This article was updated on January 3rd, 2023
Does your dog have a dog wart? Many older dogs can start to develop warts or small little bumps and growths. This is more commonly seen in small long-haired dogs.
These warts are usually nothing to worry about. However, they will bother some dogs who will want to chew and lick these growths, causing them to become inflamed and bleed. If this happens, you may indeed want to remove these warts.
Is it Safe to Remove Warts on Dogs?
If there is a wart on your dog that needs to be removed, it is best for you to have your vet do the job. Here is why:
- Dog warts can bleed a lot.
- Removing a dog wart at home will likely create an open wound that is susceptible to infection.
- Removing a dog wart at home can be painful for your dog.
While some people have successfully removed warts from their dog at home, it is not something that I advise pet owners to try due to the possible complications.
When Should you Remove Warts on Dogs?
Many times you do not need to remove dog warts. My own dog Ruby has about 10 to 15 warts on her. She has not bothered any of them so we have not removed them. Dog warts are usually benign, meaning that they are not cancerous growths and usually do not need to remove them.
Some dogs will want to lick, chew, or scratch at the warty on their body. This can cause them to bleed. Many times the only way to stop your dog from bothering these warts is to have them surgically removed by your vet.
WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]
Three Effective Ways to Remove Dog Warts
There are a few main ways that your vet will remove a wart from your dog:
1. Using a scalpel to cut it off
This method involves your vet using a scalpel blade and cutting it off then putting a few stiches to close the skin.
2. Using Electrocautery.
An electrocautery unit will cut and cauterized the wart at the same time. This makes removing the mass very quick and painless. If the wart is very small, your dog may not even need any stitches.
3. Using Cryotherapy and freezing it off
This is what is commonly done with people. Using cryotherapy to freeze the mass and letting it eventually fall off.
The method will be determined by your vet based on the location of the wart, what equipment is available and their preferred method for removing the wart. The cost of these procedures will range from $200 to $700+ depending on where you live and how many warts need to be removed from your dog.
What You Should Not Do: Tying a string.
In the picture below, a person attempts to remove a wart on a dog with a thread. You can tie a string around your dog’s wart when the wart is dangling. However, many dog warts are flat and it is hard to tie a string around them so this is not always a practical or effective method. Additionally, this is an old and cruel, painful process for your dog – a bad idea all around. In the picture below, the area is not shaved, prepped, or sterilely scrubbed.
Can you Remove a Dog Wart at Home? (Without Vet’s Help)
There are a few ways that people have removed a wart at home such as:
- Cutting them off with a sharp pair of scissors: If the wart is not attached to the skin and looks more like a skin tag, they have to snip these off with a pair of sharp scissors.
- Tying string around the wart: Some people will tie a piece of string around these warts to try to get them to fall off.
However, there are a lot of risks to your dog (see next section), and people will often cut too much skin off, requiring a visit to the vet for stitches anyways. Another challenge that people will encounter is that the skin tag never falls off after tying the string around the wart.
It is always best to leave wart removal to your vet. They can provide your dog with a clean and painless way to remove these warts. Many people will ask their vets to remove their dogs’ warts when the dogs are sedated for a different procedure, such as dental cleaning. This helps reduce the number of surgeries and is less expensive.
Risks of Removing a Dog Wart at Home
While many people have tried to remove their dog’s warts at home, there are some significant risks and complications such as:
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
- Bleeding: They can bleed a lot. If your dog’s wart is bleeding holding a little pressure on the wart will help stop it from bleeding. You can also use corn start or toenail quick stop powder to stop these spots from bleeding.
- Infection: Another issue that can be seen is infection. Your vet will surgically clean and prep the area around your dog’s wart before removing it to help keep this area from becoming infected.
- They cut the skin too much: Some people will take a large cut out of their dog’s skin that will need stitches. Your vet will have all the tools available to suture an incision closed so that your dog can quickly heal from the wart removal.
How Much Will a Vet Charge to Remove a Dog Wart?
Many people will have warty growths removed off their dog while they are sedated for a different procedure such as spay or neuter or dental cleaning. This allows your dog to only have to undergo anesthesia once. The cost of removing a dog wart on its own is around $200 to $500. However, it may add only an extra $100 on top of another procedure that your dog might need anyway.
The two pictures below show a big wart on the muzzle of a dog before and after treatment:
What are Alternatives to Surgically Removing a Dog Wart?
Many times you may not want to put your dog through surgery to remove a wart. These are some other things that you can do:
- Just watch it. As long as it does not grow and your dog is not bothering the wart it can stay on your dog.
- Try over-the-counter wart removal creams: There are safe over-the-counter wart removal products made for dogs. These creams you would need to put on your dog’s wart each day until it goes away.
Many times warts on your dog are harmless and doing nothing is just fine.
Can You Use Natural Methods with Apple Cider Vinegar? Do These Methods Really Work?
No they do not help. If the wart falls off, it is because it was going to just go away on its own. Apple cider did not do anything to cause it to fall off.
How to Recognize Warts from Skin Tags or Other Lumps
At first glance dog warts and skin tags may appear the same: small, flesh-colored lumps on your dog’s skin can be hard to differentiate, however, there are a few differences that will help clue you in and identify dog warts.
- Warts may be darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, and lumpy like a head of cauliflower. Skin tags tend to blend in. Skin tags are flesh-colored and small.
- Warts are rounder, with a thicker base close to the skin. Skin tags will be more tear-shaped and hang from a stalk. They usually dangle away from the body on a stalk that is smaller around than the lump.
- Warts can be anywhere, but since they come from a contagious virus, they’re more likely to show up on the face and feet, where they come in contact with other dogs. Skin tags congregate in areas of friction or irritation, so between the legs and body, on the chest and the lower legs.
Your vet will be able to definitely diagnose warts or skin tags by taking a small sample and looking at it under the microscope. Learn more in our article: is it a wart or a skin tag?
FAQ About Removing Dog Warts
Are there locations that make it tricky/risky to remove a dog wart? (near eyes, nose, etc)
Warts that are located on the paws and legs are harder to remove since there is not as much skin left to close the incision. Warts of the face can be risky since there are other structures such as the eyes that you have to avoid.
What are the side effects of warts? (If Any)
There are no side effects of having warts growing on your dog.
Can dog warts just go away on their own? In which case does this happen and how do I know?
Some warty can fall off. These are usually small warts that are not very attached to your dog’s skin. It can take many months but some will just slowly go away on their own.
If your dog has warts on their body, you may be tempted to try to remove these yourself. It is best for you to just leave the wart removal to your vet. They have everything that is needed to help prevent the wart from bleeding a lot, getting infected and causing your dog excessive pain.
Many times leaving these warty growths alone and they will be just fine. Many dogs live with multiple warts on their body without any side effects.
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