Dog Skin Tag Removal – Whole Dog Magazine

Many older dogs, like seniors, develop skin tags that do not require veterinary care. Even black skin tags on dogs are usually harmless, although sometimes people choose to remove skin tags for cosmetic reasons. One exception to the harmless rule of thumb is skin tags on a dog’s eyelids.

Skin tags on your dog’s eyelids may require veterinary intervention. In this location, the skin tag may rub or irritate the cornea, causing eye discharge and/or corneal abrasion. If you notice your dog’s eyes are red or your dog is rubbing their eyes, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.

Technically, a skin tag is a fibrovascular papilloma. They are most commonly seen in poodles, cocker spaniels, miniature schnauzers, or mixed breeds of these breeds. The color of a dog’s skin tag may vary depending on the skin on which the tag grows.

Skin marks or ticks

Skin tags and ticks on dogs look similar, but ticks are usually brown, reddish, or gray in color, while skin tags tend to be the same color as a dog’s skin. If needed, use a magnifying glass and look for the legs on the spot. If you see legs, that’s a tick and should be removed carefully.

Remove dog skin tags at home

Although skin tags rarely need to be removed, you should not remove any at home. Removal can be painful, bleed, and leave open sores that may require a trip to the veterinarian and antibiotics.

Skin tags are usually not affected unless they are in an area that is irritated and may ulcerate, such as around the collar. Check your dog monthly and keep an eye out for changes in skin tags. Growth, irritation, sores, chewing, or licking of an area are all reasons for a quick veterinary check-up.

If your veterinarian has any concerns about skin tags, she will perform a needle biopsy or remove the skin tag. It can be removed by surgery, laser or electrocautery. If your dog is under anesthesia for another reason, you can ask your veterinarian to remove any skin tags that are bothering your dog (or you), but this will cost extra. See also “Looking for Moles on Your Dog” and “Skin Lesions and Cancer.”

What is that skin?

skin lesions appearance color size
mole Fairly flat with skin, wide base; smooth surface pink, white, gray or black About a quarter inch in diameter
skin tags Projections from the skin, often connected by thin stems; may be smooth or bumpy Usually the same color as skin A little smaller than the eraser tip of a pencil
Tick Like a brown spot with little legs that gets bigger as the tick sucks blood reddish brown to gray brown From almost microscopic to sesame seeds that grow as you eat them
wart Often has a cauliflower-like appearance; starts out as a small, flat lump and then grows larger and becomes bumpy white, grey, pink or dark Starts small and gets bigger and bumpier; can come in clusters so vary in size
cancer Cancerous lesions vary widely in color, size, and appearance. Any growth you are unsure about should be evaluated by your veterinarian immediately as soon as it is discovered. The faster the cancerous or precancerous growth is removed, the better the dog’s prognosis will be.