Much like humans, it’s possible for dogs to develop skin tags. Most of the time, you and your pup can just ignore them, but in some cases, they can lead to irritation.
But, they’re small enough, so it may seem easy for you to just remove them yourself, right? Wrong!
You shouldn’t ever try to remove your dog’s skin tags at home and instead should have a professional take care of it. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when dealing with a pup’s irritated skin tags.
What Is a Skin Tag?
A skin tag is a small, harmless growth that can appear on your pup’s skin. Though they can take many shapes, they’re not usually anything to worry about. However, if a skin tag grows too large or appears in certain places, it may begin to irritate your dog, at which point you’ll want to take them to your local vet office to get it removed.
Skin Tag Symptoms & Diagnosis
Typically, the only symptom of a skin tag is the appearance of the skin tag itself, which should just look like a small growth or bump. However, if you notice one, keep an eye on it to ensure it is, in fact, a skin tag. If it grows rapidly, or if your dog begins to get sick or seems irritated, it could be something different and you should probably get it checked at a vet.
In addition, if your pup seems fixated on one spot on their body, gnawing on it for hours on end, they could just be dealing with an inflamed skin tag. The best way to fix this is to just have it removed at the vet. However, if your dog isn’t exhibiting any abnormal symptoms, you can just leave the skin tag alone.
What Causes Skin Tags on Dogs?
It’s not entirely certain what causes skin tags, but there are several theories. Some of the most popular theories are:
- Skin tags form due to frequent irritation, making them more likely to appear under collars or near joints
- Skin tags form due to an overproduction of collagen
- Skin tags form due to dry skin caused by excessive bathing.
A single cause hasn’t been pinned down yet, so take this with a grain of salt.
Are Skin Tags Dangerous?
If it’s actually a skin tag, it’s not dangerous to your dog at all!
However, that growth that looks like a skin tag may be something else entirely. As mentioned earlier, when you notice something you suspect is a skin tag, be sure to keep track of changes in your dog’s health or behavior. Skin tags shouldn’t have any negative effects on your dog, so if they do, get things cleared up with your vet.
Dog Skin Tag Treatment Options
❌NEVER DO THIS!❌
First of all, let’s get the most important point out of the way: you should NOT try to remove your pup’s skin tags with an electric tool such as the one in the photo below. It may be useful for humans, but they can be quite painful, even dangerous, when used on dogs.
Between having to be handled and the quick, sharp pain when the skin tag comes off, it’s possible that even the most peaceful pups will lash out or bite. In addition, you may not get the entire tag in one go, which will only complicate things further.
✅ So, what should you do?✅
It depends on the size of the skin tag. If it’s small, your vet can just numb the area and freeze the growth off. However, in the case of larger tags, the procedure may need to be treated as a larger scale surgery, where the dog is put under for the procedure, and if needed, the surgery site is stitched back together. You’ll need to monitor the area until it heals, and bring your dog back to the vet if it seems irritated or infected.
Dog Skin Tag FAQ
Concerned dog owners have lots of questions about their dogs’ skin tags, and maybe you’ve had the same question, too! Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about skin tags.
Can Dog Skin Tag Removal Be Done At Home?
No, any skin tag removals for your dog will need to be done by a professional in a vet’s office. Doing it yourself can be dangerous for both you and your dog, and creates a risk of injury or infection.
Are Long Skin Tags On Dogs Safe?
As always, check with your vet. While most skin tags won’t harm your dog at all, if getting a confirmation will ease your mind, you should by all means do so. In addition, long, dangling skin tags could get caught on furniture or other surfaces, so it may be a good idea to get them removed whether it’s potentially harmful or not.
Are Dog Skin Tags Cancer?
Not necessarily. Skin tags are completely benign, and won’t negatively affect your pup in most circumstances. However, especially in the early stages, skin tags and cancerous growths can look similar. If you notice any strange growths, monitor your dog carefully, and make sure they aren’t sick or behaving strangely. If you notice anything concerning, go get it checked out at the vet. It’s best to be proactive and catch any potential issues early on.
How Much Does Dog Skin Tag Removal Cost?
It varies. The price is set by the vet themself, so depending on who you ask, you may encounter a higher or lower price. Accounting for this fluctuation, however, you can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$300 for removal. However, in the case of larger skin tags where the dog has to be put under, you’ll likely end up with a heftier price tag, around $800 or more.
Why Is My Dog’s Skin Tag Black?
Skin tag color can depend on your dog’s skin color or other circumstances surrounding the skin tag. Naturally, skin tags take the same color as the dog’s skin, so if your dog’s skin is already black, don’t worry about it.
However, if the rest of your dog’s skin is a different color, or if the skin tag seems to be growing, changing shape, changing color, or getting inflamed, you should get it checked out with a vet immediately. A skin tag exhibiting these symptoms may not be a skin tag at all, but a malignant growth, so it’s best to get rid of it quickly.
Can You Remove Dog Skin Tags with Dental Floss?
NO! As with other home removal methods, removing your dog’s skin tags with dental floss at home is a difficult, painful, and even dangerous process. Most pet owners don’t have the tools or experience that removing a skin tag requires, so while you may be able to grit your teeth to remove your own small skin tags at home, you shouldn’t do the same for your pup. As always, go with a trusted vet to get the procedure done.
For more advice on how to best care for your furry friends, check out the Health & Wellness section of my pet blog! As an animal lover myself, I want to be sure information on raising healthy pets is readily available, fun to read through, and easy to understand.