Should You be Worried About Skin Tags on Dogs?

As a responsible pet owner, you want to keep your pet healthy at all times and take steps to identify any potential health problems. One way of doing this is to examine your dog regularly for any unusual lumps, bumps, or lesions. In most cases, these abnormalities are nothing to worry about and are minor health problems that will cause no problems or heal up on their own. However, there are some changes that are a cause for concern. A skin tag is something that may appear on your dog’s skin suddenly and make you question what has caused it and if there is any need for concern. Here is all you need to know about skin tags in dogs.

What Are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are small growths that appear on the skin of your dog. This often happens purely as a result of aging. They will usually begin as a small, fleshy growth that is similar in size and appearance to a wart. However, they do not calcify like a wart and remain soft to touch and are the same color as the dog’s skin. The most common areas that skin tags are found are the face, the belly, and the legs. In most cases, they are a harmless growth that is made up of either fatty deposits or skin tissue. They are usually harmless, localized, and self-contained. Most skin tags do not need any treatment, but this does not mean that you should ignore them in case it is a sign of a more serious health problem.

Skin Tags and Older Dogs

As a dog gets older, it is more likely that they will get skin tags. You should keep an eye out for them while grooming. If they are in the dog’s armpits or close to their eyes. It can become a problem for them. Skin tags elsewhere will generally not cause any problems or require removing.

You should still keep an eye on the skin tags as any changes to size or appearance can indicate a potential problem. If you notice changes or abscesses growing around the site, then you should always consult a vet. While in most cases there is not a problem with the skin tag, they can potentially be a sign of a lipoma or a mast cell tumor. This is something that you vet can check for by doing a biopsy of the tissue.

Lipomas and Fatty Tumors

Lipomas tend to grow below the skin rather than on the surface like skin tags. Just like skin tags, they are soft to touch and usually harmless. Lipomas are fatty deposits that grow as the result of the body’s natural filtration systems deteriorating, usually as a natural part of the aging process. They find it harder to excrete the toxins through sweating, urinating or passing a bowel movement. This pushes toxins through the body and results in fatty deposits. Obesity can also play a role in the body’s inability to excrete the toxins as it speeds up the process of the decline.

If a dog has a lipoma, it is usually unnecessary to have it removed. However, if you see or feel a soft growth beneath your dog’s skin, this does not mean that you should assume it is a lipoma and ignore it. It is best to get it checked by a vet who can conduct tests to confirm that it is a lipoma or diagnose another condition.

Mast Cell Tumors

The biggest cause for concern with changes to a dog’s skin is that they have a mast cell tumor. Mast cells are an important part of the immune system. They help the body to fight against allergies and also play a role in the healing process. A mast cell tumor can look very similar to both a skin tag and a lipoma and it is for this reason that you should always have these checked by a vet.

Mast cell tumors can appear at any time but are more common in older dogs. They can appear on all parts of the body but are most common on the legs, lower body, and genitals. The difference between a mast cell tumor and a lipoma is that a mast cell tumor can grow rapidly and also spread throughout the body. How the tumor is treated will depend on a number of factors, including how advanced the tumor is, its size, where on the body it is located, and the general health and age of your dog.

Staying Vigilant

It is always important to keep a watchful eye for any changes in your dog. The best time to look for abnormalities on the skin is when you are grooming or bathing your dog. If you notice anything different, it is usually not something that you should be concerned about, but it is essential that you see a vet to rule out any serious problems.


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