As Amazon Associates, we may earn from qualifying purchases. See disclosure in sidebar.

6 Types of Raised Bumps in Dogs [Pics & Vet Advice]

Score for Seniors:
Activity Level:
Weight: Pounds


vet exam of the skin

What causes raised bumps on dogs? While we commonly see dogs with various lumps, raised bumps in dogs usually affect a superficial, often larger area of skin than an individual lump. As a vet, I see several different conditions causing ‘raised bumps’ – so let’s review them.

Top reasons for multiple raised bumps on dog skin

1. Warts

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 wart groupings, as shown on the pictures below:

Click here to learn about dog warts with pictures & treatment options.

2. Infections

Bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) can be localized or affect large areas, causing itching, redness and little bumps (papules and pustules). Infections also cause hot spots and abscesses which can result in solitary raised bumps. A mild, localized skin infection could resolve with time but they frequently need veterinary treatment, including topical washes and topical or oral antibiotics. Learn more about dog skin infections.

small red raised bumps, signs of a skin infection

3. Hives

Allergic reactions – to foods, medications, insect bites or environmental allergens – can occasionally cause hives. These raised, itchy red welts can appear across large areas of your dog’s coat. Hives may resolve on their own – but if they’re severe or you notice other symptoms like facial swelling, breathing difficulties or vomiting and diarrhea, you should see your vet. Learn more about allergy skin rashes.

hives raised bumps on dog

4. Insect bites and stings

Even if your dog isn’t allergic to them, insect bites and stings are a common cause of localized raised swellings, especially in the warmer months. It’s important to be aware of the insects in your area as some can be dangerous to dogs.  Generally, swelling will resolve over a few days, though antihistamines from your vet may help. If you notice severe pain and inflammation, breathing difficulties, weakness, vomiting or collapse you should see a vet as soon as possible.

5. Parasites (fleas, mites, ticks)

Parasites – including fleas and mites – can cause widespread crusting, inflammation and an irregular, bumpy texture on your dog’s skin. They usually also cause itching and discomfort. If you suspect your dog has fleas, it’s worth trying a flea treatment. If their condition is severe or they don’t respond, it’s worth seeing a vet. Learn more about flea scabs and what dog mites look like.

dog skin after flea bites
Flea bites on a dog

6. Contact dermatitis

Occasionally, we see contact dermatitis – frequently on exposed skin like the belly – where a dog has come into contact with a plant, cleaning material, chemical or other substance that has caused a reaction. Symptoms include redness, itching and a rash of raised bumps or blisters. Secondary bacterial infections may also occur. It’s important to try to determine the cause – e.g. a specific plant or a new shampoo – so you can avoid it. In an acute flareup it’s worth seeing a vet to rule out other causes and treat the rash if needed.

Top reasons for (mostly single) raised lumps in dogs

Numerous types of lump can be described as a ‘raised bump’ in or on the skin, including cysts, warts, skin tags, benign tumors like adenomas and malignant tumors like mast cell tumors and sarcomas. If your dog has one or multiple lumps, it’s worth finding out more about types of lump seen on the skin and discussing testing with your vet. Below are a few pictures with links to learn more:

1. Cysts

Cysts are fluid-filled raised bumps. They’re common in dogs of all ages and can occur singly, or your dog could have several of them. These types of dog cysts can be tiny or grow up to an inch or more in size.

2. Adenomas

Sebaceous adenomas tend to grow outward on to the skin surface, resulting in raised bumps. The growths are usually 4mm to 10mm in size and sometimes they might extend below the surface of the skin. Removal is usually curative, but removal is not usually necessary unless it is getting infected or irritated.

3. Skin tags

A skin tag is a benign growth that develops on the surface of your dog’s skin. They vary in appearance with a range of different sizes and shapes. Many skin tags are pedunculated – this means that they are attached to the skin via a narrow stalk leaving them dangling in space. Skin tags are non-cancerous and generally don’t cause any harm to your dog. 

4. Other tumors

Although most dog lumps and bumps are benign, cancerous tumors can develop, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference between a benign or a malignant (cancerous) growth. Cancerous, or malignant, tumors of the skin can be small or large. They may itch or cause the senior dog some discomfort. They may do neither. Cancerous skin lumps or tumors in dogs include mast cell tumors, mammary gland tumors, malignant melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

View more pictures of lumps and bumps, or malignant tumors in dogs.

Signs that you need to see your veterinarian

If your dog has a mild sting or a few pimples, you don’t necessarily need to rush to the vet. However, if their condition deteriorates – for example, their paw is swelling up significantly or their skin rash is spreading – you should see your vet.

If you ever notice raised skin bumps alongside symptoms like lethargy, gastrointestinal signs or breathing difficulties it’s essential to see a vet urgently.

Any new lumps or bumps that persist for more than a couple of weeks should also be checked out. Often, it is not possible to diagnose a new raised bump just by looking at it. Physical exams and diagnostic tests are required to confirm a correct diagnosis.

What will happen at the vet

For most of these conditions, your vet will recommend some medication – for example, topical or oral antibiotics, antihistamines and pain relief or anti-itch medications.

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

Sometimes, further testing like a skin scrape to identify bacteria or parasites may be required.


  • Dr. Primrose Moss, Vet Surgeon

    Dr. Moss graduated from the prestigious University of Cambridge in England with a Bachelor's of Veterinary Medicine and a Master's in Zoology. She is currently a veterinary surgeon at Avonvale Veterinary Centres in the UK. Her aim is to provide reliable and accessible information to pet owners, enabling them to make better informed decisions about their pets' care.

How useful is this page?

Help us improve. Click on a star to rate it:

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.