Skin Tags On Dogs – (All You Need To Know)

One day you’re just minding your own business going about your usual grooming routine you give to your dog, when it’s now time to brush their hair to have them look as fresh as ever.

But, this time brushing your dog’s coat and skin doesn’t feel the same, it feels quite odd – quite bumpy, one could say.

You zoom in to your dog’s skin to see what’s wrong, and you notice quite a bit of skin growth.

“What in the world is that?!”, you ask yourself in fear and anxiousness after what you just discovered on your dog’s body.

Most of the times, your dog has just developed some skin tags on certain parts of their body, a condition we will be covering down to the last little detail in this article.

What Exactly Are Skin Tags On Dogs?

Skin tags on dogs are small skin growths that may develop on several different parts of your dog’s body, specifically on the outer surface of their skin.

They aren’t too large in size to the extent that you’ll be able to see them from a distance, yet they aren’t too small in size to go unnoticed when up and close to your dog.

Even though skin tags on dogs aren’t exactly warts, they do look very much like warts that develop on your dog’s skin.

Here are a few other names that dog skin tags are also known by.

  • Skin polyps
  • Achrochordons
  • Fibro papilloma

Can Dogs Get Skin Tags?

To answer this question as concise as possible, yes dogs can get skin tags and it’s a more common condition/occurrence than you would imagine.

No matter how old your dog is, whether they’re still a young and growing puppy or a senior dog that’s grown wise after living for all these years, skin tags on dogs can develop at any given age.

We also often get asked whether certain dog breeds are more prone to develop dog skin tags than other dog breeds, the answer to which is not necessarily.

Up until this writing, the chances for dogs to develop skin tags have been found to be quite similar among all dog breeds.

As for the number of skin tags that usually develop on dogs, this will also depend on your dog’s case, as there’s no fixed amount of skin tags that a dog usually develops.

While some dogs may just develop one skin tag on certain parts of their bodies, other dogs may develop a couple, while other dogs may even develop multiple skin tags on their bodies.

Are Skin Tags Necessarily A Sign Of Something Bad?

Whenever dog owners discover any sort of skin tags on their dogs, the first thing that comes to mind is a disease that their dog is suffering from and one that might be life-threatening.

Dog Skin Tags And Cancer

Most of the dog owners we get questions from about dog skin tags are very fearful that their dogs are suffering from some kind of cancer, especially skin cancer, but this could not be any further from the truth.

The reason most dog owners immediately associate skin tags on dogs with skin cancer is because of the common “bump” factor, there’s always the fear in the back of our minds that any bump on any part of the skin may mean cancer.

If you fall under that category of dog owners, have ever been there & done that or have came across this article because you were actively searching online about dog skin tags right after you discovered some on your dog, then you’ll be glad to learn that dog skin tags are not at all a necessary sign of something problematic – especially not a direct sign of skin cancer.

We’re not saying that dog skin tags are all not a sign of something cancerous, as there’s always going to be the chance that a growth like this on your dog’s skin that has come out of no where eventually does turn out to be cancerous, we’re just saying that this isn’t always necessarily the case and it’s a rather rare association.

In rare cases, skin tags are a sign of a more serious problem your dog is suffering from, but most of the times it nothing more than just marks on your dog’s skin that shouldn’t be causing you any stress.

Many dogs tend to grow a large number of skin tags on several different parts of their body during their lifetime, all of which prove to be completely harmless most of the times.

When Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Skin Tags?

You should be worried, however, and look further into this issue if you suddenly notice newly-developed skin tags on your dog that weren’t there before, and if these skin tags are coupled with any of the following circumstances.

– Any behavioral changes your dog exhibits or weird actions they don’t normally do.

– Any physical change your dog’s skin tag goes through, whether that be a change in color, an increase in size, a decrease in size (especially rapid ones) or just a change in how it looks.

Dog skin tags will usually be the same color of your dog’s skin, if they change color over time or first appear in a different color than your dog’s skin color, then this is usually a sign of something wrong and you should immediately get it checked by a professional.

– Any physical pain your dog feels when you come in contact with their skin tags, since harmless skin tags on dogs are never painful.

– Any liquid discharge that makes its way from the tags on your dog’s skin.

– Any irritations near the location of your dog’s skin tags.

– Any sort of swelling that happens with the skin tag.

– A thick texture that the dog skin tag has, one that feels different than the overall texture of your dog’s skin around it.

Harmless dog skin tags will almost always have a soft texture to them, just like the texture of your dog’s normal skin.

This is why you should keep a very close eye on your dog’s skin tags and monitor them for any possible changes they undertake over time, since any similar changes could possibly signal something wrong.

Either way, we encourage you to get your dog’s skin tags condition checked/diagnosed by your veterinarian in order to completely ensure nothing is wrong and be able to dismiss any fearful thoughts coming your way.

Your veterinarian will usually be able to tell whether or not the skin tags your dog has are problematic right away, but in some rare cases they may have to do some tests and examinations in order to make sure.

What Causes Skin Tags On Dogs?

So, why exactly do some dogs get skin tags while other dogs don’t?

Up until now, science hasn’t exactly pinpointed one specific reason as to why some dogs develop skin tags during their lifetimes while other dogs don’t.

However, there is a lengthy list of possible dog skin tag causers that we’ll be covering in this section.

Senior Age

One of the most common reasons why dogs develop skin tags is simply due to old age.

Just like us humans and the way our skin develops certain features we didn’t used to see before when we were young, the same holds true for dogs when they age.

So, skin tags are one of the most common skin growths that dogs tend to experience as they age.

Unsanitary Environment

An unsanitary environment that dogs may live in (or spend great amounts of time in during their day to day lives) is one of the most common reasons why they develop skin tags.

