Skin tags on a dog can show up virtually anywhere. Because we aren’t fully aware of what causes them, there isn’t a way to pin down one area of the body that may be more prone than others. No matter where skin tags occur, they are typically harmless. However, treatment is inevitably going to be a bit riskier for a skin tag on a dog’s eyelids.
The growth itself isn’t the problem in these situations. Skin tags are benign (harmless), fleshy growths. They are not cancerous or risky in any way. They can even change in size without presenting any real danger.
Unfortunately, location does matter. For example, if a growth appears in an area that bothers your pet, they may scratch or bite at it. That can lead to bleeding and possible infection.
Another semi-concerning area is the eyelid. Not only can your dog get irritated by a skin tag on the eyelid, but if the growth gets bigger, it could cause problems for the eye itself. Your pet may even be tempted to scratch at it. This could put them at risk of scratching their eye.
Should Skin Tags on a Dog’s Eyelid Be Removed?
Skin tags aren’t usually dangerous unless they are in the mouth area. When they appear on a dog’s eyelid, however, they can cause irritation. If your dog tends to paw or scratch at things easily, they could damage their eye or cause the skin tag to become infected.
The best thing to do is get an official opinion from your dog’s veterinarian. In many cases, vets will want to leave skin tags alone. However, if they feel it could become a risk for your dog’s health and well-being, removing an eyelid skin tag may be the best option. Thankfully, there are non-invasive ways to remove one painlessly.
We will focus on why skin tags might form on a dog’s eyelid, as well as when you should consider taking action, and how vets treat them safely.
What Are the Causes of Skin Tags on the Eye?
There is no concrete reason. One of the most common theories is that they are caused by friction. This theory has been adopted into the canine world as well. Additionally, age and genetics seem to play a part in whether or not a dog is more prone to these growths. Some breeds are more at risk, and there’s a greater prevalence of skin tags among older dogs.
To identify whether or not the growth is a skin tag, look at the shape and texture. They are usually flat and tear-shaped. They should also dangle from the skin. This should be even more apparent if they are touched. They won’t stay in one place like a wart. People often confuse warts and skin tags, so you do need to be able to tell the two skin conditions apart.
By regularly examining and grooming your dog, you should be able to spot various skin disorders if/when they happen. The sooner you spot some type of growth on your dog, the sooner you can rule out any dangers and get them checked out by the vet.
Is a Cutaneous Skin Growth Dangerous?
Skin tags near the eyes tend to grow a bit faster than on other areas of the body. However, it doesn’t make them any riskier. If a growth becomes so big that it impairs your dog’s vision, it could be a problem. Other than that, it is no riskier than a growth anywhere else.
The biggest danger to keep in mind is the possibility of irritation and infection. Some skin tags that grow underneath fur on areas like the back likely won’t even be noticed by your dog. An eye skin tag on a dog will be more noticeable. Even if it’s not, your pet may accidentally scratch it when they paw at their face.
Should it get pinched or scratched in any way, it could start to cause your dog quite a bit of pain in addition to an infection risk. If it causes the eye to become obstructed or to have to close, it could be inconvenient and somewhat traumatizing for your dog. If they can’t see as clearly as they normally would, getting the skin tag removed by a vet is the best option.
In some very rare cases, skin tags can become cancerous. They can also be confused with other pre-cancerous lesions. Skin tags that do become cancerous are usually characterized by several notable changes.
This can include the following:
- Oozing a pus-like substance
If it exhibits these changes, it’s best to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The veterinarian will likely want to remove it and run a biopsy to see what’s going on.
Dog Eyelid Skin Tag Removal Methods That Work
The best way to treat a skin tag on a dog is to take them to the veterinarian. Vets typically have a few different ways in which they remove growths like this. What’s best for your dog can be determined by cost, the dog’s personality, what procedure is the least-invasive, etc.
The most common skin tag removal methods used by vets include:
- Cryosurgery – freeze off the growth
- Surgical removal – Cutting out the skin tag (this is typically done for a biopsy)
- Ligation – Tying off the skin tag
- Cauterization – Burning off the skin tag
A growth on the eyelid may be a more sensitive issue since the vet has to make sure they don’t damage the eye during the process. The least-invasive and severe removal option are usually the best. The downside of seeing a vet is the cost of skin tag removal on dogs.
Can I Remove a Benign Growth Safely at Home?
There are many home remedies and DIY methods for getting rid of skin tags on dogs. Unfortunately, not all home remedies work well or are safe for pets. You should never use a topical or oral solution on your dog’s skin tag without clearing it with a veterinarian first.
Topical solutions can be dangerous for your dog, but in this particular instance, they can add even more risk. A substance like tea tree oil, for example, is usually considered safe to use on a dog’s skin. It’s a natural solution for skin tags. However, trying to put tea tree oil on your dog’s eyelid may allow it to seep into the eye itself and cause problems.
One of the most common home solutions people use to remove growths on their dog is ligation or tying off the skin tag. You can use something like dental floss or fishing line to tie off the growth at the base.
When a skin tag is robbed of oxygen and blood flow, it eventually dies out. This will cause it to shrivel up and eventually fall off on its own. With regular monitoring, you’ll be able to tell when it’s about to fall off. Even if a skin tag looks like it’s almost ‘finished,’ never pull it off yourself.
However, a skin growth on the eyelid of a dog might be difficult to tie off in this fashion. It’s important to be extremely careful in how you handle this type of growth based on its location.
Your dog may not let you tie off a skin tag on their eyelid, or you might have a difficult time doing it if they don’t sit still, etc. Some are easier to get rid of at home than others. For a skin tag that grows on the eyelid, the best option is taking your dog to a qualified and experienced vet.
Is Removal Really Necessary?
It isn’t always necessary to get rid of a skin tag on a dog. The biggest factors to consider are whether or not it appears to be infected, or if it’s bothering your dog in some way. A skin tag on the eyelid could be a candidate for a growth that irritates your dog. If it gets too big, it could also block their vision.
However, whether or not a skin tag should be removed should still be left up to your veterinarian. Most vets won’t encourage removing growths for cosmetic reasons, so they’ll be able to tell you if there is any risk or concern involved in your dog’s particular growth.
It can be a bit unnerving to see, especially if the growth looks like it is causing any discomfort. Take comfort in knowing growths like this are easily removable. They can be taken off safely and quickly with the help of a trusted veterinarian. As long as you regularly monitor any growth like this on your dog, it’s unlikely it will turn into something damaging or dangerous.