Skin tags are small, benign growths that can appear on any dog of any breed, gender, and age.
Some breeds are more susceptible to skin tags, and certain environmental factors can also play a role.
Even if these growths are harmless, there are a few things all pet owners must know about skin tags on dogs and what to do (or not do) about them.
Follicular hamatomas are a subtype of the first and much rarer. They tend to be flattened masses with hair and come in multiples.
A skin tag on a dog will most often show up as a small circular growth, a long thin growth, or grow flat alongside the affected area.
These lumps can be worrying for a pet owner to find, with many owners immediately fearing the worst.
These growths are not contagious, and you dont need to worry about your pooch contracting skin tags from another dog.
A skin tag won’t show any outward signs other than the lump itself. They can become irritated and inflamed in areas of the animals body that see more use (e.g., on your dogs paws or on the dogs neck where the collar usually stays).
As with any lump, it is best to have your veterinarian take a look anyway. But should a skin tag diagnosis be made, it’s not necessary to always remove them.
If there is a medical reason to do so, you have the option of doing this at home by yourself or having your vet surgically remove it.
Skin tags on dogs are akin to non-cancerous moles on a human and cause no harm even when left untreated.
However, if they appear in an area that may rub or irritate your pet, it’s usually better to have these removed to prevent discomfort for the dog.
While skin tags are harmless, they can look very similar to warts, ticks, or some more serious skin conditions, which can be severe and, in some cases, life-threatening.
Unless you have previous experience with recognizing skin tags on dogs, its recommended to have your veterinarian take a look at the growth for proper assessment.
In most cases, your vet will be able to give you an immediate diagnosis. If this isn’t as clear-cut, they will likely perform a simple biopsy to rule out other possibilities.
When you spot growth on your dogs skin, there is no need to panic just yet. If the growth is, in fact, a skin tag, then you have no cause for concern. Even so, many pet owners will often jump to conclusions and assume the worst.
So here are some of the common things that you may confuse skin tags for (and which they are not).
Things You Should Know
Prepare to cut your dogs skin tag by clipping their fur in the surrounding area. Then, disinfect the patch of skin with 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Cut the dogs tag with curved mayo scissors while someone else holds the dog to keep them calm. Expect the wound to bleed.
Apply a gauze bandage to the area and wait 3-5 days for the wound to heal. If your dog messes with the wound, put them in a cone-shaped e-collar.
Part 1Part 1 of 2:Preparing to Remove a Skin Tag
Question Can skin tags be a sign of cancer? Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD Veterinarian Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota, where she has over 18 years of experience as a veterinarian in a rural clinic. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD Veterinarian Expert Answer Occasionally a lesion that appears to be a skin tag can actually be a cancerous lesion. Consult your vet for advice.
Question Is it safe to remove a skin tag from below a dogs eye at home? Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD Veterinarian Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota, where she has over 18 years of experience as a veterinarian in a rural clinic. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD Veterinarian Expert Answer No. The eye is a very delicate area, and trying to remove a skin tag can cause corneal abrasions that can lead to blindness and permanent damage. Take your pet to the vet.
Question Can skin tags be a sign of cancer? Pippa Elliott, MRCVS Veterinarian Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years. Pippa Elliott, MRCVS Veterinarian Expert Answer A true skin tag is just that, a small extra piece of skin. They are not usually a sign of cancer; however, anything unusual, swollen, or that is growing quickly must always be checked by a vet.
Consult your veterinarian before removing a skin tag from your dog. In addition, remember that if the tags are large, or if they are located in the face or mouth, you should to have a veterinarian remove them instead of attempting to do it yourself. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
Skin tags are NOT malignant tumors. There are some differences in the appearance of a skin tag and a cancerous tumor as well. Cancerous tumors will often have a clear or white discharge, and they will be larger in diameter.
Can I remove a skin tag by tying it with thread?
Tie the skin tag if you can wait a bit for the skin tag to fall off. Using the clean string, thread, or dental floss, tie around the base of the stalk as tightly as possible and as close to the skin as you can. This will be a bit painful at first, but after a few minutes your dog will not feel it anymore.
How long do you leave a string on a skin tag?
If your skin tag is small with a narrow base, your GP may suggest that you try to remove it yourself. For example, they may suggest tying off the base of the skin tag with dental floss or cotton to cut off its blood supply and make it drop off (ligation).