If your dog spends even the slightest amount of time in somewhere unsanitary, they could easily catch a certain parasite or bacteria that ends up leading to the development of skin tags on certain parts of their body.

Ticks & Fleas

Skin tags on dogs is a very common condition that’s seen in dogs that suffer from ticks & fleas. In a nutshell, here’s how these parasites can lead to the development of skin tags on your dog’s body.

  1. These parasites lead your dog to feel itchy
  2. The itchy feeling causes your dog to scratch the area that itches
  3. Excessive scratching on the itchy area makes it easier for infections to occur
  4. Skin tags on dogs have a higher chance of forming

Harmful Chemicals/Ingredients

When you buy any product whatsoever that you intend your dog to make use of, are you making sure beforehand that it has been specifically designed for pet usage and that it’s free from any harmful chemicals/ingredients that may lead to problems in dogs?

For example, some people do the mistake of bathing their dogs with human shampoo instead of shampoo specifically designed for dogs (learn more about why using human shampoo on dogs is bad here), a process which leads to the damage of their dog’s skin and the tremendous increase in the chances of skin tags developing in the future.

Poor Skin Condition & Skin Damage

Besides harmful chemicals and ingredients we may be subjecting the skin of our dogs to which may be leading to the development of skin tags, we may also be undergoing certain practices per se that are very harmful to the skin of our dogs and are also leading to the development of such skin growth.

One of the most common practices that often lead to skin damage and the development of skin tags is giving dogs excessive baths, sometimes even once every day.

Unlike your skin and mine which can perfectly handle being showered even multiple times a day, the skin of our dogs can’t handle such a frequent amount of being subjected to showers and needs a much less frequent schedule to remain in healthy shape.

Upon being excessively showered, there’s a huge risk of damaging the natural oils that are present in the skin of dogs, which results in the possible development of skin tags as well as a host of other skin problems as well.

Genetics

Just like certain physical characteristics and traits are often passed on by humans to their offsprings, the same holds true for dogs and their offsprings.

A parent may pass on certain genes to their offspring that translate into the development of skin tags on certain parts of their bodies during their lifetime.

Bad Diets

Proper diets that meet all the nutritional requirements your dog has, and ones that are only made of high quality, grade A components, go a long way in preventing the development of certain conditions in dogs, one of which is skin tags on dogs.

Skin tags on dogs, just like a whole host of other skin problems that may surface at any given moment in time, may very well be the result of a poor quality diet your dog is being fed, or one that doesn’t suit their specific needs.

Where Do Dogs Usually Develop Skin Tags?

Dogs can develop skin tags on practically any part of their body, and there is no “off-limits” part that isn’t susceptible to the development of skin tags.

However, and with that being said, there are a few body parts where your dog is more likely to develop skin tags than other body parts, most common of which we’ve noted in the list below.

  • In the face area
  • In the neck area
  • On the stomach area
  • On the chest area
  • On the legs

Depending on where your dog develops skin tags, especially in certain sensitive areas such as the mouth and/or lips, they may prove to be very uncomfortable for your dog and hinder simple day to day activities they used to be able to do, such as eating comfortable.

In such cases, considering getting your dog’s skin tags removed may be a very good idea even if it’s nothing cancerous or harmful.

Should I Or Should I Not Remove My Dog’s Skin Tags?

Most of the times, the answer to this question is going to be a “not really”. There’s no real reason to seek removing your dog’s skin tags if all of these conditions are true.

– Any skin tags on your dog are not located on any part of their body that’s causing them to have problems doing any day to day functions

– Any skin tags on your dog are not located on any part of their body that’s causing them any sort of discomfort when being groomed

– Chances of infection or any health problems occurring because of the presence of these skin tags is zero

If all of these conditions are true, then there’s no real reason for you to consider removing your dog’s skin tags, other than for the sake of your dog’s outer appearance of course.

Out of all the reasons dog owners seek professional help in order to have their dog’s skin tags removed, holding their dog’s appearance in high regard is on top of the list.

This is especially true (and very well understood) when some dogs have abnormally large skin tags in certain parts of their bodies that it just becomes uncomfortable for you to look at and physically uncomfortable for your dog to walk around and live their day to day life with.

Dog Skin Tag Removal – How To Remove Skin Tags On Dogs

So, how exactly does one go about removing skin tags on dogs?

The Safest Approach – Veterinary Care

Probably the safest approach you could follow if you want to have your dog’s skin tags removed is by leaving it up to an expert in the field (your veterinarian or any professional pet care center) to take care of.

Since they have the necessary experience in dealing with these situations that you and I often lack, leaving it up to them to do this task is the #1 preferred route to follow since it’s the safest.

Most of the times, your veterinarian will give your dog a certain dosage of local anesthesia and take your dog’s skin tag off in a very simple procedure that takes minutes to complete.

DIY Approach To Removing Skin Tags On Dogs

However, not everyone wants to resort to professional animal care personnel in order to have their dog’s skin tags removed, and many people often prefer a DIY approach instead.

If you’re one of those people who prefers a DIY approach instead, then that’s fine as well and you’re free to go with whichever route you’re most comfortable with, but we strongly encourage you to read some of the many literature available on the internet about this approach before you go ahead with it, since the more you read and learn about it, the lesser chances there are of mistakes happening.

Also, and even if you choose to go the DIY route when removing your dog’s skin tags, you should at least talk to your veterinarian over the phone and let them know what you have in mind, just for reassurance and safety purposes.

We won’t be providing any detailed list of steps in this article about how to remove skin tags on dogs simply because we believe that doing such a thing yourself at home has more risks than there should be, and we hold the safety of your dog at highest regard.

Hence, we urge you to leave such a process to professional animal care personnel who have been trained to properly deal with such issues the correct and safe way.

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