This article was updated on August 6th, 2023
Dog warts (Papillomas) are single or clusters of tiny lumps, which can disappear after a few months. They are occasionally cancerous but are most often benign. Warts commonly appear on a dog’s head (near the nose, mouth and eyes), legs and paws, but can be found almost anywhere. In this article, we will review several pictures of warts, and discuss best treatment options.
Causes of warts on dogs
Canine warts are caused by a virus and are contagious from dog to dog, but luckily not from dog to human, or to cats. This virus tends to take hold best in dogs whose immune system is weak (which is why puppies and older dogs are especially at risk).
Canine warts are caused by a virus and are contagious from dog to dog, but luckily not from dog to human, or to cat. This virus tends to take hold best in dogs whose immune system is weak (which is why puppies and older dogs are especially at risk). Dogs who have been on corticosteroids for any extended period are also more susceptible, as the steroids weaken the immune system. The same can be said for dogs who are suffering from chronic health problems
Are dog warts serious or benign?
Warts on dogs are most often benign and will often disappear of their own accord after a few months. Occasionally they can be, or become, cancerous so any wart that is a long-term issue, or that changes in color/size/look needs to be investigated by a vet.
Of course, you’ll want your vet to look at any new growth, lump, or bump on your senior dog just to make sure that it isn’t anything to worry about. Once confirmed as a benign wart, all you need to do is to keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t grow, change, or become infected.
If a wart starts to bleed, grow, or look more like an ulcer than a wart, it needs to be re-evaluated by your veterinarian, as those changes could be signs of malignancy. Any wart that has a variegated color (ie dark/light areas) and is on his muzzle, lips, or eyelids also needs to get a close look from your vet for the same reason.
If the wart, or warts, start to cause a problem for your dog and are uncomfortable or irritating to him, cryosurgery (freezing them off) is an option. But there is some discomfort related to that procedure, and the stress of it can lower the immune system even more. Read our related post: How to Remove a Dog Wart.
Pictures of warts on dogs
Warts come in many different shapes and forms as shown on the pictures below.
On the picture below, a veterinarian shows a wart on a dog’s neck:
Warts can show up as a single small lump, or as a group or cluster of tiny lumps which look a little bit like a cauliflower floret.
Older dogs tend to develop single warts, whereas puppies are more prone to multiple groupings, however either type of wart (papilloma) can develop on a dog of any age.
Benign warts usually don’t need any treatment unless they get infected, get in the way, or become irritated. Dogs licking or scratching their warts may end up irritating them. Other damage can also be done by contact with collars or harnesses.
Of course, you’ll want your veterinarian to look at any new growth, lump, or bump on your senior dog just to make sure that it isn’t anything to worry about.
On the picture below, you can see a pink, pearly and hairless lesion that is raised and ovoid shape. This pink wart could also turn out to be a benign skin tag or a cancerous mast cell tumor. This is why it is so important to meet with your veterinarian to run the correct diagnostic tests.
Before & after treatment
The two pictures below show a big wart on the muzzle of a dog before and after treatment:
Where do warts grow on a dog?
Warts commonly grow near a dog’s face (near the nose, mouth and eyes), and toes or paws, but can be found almost anywhere.
Wart near a dog’s nose: Below is a picture of a dog wart on the face, near the dog’s nose:
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
Wart on dog’s paws: Warts are also commonly found on paws or toes, or near the paws, as shown in the pictures below:
This picture shows a wart on a dog’s leg:
Pictured below is a black wart on a dog’s leg:
WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]
Warts near the mouth and lips:
Does my dog have a wart or a skin tag?
Dog warts are also very similar to dog skin tags, as showcased in the image below. If you are not sure if your dog has a wart or a skin tag, read our article about the Differences Between Dog Warts & Skin Tags.
What you should NOT do: In the picture below, a person attempts to remove a wart on a dog with a thread. This is an old and cruel, painful process for your dog – a bad idea all around. In the pic, the area is not shaved, prepped, or sterilely scrubbed. See our article on “How to Remove a Dog Wart“.
Are there any home treatments that can help my dog?
Vitamin E oil applied directly to the wart can sometimes cause it to shrink and eventually disappear.
Boosting your golden oldie’s immune system, making sure their diet is optimal, and treating any underlying health issues properly will all help their body to be stronger and healthier overall. This may also reduce their chances of getting warts and other old dog lumps, such as lipomas too.
Treating warts on dogs / removing warts
Simple old dog lumps like benign warts usually don’t need any treatment unless they get infected, get in the way, or become irritated. This can happen if a dog licks or scratches at the wart, or it is in an area that’s rubbed by a collar or harness, for example.
If the wart, or warts, start to cause a problem for your dog and are uncomfortable or irritating to them, there are many options for removal with your veterinarian.. You can read our article from Dr. Ochoa about how to remove dog warts (which includes cost estimates).