your dog.
They are normally small bumps found on the skin that look like normal human warts. Warts are not cancerous, and they will most likely disappear over time. However, you should still take your dog to the vet to make sure that your dog actually has warts and not a form of skin cancer.
Skin tags and warts on your dog are not something that you should worry about too much. Most dogs will get at least one skin tag, but you will probably not even see it because of their small size. In fact, many dog owners think that the bumps on their dog’s skin are perfectly normal. However, if you notice anything concerning about the bumps on your dog like their color or changing size, you shouldn’t hesitate to take your dog to the vet to rule out anything more serious than a simple skin tag.
The last thing you want is for your dog to have skin cancer and you not take your dog to the vet because you thought the cancer was a skin tag.