Skin tags are common growths that can appear on dogs of any age or breed, but the likelihood of getting them rises steeply with age. Many times, they may not be discovered because they are covered by fur. They are benign, fleshy growths that can be as small as a grain of rice or as large as a grape.
They are more likely to form on certain parts of a dog’s body and face. It’s important to know where you should check, but the most important thing is knowing how to identify a skin tag correctly.
They are ‘usually’ the same color as the rest of your dog’s skin, but the shade can be different. They are also soft, malleable, and may appear ‘flap’-like as they grow on a narrow stalk. Since dogs can experience other types of skin growths, having an appreciation of the differences between them can make it easier to determine whether the growth is malignant or benign.
Because there isn’t enough medical understanding to explain the causes of skin tags on dogs, there isn’t a concrete answer. Some areas are more prone to skin tags, and this skin condition is believed to be connected to skin-on-skin friction.
We will look at where skin tags most occur on dogs. We’ll also explain what you should look for when examining your pet’s skin. The more you know about skin tags, where they are, and what they look like, the easier it will be to rule out other, more serious growths.
Where Do Skin Tags Appear on Dogs?
Skin tags can show up virtually anywhere on your dog’s body. Everything from age to genetics may be a factor. Some research does suggest that these fleshy growths may be triggered by friction, and the places they tend to appear anecdotally confirms that suspicion.
The most common places include:
Does your dog wear a collar? Try taking it off once in a while to examine the skin underneath it. If the collar causes friction and rubs against their skin, it could cause a skin tag to form. If there isn’t any excessive friction anywhere, you can assume it’s another factor causing the growth.
You should check out these areas of the body first. But, keep in mind that a skin tag can be found almost anywhere. Don’t limit yourself to only looking at these specific areas. Check any skin folds or places that regularly come into contact with other areas/household items.
How to Identify a Skin Tag on a Dog
The easiest way to find a skin tag on your dog is by giving them some attention. More often than not, these growths are found through petting, grooming, or bathing. If your dog has thicker fur, be sure to run your fingers through it or spread the fur apart if you feel something out of the ordinary.
Feeling a bump of any kind on your dog can be a bit scary at first. So, it’s important to know the signs. The characteristics of a skin tag are different to a wart or mole. If you find a growth on your dog and want to make sure it’s a skin tag, look for the following traits:
- Same/similar color as the rest of your dog’s skin
- Fleshy and soft
- Moveable as it grows on a thin stalk
- Smooth texture
Skin tags can be different sizes. Some may be slightly oval-shaped, like a grain of rice. Others can be rounded and grow up to the size of a grape. Warts are usually hard and grow in clusters. They look more like the head of a cauliflower. Moles tend to be a different color as the rest of the skin. Learning the characteristics of these different growths can make it easier to determine the problem.
What to Do When You Find a Skin Tag
If you’ve found a skin tag anywhere on your dog’s body, what now? In most cases, you don’t have to do a thing. One of the features of a skin tag is that it’s a benign growth. They are not considered to be cancerous and aren’t dangerous to your pet in any way.
It’s fairly uncommon for someone to get a skin tag removed from their dog for cosmetic reasons. Unless it has become exceedingly large or seems uncomfortable, it’s likely it isn’t bothering them in the slightest.
Most veterinarians aren’t eager to remove skin tags on a dog unless there is a valid medical reason. There are a few home remedies to consider, but they can be risky if not done properly. If your dog has a skin tag and it looks normal and ‘healthy,’ it’s best to leave it alone.
Are Skin Tags a Health Risk for Your Dog?
Skin tags are the same type of growth no matter where they occur. A skin tag on your dog’s chest isn’t any more dangerous than one on the leg. However, there are a few factors that can make these growths a bit riskier.
First, if a skin tag is in a location that is easy for your dog to ‘irritate,’ it could cause problems. For example, if a growth shows up on your dog’s hind leg and they start to scratch at it or nip at it, it could cause the skin tag to bleed. If a skin tag gets cut open in any way, it could become infected.
Signs of an infected skin tag include everything from inflammation to oozing a pus-like substance. It can become extremely painful for your dog if it isn’t treated properly.
Another area of growth that may be more dangerous is a skin tag on the face. The skin tag itself may not be any different. But, depending on where it is located it can cause some discomfort for your dog.Skin tag growth tends to be relatively common around eyelids. If a growth on the eyelid becomes too big, it could obstruct your dog’s view or cause them discomfort. It could also lead to the dog trying to paw at the growth, increasing the risk of irritation again.
Skin tag growth tends to be relatively common around eyelids. If a growth on the eyelid becomes too big, it could obstruct your dog’s view or cause them discomfort. It could also lead to the dog trying to paw at the growth, increasing the risk of irritation again.
So, while skin tags themselves don’t become more dangerous based on location, they are easy to become irritating.
Monitoring Growths on Your Dog
If you find a skin tag in one of the common locations, the best thing you can do is monitor it from time to time. You should also look for additional growths on other areas of your dog’s body.
Once you know what one skin tag looks like, it should be fairly easy to spot more if/when they occur. Regularly monitoring these growths on your dog’s body will make it easy to note any changes that may happen over time. It will also help you to stay ahead of possible infections if they occur, so you can get your dog the necessary treatment if it’s needed.
Skin tags are easy to monitor. For the most part, they don’t change. Your dog could have one of these growths for years without any noticeable changes. However, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on it periodically, just in case. Your veterinarian may want to check it out from time to time, too.
Should Skin Tags on a Dog Be Removed?
No matter where a skin tag grows on a dog, it’s unlikely it will need to be removed. Until we know more about why skin tags grow, it’s advisable to scrutinize some of the prominent areas. If your dog does have a growth in these areas, check the rest of their body for additional fleshy lumps. They may never get another one in their lifetime, or they may become more prone to getting them all over.
Identifying skin tags on your dog is much easier process when you know what you’re looking for, and where to look in the first place. Knowing that they are so common can also offer peace of mind.
If you’ve never examined your dog for skin tags before, it’s a good time to start. Begin at some of the most prominent places, and make sure any skin tags your dog might have are normal and healthy-looking.
If you’re unable to make an accurate diagnosis, check with a veterinarian.