Skin Tags on Dogs: Common Causes and Treatment

There are many possible circumstances in which a dog may develop skin tags. The symptom of this skin problem is the abnormal growth of tissues (like chewing gum) attached to the dog’s face, chest, armpits, or legs. Five common causes of skin tags on dogs are listed below.

1. Inappropriate Skin Care

Skin care is always important for dogs. You can wash your dog regularly, but you should not do that very often because it will compromise the dog skin’s ability to produce natural oil or moisturizer. The oil acts as protective layer, and frequent bathing will gradually remove it. Please also pay attention to the brands and types of shampoo that you use to wash the dog’s hair. The wrong shampoo may lead to skin irritation and dryness, which possibly triggers skin tags.

2. Parasites

black skin tags in a dog.

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Parasites are everywhere, and they can easily attach to almost every place. Skin tags on dogs can be caused by both external and internal parasites such as mites, lice, fleas, and ticks. Those parasites will initially cause itching and make the dog scratch its skin often. If left untreated, the dog can easily develop skin problems including tags.

3. Genetics

Canine skin tags can be hereditary problems. It means there is almost nothing you can do to prevent the skin disorder. Nonetheless, this is not a dangerous disease, and you can always take your dog to a veterinarian for further treatment. It is also possible to remove the skin tags. The biggest concern is that you will need to frequently take your pet to a vet for regular removal.

4. Environment

The environment where your dog lives may also contribute to skin tags. Skin problems are not merely caused by small creatures such as parasites, but also chemical substances contained in pesticides and detergents. Therefore, you should ensure the cleanliness of both the environment and your pet. It is also the main reason that you should carefully choose skin care products including soaps and shampoos because those things can contain dangerous chemicals.

5. Poor Diet

Skin disorders are often related to immune system deficiency. In other words, skin tags are possibly triggered by poor diet. A veterinarian should be able to examine the dog’s overall health condition, and he/she can advise you to provide better nutrients for the pet if necessary. A well-balanced diet will generally strengthen immune system, so the dog becomes less prone to diseases and infections.

How to Treat Skin Tags in a Dog

As previously mentioned, skin tags are not life-threatening conditions for dogs. Some effective treatments to handle the problem are listed in the following passages.

1. Consult a Veterinarian

Although skin tags on dogs are not dangerous problems, you still need to have your dog checked by a veterinarian. Skin tags make the skin vulnerable to infections and injuries. If your dog scratches them roughly, it can damage the skin tissues.

In most cases, removing skin tags only requires minor surgical procedures, and your dog can leave the surgery room immediately after the removal is done. Even better, the cost for skin tags removal are far less expensive compared to surgical procedures to repair skin damages or injuries. The veterinarian may not even opt for surgical operation if there are other easier treatments possibly applied.

2. Remove the Dog’s Skin Tags

The surgical procedures performed during skin tags removal are more or less the same with the procedures for moles removal from human. The process will be quick and your dog will not feel any pain because local anesthetics are applied before the veterinarian shaves off the tags. The shaving will leave scars, but they can easily heal over time.

During the surgery, the presence of dog owner is important to calm the dog. You may also need to help to hold the dog down. If the pet is too aggressive, veterinarian may need to use stronger anesthetics. If you have your dog insured, please inform the doctor about any related issues concerning the medication to use.

3. Keep an Eye on the Dog’s Removed Skin Tag

After the tags are removed, there will be small scars on the dog’s skin. The veterinarian will not usually stitch the open wounds because they can easily heal. It is important that you can prevent your dog from scratching the scar to quicken the recovery process.


Skin tags on dogs are not dangerous diseases. In fact, it is a common skin disorder yet it can be easily removed. Surgical procedures are probably the most effective treatment, but it is not always the only method to handle the problem. As long as you provide well-balanced diet and regular bathing with proper shampoo and soap, your dog is not likely to suffer from this skin disorder.