What are skin tags?
Skin tags are the result of excessive growth of skin cells and will be the same color as your pet’s skin. Dog Skin Tags can grow anywhere on your pet’s body including eyelids and ears and are usually found in areas where the skin folds. Dog Skin Tags are soft, fleshy and malleable but can be flat, rounded, teardrop or stalk-like in shape. Tags are generally only a few millimeters in length but can grow to the size of a grape. These large tags are more likely to get bumped, pinched or crushed and cause discomfort. Usually, once a skin tag is seen, it indicates that others will be present on your pet’s body or will develop.
Whilst skin tags are harmless and non-cancerous (benign), they are commonly mistaken for skin cancer growths and should always be examined by a vet who may need to perform a biopsy to identify if the growth is malignant. It’s important to regularly check your pet’s skin. The sooner you notice any growths or changes, the better the chances of early diagnosis and recovery.
Identifying Skin Tags on Your Dog
Dog skin tags look a lot like warts. They can grow anywhere on your dog’s body. If you find one skin tag on your dog, there’s a good chance he has more on other parts of his body. Unlike warts, which are thick at the base and solidly rooted in your dog’s skin, skin tags are thin and floppy at the base. The entire skin tag may have a flattened appearance, or it may be slightly rounded and have a tear drop shape. Skin tags tend to dangle from the skin and, unlike warts, you can move skin tags back and forth with your fingers.
Causes of tags
Many veterinarians and other animal specialists have theorized many different reasons as to why they form. Although the professionals have not been able to solve the puzzle, they do believe that there is a common link to the development of tags and the following factors.
There is a long list of parasites that attach themselves to your dog. Fleas, ticks, lice, and mites are the most common, and most owners soon know when their pets have become infested. The unwanted residents will cause itching, and if not taken care of quickly, your dog can damage his skin while attempting to scratch them away. The damaged skin can become inflamed develop a host of infections and diseases.
Skin tags can be an inherited problem. So, if this is something that is in your dog’s breeding line, it is already too late. There is nothing you can do to stop them from occurring, but you may be able to lessen the chances of them by taking preventative measures outlined in this section. In the meantime, monitor your pet if the tags become infected or otherwise bothersome, take him to a veterinarian. Most veterinarians have had plenty of practice slicing them off.
How to Remove Skin Tags on Dogs At Home
First of all, let me answer the question, “can I cut a skin tag off my dog?” Yes and no. Having your vet evaluate the skin tag and handle the removal procedure is the best course of action. You would have to part with some hundreds of dollars for the procedure. You may not be able to afford that amount and in the case of older dogs, the vet may think that the age of the dog doesn’t justify the cost. I would personally disagree with such opinion as I believe older pets also deserve the best.
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It’s advisable to consult your vet with any growth to determine whether the growth is a harmless skin tag or more serious. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to the successful prevention of tumors and cancers spreading.
Schedule a consultation with your vet immediately for any of the following:
- Skin tags that bleed or become infected
- If there are pain and irritation in the affected area
- Growths that bleed or resemble wounds and do not heal
- Dark or black growths, pale or pink growths that are not the color of your pet’s skin
- Any growths around your pet’s mouth or lips as these can interfere with swallowing or even develop into cancer
- Any growths or tags that change shape, size, color or appearance