Every person who is owned by a dog wants their dog to live a long life that is both happy and healthy, which is why finding lumps on dogs can make a person anxious. We get it. Lumps can mean nothing or they can be serious, really serious.
The first concern people have is cancer, and with cancer on the rise in dogs it’s a valid concern. A study done by TTAC Publishing, LLC and discussed on the video series “The Truth About PET Cancer” revealed, “the dog has the highest rate of cancer of any mammal on the planet.”
With a range from meaningless to extremely scary, it’s no wonder people feel anxiety if they are petting their dog and find a lump or a bump or even a wart.
Bumps, Warts, and Lumps on Dogs
Let’s start with defining what we mean when we say bumps or lumps on your dog, and why it matters. There is a difference between that fatty lump that has been on your dog’s side for 2 years and the golf ball sized lump you find pop up on their chest all of sudden.
It’s one reason we recommend signing up for Pet Health 5. When you are reminded to do a body scan of your dog each month, you are more likely to notice sudden bumps and lumps on your dog that could become problematic.
Lumps on Dogs
Lumps are below the skin. They are masses that form underneath your dog’s fur and skin and sometimes are even moveable, meaning you can pinch around them and feel the full lump. If you find one of these, note its size and position and monitor it over the next couple days and weeks.
Bumps on Dogs
Bumps are more skin level. A bump on your dog might be from a scar or may even be a callus, which many dogs tend to develop as they age, especially on their elbows. Bumps can also be from injury or look like a sty or growth on your dog’s skin.
Warts on Dogs
Warts on dogs take many different forms. Some look smooth and look like a small bump, and some look more, well, bumpy. Warts are caused by a papillomavirus, and can be contagious to other dogs, but not to people or other animals. Make your vet aware of any warts you find at your next appointment. Depending on how many there are and where they are located, you may want to seek treatment for dog warts.
When To Worry About Finding a Lump on Your Dog
If you are monitoring your dog and doing monthly body scan checks, your first discovery of a new lump or bump will mean it’s probably pretty small. Continue to monitor it regularly upon first discovery. Take note every couple days to determine if it’s growing quickly. Photos can be a helpful tool to compare size.
If you find that it is growing quickly, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. Lumps can be fatty masses known as Lipomas, but they can also be cancerous, so you want to address them quickly. Even if it’s not growing quickly, it’s worth a call to your vet to keep them informed.
Your vet can check the make-up of a lump pretty quickly to know if it’s something to be concerned about. You can also request your vet to do an official body mapping of your dog, so you have a record with the vet of what bumps and lumps are on your dog and how they do or don’t grow.
What About Bumps on Eyes
Seeing little bumps, styes, cherry eyes, or any growths on your dog’s eye is common, but can be worrisome and may warrant a vet visit. Like with any other growth after you find, you monitor it.
Sometimes styes fall off on their own, and thus aren’t harmful to your dog. But other growths could be harmful. If anything growing around your dog’s eye is irritating their eye or causing them to repeatedly scratch or paw at it, you should have it looked at.
Skin tumors can be mistaken for styes and often appear around a dog’s eyes. Tumors are shaped differently and harder than styes, so keep an eye on your dog’s eyes and have any concerns followed up on right away.
The Importance of Monitoring Dog Bumps
While we encourage you to monitor all the bumps and lumps and warts and styes, we also encourage you to follow up with your vet with any concerns. If you do find a growth that turns out to be cancerous, timing will make a significant difference.
Checking regularly and getting any of your concerns addressed quickly will help ensure you catch things early. The earlier you find it, the better chance you can take actions to heal it that are less intrusive, or at least have some time to consider your options.
How to Monitor Bumps and Lumps on Dogs by Doing a Body Scan
The best way to find any growth early is to do a monthly body scan. This is both feeling and looking at your dog’s entire body. Start at their head and feel their ears, then move all the way down to their tail. Make sure to check their legs, stomach, and paws too.
In addition to feeling your dog’s body, you should look at your dog’s body. Take a peek inside their ears and at their eyes. Then check behind their ears, in their leg-pits, between their toes, and under their tail.
Do a full and complete body scan with your hands and your eyes, and then note anything you find that seems out of the ordinary. Be sure you note where you found it, what it looks like, what it feels like, and its approximate size. If you have your cell phone handy, snapping a few photos isn’t a bad idea either.
Having this body scan log each month will help you be an advocate for your dog when you are at your next vet visit, and will help them understand a more complete picture of your dog’s history when it comes to lumps, bumps, and warts.
The best part is that you don’t need to remember because when you sign-up for Pet Health 5, we’ll send you that monthly reminder on the 5th of each month. We’ll even include a checklist and a log to use.