Our beloved dogs go through so much yet cannot express each and everything to us in a straightforward manner. At times, their little gestures can assist us in understanding their concerns; however, for the most part, we need to trust our dog-parent instinct and figure out what is wrong with them.
Recently, I came across a minor concern which was later identified as a condition known as skin tags in dogs. It is not a big deal; however, some people may panic in the initial stage of witnessing something like that on their dog. I know a lot of dog owners who have dogs with skin tags, and after a point of time, they simply treat it as part of their skin without paying too much attention to it. As it is, this condition is not at all harmful.
As mentioned before, it is quite common and nothing to worry about. Today, we’ll be learning more about this condition and what to do or not do if you spot skin tags on your dog. We’ll also discuss some of the common symptoms that help identify the condition along with its causes and possible treatments.
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What Are Skin Tags?
If you notice a type of growth on the surface of your dog’s skin that appears to be a lump or a bump, the chances are that you are looking at something known as a skin tag. It is a relatively common condition where it is usually common among aged dogs, but some young dogs, too, tend to develop such a condition these days.
It is mainly comprised of fibrous connective tissue made of collagen proteins. It is usually the same color as the dog’s skin. Ideally, there are not supposed to cause pain, but if it is otherwise, it is best to seek professional help from your dog’s vet.
These can be in different shapes and sizes and usually appear on the neck, head, and chest area, which is usually in contact with the floor when your dog is resting. There is no need to worry about these but always remember to be careful during those grooming and play sessions about these as on being pulled, these could bleed or cause pain to your dog.
What Are The Symptoms to Watch Out For in Skin Tags?
After having understood the condition a bit, it is time to look at a few symptoms that help you recognize the skin tag on your dog. You need to be extra careful about not rubbing or scratching the surface. Also, monitor the skin up close to get an idea about its size, growth rate, shape, and color. You can keep your dog’s vet in the loop about the occurring changes.
There is no need to worry or panic, but if it bothers your pet on any level, you might want to get it medically examined.
1. Multiple Growth
You may witness irregular or multiple growths on your dog’s skin initially, which is normal. The changes may occur slowly, and since the condition is located beneath the skin, it might take time before the pet owners notice the visible differences.
2. Stalk/Wart- Like Surface
It could appear to be a growth that could be dangling from the skin. It is easier to spot such growth if you find your dog excessively licking one particular spot. It could also have a flattened plaque-like growth.
3. Hair Growth
The surface where the skin tag emerges may or may not witness hair growth, but if you notice a skin patch without any hair or with additional irregular hair growth, you can suspect skin tags on that area. Either way, the patch would appear to stand out from the rest of the skin, and the difference would be clearly visible.
4. Bleeding or Discharge
Bleeding or discharge are some symptoms triggered by external factors like scratching too much, licking, or biting the surface with the growth of the skin tag. In some cases, there might be a secondary infection growth as well, which can be a cause of additional trouble. Ensure that you are taking good care of their skin without instigating it too much, any further.
5. Ticks, Nipples, and Tumors
Watch out for ticks on your dog and ensure that what you think appears like a tick is actually one because if you try to pull out a tag growth thinking it to be a tick, you might be causing pain to your pet.
Similarly, male dogs can have up to 8-10 nipples, do not confuse these and try to locate these nipples in pairs. If you think there is nothing wrong with your dog’s nipples, male or female, you can rest assured that your dog is fine.
What Are The Some of The Possible Causes For Skin Tag?
Like most skin conditions, the cause for this one too has not been known to people. There are certain speculations that believe, or one could say, that are derived from observing the skin tags, is that it could be caused by friction. The reason behind this saying is that it usually surfaces in the areas of friction like armpits, mammary glands, or the chest where the skin rubs on the floor, etc.
Another theory points out chronic irritation or trauma as the leading cause of skin tags. These usually develop in the folds of the skin or at the pressure points like elbows etc. As mentioned earlier, these are caused by the production of fibers and collagen produced by overreactive cells called fibroblasts.
Ensure that you are not making your skin dry out too much by avoiding giving them excessive baths or using too many drying products on their skin.
What Are The Best Treatments For Dog’s Skin Tags?
First and foremost, it is natural and not a cause of worry if your dog shows signs of a skin tag. So, considering removing it without any prior trouble is not necessary. You should never try to get rid of skin tags on your own or at home. It can cause pain to your dog and might be at the additional risk of developing skin infections.
Ideally, you should speak to your dog’s vet to gain insights into the seriousness of the condition. In most cases, surgeons do not advise getting skin tags removed. In the case of small skin tags, which are not painful, surgeons may find it easy to remove those with the help of local anesthesia on the area.
But in the case of large skin tags, they might require sedation for the removal, and your dog will have to be unconscious, unlike in the previous case. Larger growth tends to be comparatively sensitive and needs to be handled with care, even by professionals. This can be a tedious process where the stitches will have to be removed after the surgery. This, too, could be painful and troublesome for your pet.
Extra Tips to Prevent Skin Tags
Skin conditions like these are unpredictable and can usually not be avoided. However, there are some measures that you can take to prevent skin tags in the first place.
- Applying sunscreen regularly to your dog can help prevent skin tags, especially if your dog’s coat is short and smooth.
- Frequently brushing your dog’s coat too can help as it promotes natural oil secretions along with eliminating dirt or any loose fur.
- Ensure that you feed your dog proper nutrition food and introduce some skin-healthy food to their diet to avoid any external flakiness or internal dryness.
- Too much bathing can dry out your dog’s skin, but regular bathing is a must. Topping their skin with a light moisturizer is also a great choice.
Skin tags are usual skin conditions that can be caused by many reasons. These do not require medical treatments as such unless there is a cause for concern. You can always let your dog’s vet know about the occurrence of the skin tags and monitor the growth and changes to ensure that the issue doesn’t go out of hand.
You might find it difficult to witness changes in their body initially. But you need not have to make a big deal out of it by constantly pointing it out in front of them as it can trigger them to lick it, leading to additional problems. It is best if you and your pet can find ways to treat the skin tag as normally as possible, for which they will have to be trained into it.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.