How to Remove Warts on Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. September 25, 2018
How to Remove Warts on Dogs

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Warts on dogs can appear relatively frequently, especially as the dog ages. Warts are characterized as benign superficial tumors which usually do not have any serious ramifications for the canine health. However, we do need to be careful as there can be complications if the dog's wart starts bleeding. The warts may grown on different parts of the body and their location can affect how discomforting they are for the dog. If they proliferate, they can also be of a nuisance, so they are something to keep an eye on.

At AnimalWised, we will give some background as well as some practical information on how to remove warts on dogs. However, we must stress how important it is to have them diagnosed by a veterinary professional as there are other causes of growths on a dog's skin.

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What are warts on dogs?

A tumor is any sort of excessive growth of tissue and, although it can connote something life threatening, it can be completely benign. Dog warts are superficial benign tumors which appear on the skin. They can originate from a virus, specifically the canine papillomavirus (CPV). This usually affects dogs which have compromised immune systems, sometimes by disease, immaturity or advanced age. Dog warts like this should not be painful.

Dog warts are easily identifiable by their cauliflower shape and texture, appearing in different places on the body. In dogs, we can also find other types of benign skin tumor. They may resemble the cauliflower aspect of warts, but are of a non-viral origin.

Are dog warts contagious to humans

There are many viral diseases which can be spread among different animals of the same species, but are not zoonotic (i.e. communicable to humans). Warts on dogs of a viral origin can spread to other canines, but they are not contagious to humans. They cannot spread warts to other animals, either. Not all diseases are dog-only. If you want to know more, you can look at these 9 diseases which dogs can spread to humans.

Since the canine papillomavirus is communicable to other dogs, it is best to keep them away from an infected animal until they go away. A recent report on an outbreak in a dog daycare facility shows that a suspected 13 out of 52 dogs contracted the virus through close proximity[1]. One interesting aspect of the report is that it claims there is no conclusive evidence to claim that dog's need visible warts to be infectious.

Sebaceous adenoma in dogs

This is a non-viral protrusion which has a similar appearance to wars on dogs. They usually appear on the eyelids and limbs of older dogs. As the name suggests, they occur in sebaceous glands, the glands at the base of hair follicles which produce fat (sebum). In general, they should not exceed 2.5 cm in width, but they can ulcerate and bleed.

Some sebaceous adenoma in dogs can become malignant, in which case they become known as sebaceous adenocarcinomas. The most common type of adenoma which look like warts are those which affect the eyelids. The meibomian glands become affected and develop cysts.

How to Remove Warts on Dogs - Sebaceous adenoma in dogs

Squamous cell carcinoma

These tumors are related to sunlight, so they usually appear in areas on the body with less pigmentation. This may include the abdomen, scrotum or the nose. There are many which adopt the cauliflower appearance of warts on dogs.

It is normal for the dog to lick this protrusion, often excessively. This doesn't mean a dog will only lick cancerous growths as many may irritate their skin and cause them to lick the area. Since a squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant tumor, it can affect the surrounding areas and even spread to the lymph nodes and/or lungs. For further information, you can check out our article on cancer in dogs.

How to Remove Warts on Dogs - Squamous cell carcinoma

Transmissible venereal disease in dogs

If a dog is infected with a venereal disease, it is possible they will be accompanied by the appearance of warts on the genitals. It can affect both male and female dogs. Cells of these infectious diseases can be transferred from one canine to another during mating. However, they can also be passed on via licking, biting or scratching. These growths can also ulcerate.

In females, these venereal warts appear in the vagina or vulva. In males they will appear on the penis. In both sexes, they can also appear on the face, mouth, nose, limbs, etc. It is not frequent, but they can be spread by metastasis.

Canine oral papillomatosis

As the above name suggests, these warts occur when the canine papillomavirus affects the dog's mouth. Cauliflower shaped warts can appear on the inside of the mouth and lips. They most often occur in young dogs less than 2 years old. At the beginning, they are pink colored protuberances. As the virus develops, the warts increase in size and turn a grayish color, eventually falling off and eliminating themselves.

The canine oral papillomavirus is also responsible for warts and legions on other parts of the dog's skin. Often it will affect their feet as they lick their paws often and thoroughly. In these cases it most commonly affects older dogs.

