Bumps on Dog Skin: When Should You be Concerned?

Bumps on dog skin can either be nothing to worry about or it could be a sign of a critical health problem. Checking your dog for lumps and bumps is a key part of keeping your dog healthy, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell what those bumps mean. Therefore, you should do your research if you find bumps on your dog’s skin. When in doubt, it can’t hurt to ask your vet about it.

Common Reasons for Bumps on Dog Skin

There are lots of reasons for bumps on dog skin, and they can all mean very different things. So, inspect your dog’s skin closely to more easily determine what the issue could be.

#1 – Skin Allergies

Skin allergies like dermatitis and food allergies are common reasons for bumps on your dog’s skin. These allergic reactions could come from them eating something they’re allergic to or it could be the result of them coming into contact with something outside. For example, grass, dirt, and water are all regular objects that could cause a reaction for your dog, resulting in small bumps on their body. These sensitive items could carry allergens that give your dog a reaction if they touch or eat them.

If your dog has a skin allergy, they will likely bite and scratch themselves frequently. Oftentimes, sneezing or coughing will be accompanied by the itching. If it happens too often, your dog will likely suffer from hair loss and sores as a result. It can be difficult to track down what’s causing your dog’s reactions, so you might want to contact your vet to help find the root of the problem.

#2 – Tumors, Warts, or Cysts

When checking your dog for abnormalities, it’s possible for you to come across a bump or lump that wasn’t there before. These are likely tumors, warts, or cysts. Many of these can go away on their own, but other times, they’re a more serious concern. If you notice the bump growing, changing shape, or changing colors, you might want to have a professional look at it.

Many dog parents fear that a lump automatically means cancer. Even though most lumps are probably a minor issue, there is still a chance that it could be a sign of skin cancer. Your vet will be able to take a tissue sample from the bump to see if it’s cancerous or not. So, if you have any reason to believe that it could be related to cancer, get it tested as soon as possible.

#3 – Fleas, Mites, and Parasites

Bugs can often cause lots of problems for dogs, which can include bumps, along with itching and biting. When it’s warm outside, fleas and ticks are common, so you’ll want to make sure you use medication to prevent them. Otherwise, they could bite your dog, leaving an irritating reaction on their skin. Additionally, parasites inside your dog’s body can also produce similar skin reactions, even though you can’t see them. If your dog has small bumps on their skin or if they’re extra itchy, it could be the result of a flea, mite, or parasite.

#4 – Canine Atopy

Canine atopy occurs when your dog inhales something that could result in an allergic reaction, such as pollen, dust, or mold. This is another type of allergy that happens fairly often. Since it’s something that your dog breathed in instead of ate or touched, it can be harder to determine the cause. However, if your dog suffers from it for a long period of time, it will lead to excessive itching and biting. Since you cannot get rid of allergens that are floating in the air, you may need to get medication from your vet to prevent these sudden reactions.

#5 – Hives

Hives is another skin condition that will cause your dog to itch like crazy. They appear as round, raised bumps that can cause swelling. They are caused by specific allergens, and they act fast. Only a half hour after exposure to an allergen, the hives could develop. Bites and medications are often the cause of hives, but it could be a number of different things. If the item that caused the hives is taken away, they should disappear on their own after a day or so.

How to Treat Bumps on Dog Skin

Many bumps on your dog’s skin will go away on their own after a while, especially if they were caused by an allergy. If you know what caused your dog’s allergic reaction, do your best to find a way to remove it from their life. If it’s an ingredient in their food, slowly transition them to a new brand or flavor. If it’s something outside, try to avoid walking them near that area. Additionally, you can use medication or allergy-friendly shampoo to help control their reactions better.

However, not all bumps can be taken care of easily. If the bump is related to cancer or another serious medical concern, you will need to visit a vet. Most lumps are not cancerous, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry. In fact, less than half of the bumps on dog skin are cancerous or dangerous. However, harmless tumors can have the same appearance as cancerous tumors, so you likely won’t be able to tell the difference without a vet exam.

Even if a lump is not cancerous, it might still require surgery. Older dogs tend to need them removed most of the time because the lumps don’t disappear as quickly as they would on a younger dog. If the bump seems harmless, your vet might just tell you to keep an eye on it. Then, if there are any significant changes in its appearance, they can discuss what types of treatment options are available. As long as you can rule out cancer, you can relax a bit. However, if it is cancerous, vets can still use radiation or chemotherapy to help your pup heal.

How to Prevent Bumps on Dog Skin

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely stop your dog from getting lumps and bumps. There are just too many uncontrollable factors that could cause them. However, there are plenty of ways to stay on top of your dog’s skin problems. First of all, you should be careful with potential allergies. If your dog gets allergic reactions easily, then you should find a limited ingredient kibble formula for them to make sure they don’t get reactions from unnecessary fillers. Additionally, you should try to keep them away from unfamiliar objects while you’re walking outside.

If you suspect that bugs could be the cause of your dog’s bumps, then you should make sure to use a flea and tick preventative. The most common option is a topical preventative, but if you live in a warm area, it won’t be strong enough. Places that don’t have cold winters have bugs out year-round, so you will likely need to get an edible prescription preventative from your vet. This will be stronger and more effective than the topical one.

It’s also extremely important to check your dog’s body as least once a month. You should examine everywhere from their nose to the tip of their tail, including inside their mouth if possible. Feel their skin in every area and keep a look out for any abnormalities. The more often you do this, the more familiar you’ll be with your dog’s skin. That way, you’ll notice right away if something unusual appears. If your dog has a lot of hair or fur, it might be a pain trying to look at their skin, but it could save your dog from a serious health concern if you do.

Bumps on dog skin are scary, especially when they could potentially lead to cancer. However, as long as you check your dog often and give them medication as necessary, they should be safe and comfortable. Your dog will likely get bumps at some point in their life, so you need to prepare yourself for the steps you should take, depending on the severity of the situation.

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