When you discover a growth on your dog, it’s normal to feel concerned. Perhaps you were just petting them, only to come across a raised lump that wasn’t there previously. While there are several types of skin growths that can occur on dogs, skin tags are one of the most common ones.
Skin tags are completely harmless, but in some cases, they should be removed. The best thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian about possible skin tag removal options for dogs. They will be able to determine if the skin tag should be removed in the first place.
There are multiple benefits from getting a vet’s opinion. Skin tags on dogs and people are similar in many ways, but they should be treated differently. Simply put, dogs don’t always respond the same way to treatments.
One of the major concerns is the cost of getting a dog skin tag removed. It doesn’t matter if it’s for cosmetic or medical reasons, the cost will be exactly the same.
What Does It Cost to Remove a Skin Tag on a Dog?
We will look at the potential cost of a removing a dog’s skin tag. It’s important to note that every veterinarian has a different pricing structure. Also, each vet may have their own preferred method of removal. These methods will inevitably have different price points.
There are also other factors to consider when looking at costs. First, you should determine whether or not your dog needs their skin tag(s) removed in the first place. If they do, the next safe step is contacting your vet to determine the best method for getting rid of it.
When Should a Dog Skin Tag Be Removed by a Veterinarian?
Skin tags are harmless. They are not cancerous and won’t grow into something more dangerous. A with any skin growth, however, there are exceptions. It’s easy to confuse a skin tag with other types of skin growth.
This includes the following:
Each of these skin growths has different characteristics. Warts are often mistaken for skin tags. However, the shape and color can be different. If you’re unsure what type of growth your dog may be experiencing, getting an official diagnosis from the vet is necessary.
If your dog does indeed have a skin tag, your veterinarian will likely recommend not removing it unless something is wrong. Again, they are harmless and don’t usually develop into anything more. Depending on the location of the growth, your dog may not even realize they have one. There are exceptions to when you should get a skin tag removed from your dog.
They include the following:
- It is in an irritating location for your dog. For example, a growth that continuously rubs against their collar may cause increased friction and irritation.
- The growth has become extremely large and the dog wants to scratch at it or bite it.
- An infection has occurred. This could include signs like redness, inflammation, or bleeding.
- Your vet wants to run a biopsy on the skin tag to ensure it’s not cancerous or pre-cancerous.
If your veterinarian does determine a skin tag on your dog should be removed, the next step is choosing which method to use.
Skin Tag Removal Methods Used by Veterinarians
Most of the skin tag removal methods used by vets aren’t unlike ones used by doctors. It will usually be up to your veterinarian to determine the best option for your dog.
Most of these methods are considered outpatient services and can be done in a short amount of time. They may require equal localized or general anesthesia. That could depend on your dog’s personality or the invasiveness of the treatment.
The most common removal procedures used by vets include:
- Ligation: Ligation is the process of ‘tying off’ a skin tag. It’s one of the least-invasive options to remove one from your dog. Through this method, the vet will locate that skin tag and tie it using a piece of thin string or line at the stalk. This is typically done on skin tags with longer stalks or bases. This prevents the growth from receiving the oxygen and blood flow it needs to survive. In a few days time, it should start to shrivel. It may even turn a dark color before falling off on its own.
- Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery is when your vet will freeze off the skin tags on your dog. This is a good option for dogs with multiple growths. It’s quick and painless. The vet will use liquid nitrogen to immediately freeze the tags. Again, this prevents them from receiving adequate blood flow, and they will fall off relatively quickly.
- Surgical removal: Though it’s one of the more invasive options, surgical removal is sometimes necessary to get rid of a skin tag. This involves the vet cutting out the growth. In many cases, surgical removal will be needed if the vet believes the skin tag should be sent off for a biopsy. It can take a bit longer for your pet to recover from this procedure, and they may need to wear a cone collar, so they don’t irritate the area.
- Cauterization: Cauterization is the process of burning the skin tags off. Your vet will do this using extreme heat or a laser-like pen. It’s another option that helps to remove the skin tags right away. However, it is a bit more invasive than ligation or cryosurgery. It may require your dog to go under local anesthesia so they won’t feel any pain.
How Is Cost Determined for Removal?
Again, every vet is different when it comes to how much they charge. Now that you know the different types of removal procedures, it’s easier to understand how different methods may have varying costs. Other factors also can determine how much removal costs.
Factors to consider include the following:
- Where is the vet located?
- What is the size of the practice?
- Is anesthesia needed?
- Location of the skin tag
- How many skin tags need to be removed?
- Will a biopsy be required?
- Is it an emergency situation?
The answers to these questions can help to give you a better idea of what the general cost will be. In most cases, removal can cost several hundred dollars. The best thing to do ahead of time is to get a rough estimate from your vet.
If you feel as though a particular estimate is too high, it’s never a bad idea to look at what competitors might be charging. The most important thing is finding quality care for your dog at a price you can afford.
Can I Remove My Dog’s Skin Tag at Home for Cheap?
If it has been determined that your dog’s skin tag(s) should be removed, you might think it’s cheaper and easier to do it at home. While there are a few DIY remedies for getting rid of a dog skin tag, it’s a better idea to have it professionally done.
If there are any risks involved, your veterinarian will know what to do. It will also give you peace of mind that the dog won’t be in any pain, and it helps to reduce their risk of infection. Is it less expensive to remove this type of growth at home? Probably. However, you could be putting your dog at risk as a result.
Paying for Medical Skin Tag Removal
There isn’t much to worry about if you discover a skin tag on a dog’s eyelids or just about anywhere else. In most cases, it will be completely benign and won’t need to be removed in the first place. They might be unsightly. But, if it’s under the fur it likely won’t bother you or your dog.
If for some reason your four-legged friend does need to get a skin tag removed, it’s best to let a veterinarian handle the process.
The removal process can be a bit expensive, depending on what other factors come into play. But, if it’s a matter of your dog’s health or comfort, most people are willing to get the job done correctly. When a vet removes your pet’s skin tag, you know they’re getting the care they need. The risk for infection or pain is low, and if it is in fact, something more, you can find out right away to get your dog the medical attention needed.
Regular monitoring of your dog’s skin is key to identifying skin tags and other growths. If you happen to see or feel something that wasn’t there before, contact your veterinarian to determine what steps should be taken.