How to treat warts on dogs

Rather than treating warts at home, it is best to take your dog to the veterinarian for an adequate diagnoses. As we have stated above, there are protuberances on a dog's skin which may look like warts, but which could be another more serious condition such as a different type of tumor. Even if the dog has been previously examined, when the tumor bleeds or changes color, you should go for a follow up. It is normal for warts to increase in size, but they will not do so indefinitely. As they are benign and only provide a superficial nuisance, they will only require treatment if they cause discomfort to the dog.

An example of the above discomfort is if the dog has warts on their back. While this may not cause any pain on their own, they could rub against their harness which will be uncomfortable. Damaging the warts and causing them to rupture could be potentially harmful. Warts in the oral cavity can also be painful as they rub against the gums during eating. If we see black spots on a wart’s surface, it is likely that it has previously bled and scabbed over. In these cases we should contact our vet as infections can occur with skin lesions like this.

If we do need to have a dog's wart removed, the most appropriate option is surgery. Additionally, being a viral condition, we can help bolster the dog's immune system by administering a quality diet, giving enough opportunity for exercise and providing an environment free of stress. There are articles out there which claim bananas or other home remedies can remove a dog's wart. However, there is little to no scientific basis for these cures. They may not cause any specific harm, but they can cause hygiene issues or rupture the wart if rubbed too vigorously.

Can I burn off a dog's wart?

No, never burn a dog's wart off at home. Even if the growth is a genuine wart, burning it off could have detrimental consequences. If you burn the wart off without seeing a veterinarian, you could be doing something to a malignant condition which could have equally dire results. Only a specialist should diagnose the condition and recommend a course of treatment. Most commonly these options will be surgery or to let them disappear on their own.

How to Remove Warts on Dogs - How to treat warts on dogs

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Remove Warts on Dogs, we recommend you visit our Skin problems category.


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philip david lloyd
is there anything on the market i can use on dog warts
Dianne Ellis
I have an 8 year old Silky that just this year became covered with what appears to be warts all over his back. How safe is it to take him to a groomer?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Dianne,

The groomer should be used to this issue and not have a problem, but it will be up to their discretion.
I noticed a tiny scab on my cat's back after his fur was shaved due to matting; he was put under anesthesia for this. He also had a rabies shot and an annual vaccine that day. He got very sick a few days later and was treated with Clindamycin for a week.. He seems to be fine now, but the scab grew into a small tick-sized wart. The vet said leave it alone for now. I forgot to ask her if this wart is contagious to my two small dogs. All three pets are indoor pets. Thanks.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hello Lynn,

Clindamycin is an antibiotic which is is used for various inflammatory issues and bacterial infections. It has not been specified what this is, but if the treatment is over and the vet has examined them, it is likely the treatment has been successful and the cat is no longer contagious (if they ever were in the first place). We can't give you a definite answer because this is the job of the vet. Did they know you have other cats?
No other cats, just two small dogs and still wondering if cat warts are transmissible to dogs.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Lynn,

Sorry, we misread and meant dogs. The same applies, however. Warts are caused by viral infection, but it is possible the growth is called a wart, but is actually a different type of growth. As we said, we cannot tell you if the wart is contagious because we don't know the cause, if it is cross-species transmissible or if it is healed. There are too many factors, which is one of the reasons only a qualified vet can give you a proper diagnosis.

We were asking if the vet knew you had other animals because hopefully they would have known to tell you if it was infectious. While it sounds unlikely, we suggest you call the vet to clarify.
Charles Hall
Just read your article . Perhaps this maybe helpful. Many years ago, I saw on the news to remove warts on a person's hand. Duct tape. It works for genital warts as well. I'm thinking this will work for dog warts as well. My little Blue has them all over her body . The vet said that he doesn't recommend surgery due to her age. One wart, under her chin has grown larger and bleeds from her scratching. I will try the duct tape and see if that will remove it . If it works , I'll will comment again in the coming weeks
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Charles,

Duct tape can be used on some lesions such as warts and verrucas. The tape is used to cover them and starve them of air. Eventually, they should die off. They are not used to rip them off and doing so can be dangerous (just in case this is the method you are thinking of). Unfortunately, dogs will probably not like keeping tape on themselves for any length of time, so this method may not work great on canines.

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