Ever felt a small bump while petting your dog? It can be anything, but the simplest explanation for that bump is a skin tag.
Skin tags are small, globular masses on the dog’s skin, usually with a short stalk at the base. They can appear at any part of your dog’s body, even near the eyelids, groins, and mouth.
Like humans, older dogs are more likely to get them than younger ones.
Although they can look like cancer after seeing one for the first time, there is nothing to fear them. They are usually harmless and can be good for identification and aesthetics.
Yet the best way for diagnosis of skin tags is a visit to the veterinarian. If the bump does not stop from worrying you, here are some other skin growths like skin tags:
These are masses of fat underneath the skin surface. Dogs can get them at any part of their body, but the most likely places you’ll find them are on the belly or abdomen.
Unlike a skin tag, they can grow over time. One way to recognize lipomas right away is by observing the appearance of the growth.
Skin tags usually have a stalk that separates it from the skin, while lipomas appear fixed into the skin, not being able to move much unlike a skin tag.
It is important to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible after recognizing lipomas. Although they do not spread, they can become irritating that dogs might scratch them. It is also possible that it can be a liposarcoma—one that can spread throughout a dog’s body.
2. Mast cell tumors
A mast cell tumor is another name for skin cancer in dogs. Mast cells serve a crucial purpose by defending dogs against parasites and diseases.
Yet in rare cases, these cells can lose control dividing. This forms a mass of growth on the starting site, and it can spread to other parts of the body.
Early tumors are hard to recognize apart from skin tags, yet through observation—if the tumor is growing or other ones are found at other areas of the dog’s body—one can accurately guess the need to go to the veterinarian right away.
Like people, dogs can have warts.
Warts come from a group of viruses called papillomas, and they can be found around the dog’s skin or mouth. They are distinguishable from skin tags, with warts having a cauliflower-like look while skin tags are round and smooth.
Skin warts — NOT mouth warts — do not pose a risk in many dogs since they stop growing after some time. Yet in some cases skin warts may be irritating to some dogs, encouraging them to scratch it. If that’s the case, then going to the veterinarian and removing the wart is the best solution.
In general, one should go to the veterinarian every time to have a proper diagnosis of the growth. To prevent new skin tags from growing, proper nutrition and skincare are all that is needed.
Skin tags are also not infectious to other dogs, so there is no need to worry about other dogs getting them. Yet if your dog seems irritated to it, then it can be easily removed by a local vet.
NEVER remove skin tags by yourself since infections can arise and it can be uncomfortable to your dog.
In summary, dogs will get skin tags later in their lives, yet proper care and visits to the clinic will reduce your dog’s chances of getting tagged, either by skin tags or other skin growths.