Most dog owners get traumatized when they notice little pink modules bud out of their puppy’s mouth. I must admit at this point that I once panicked when my adorable Bobby developed warts some years back. In this guide, we discuss some tips on how to get rid of dog warts at home plus some vet-recommended procedures.
But before I delve deeper into the details, let’s look at some causes of these skin swellings and how dogs get them in the first place.
What Causes Dog Warts?
If you’re just dipping your feet in the adorable pool of dog rearing, you’re probably wondering what these dog lumps are. In a nutshell, warts are tiny, rough, pinkish modules that sprout out of dogs’ lips, mouth, and sometimes on their eyelids or other parts of the face.
Unlike hyperpigmentation that is caused by metabolic issues such as skin infections, allergies, or endocrine disorders, the most prevalent type of dog warts is caused by canine papillomavirus–1 (CPV–1). More often, dogs under the age of two years are more susceptible to these lumps. The condition is referred to as viral papillomatosis.
Most of these lumps are smaller than half an inch in diameter and form a rough surface, just like a human wart. Sometimes they elongate with a narrow base of attachment. You will rarely find a dog with a single lump, so if you notice only one, look out for more.
CPV–1 virus is contagious, meaning that your dog can get them when they get into contact with infected dogs or even objects they scratch on. To become infectious, the virus must come into contact with the abnormal or traumatized skin, and the incubation period is about 1 to 2 months.
So, be sure to keep your dog off daycare, dog parks, or boarding until the lumps have gone for at least a few weeks.
A recent report on a warts outbreak in a dog daycare facility indicated that 13 in 52 dogs contracted the virus through close proximity. An even more interesting aspect of the report is that no conclusive evidence proves that dogs need visible lumps to be infectious.
Dog warts (viral papillomas) only spread among animals of the same species (dogs). It is not zoonotic, so it’s not communicable to humans. Dog warts can only spread to other canines and not to other animals like pigs, sheep, etc.
With that said, always consult your veterinarian if your dog’s warts occasionally cause problems with chewing or swallowing or when they last for more than three months.
Common Conditions Confused With Dog Warts
The method of eliminating these skin issues will depend on several factors. But first, let us look at some common diseases that are often confused with warts:
1: Sebaceous Gland Adenomas
Older dogs aged over five years are prone to developing wart-like skin masses that vary in size from a quarter to one inch. These masses can appear on any part of their bodies, and many dog owners often confuse them with warts. In fact, some call them “old dog lumps.” But the truth is, these are not warts but non-cancerous (benign) tumors of the skin’s oil glands.
They are medically referred to as sebaceous gland adenoma. To the regular dog owner, they appear like warts, but they are often not as rough on the surface. Whenever the symptoms are confusing, always consult with your vet to determine if the masses are viral papillomas or sebaceous gland adenomas.
2: Squamous Cell Carcinoma
These are tumors related to sunlight, so they often appear in skin areas with less pigmentation, including your dog’s abdomen, nose, or private parts. Some types of squamous cell carcinoma adopt the cauliflower appearance, but they are not warts. Affected dogs often lick the affected areas excessively.
But note that dogs will often lick any irritating skin areas, so licking does not amount to the presence of cancerous growths. Squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant tumor that affects other surrounding areas and can even spread to the lymph nodes and/or lungs.
3: Transmissible Venereal Diseases
On many occasions, dogs infested with venereal diseases can have warts on the private parts. This condition affects both female and male dogs. During mating, cells of this infectious disease can be transferred from one canine to another.
Additionally, they can be transferred through licking, scratching, or biting. If not handled on time, these growths can escalate into a canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT).
Venereal swellings may appear on the private parts of dogs. But for both sexes, these lumps may appear on the mouth, face, nose, limbs, etc. Though not common, transmissible venereal diseases can be spread by metastasis.
If you don’t plan to breed from your pooch, it’s best to just neuter or spay them to prevent all these troubles.
4: Canine Oral Papillomatosis
When papillomavirus affects your dog’s mouth, it is referred to as canine oral papillomatosis. It’s often associated with the appearance of cauliflower-shaped warts on the inside of the mouth. This condition is common in young dogs aged 2 years and below.
As they start off, the swellings are pink colored protuberances, but as they develop, they increase in size and turn into a grayish color. Eventually, they fall off and diminish.
The canine oral papillomavirus may also result in legions and warts on other parts of the dog’s skin. As dogs intensely lick their feet and paws, the condition affects these areas, especially in older dogs.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Warts
Since warts are viral, there are not many proven treatment options. More often, the swellings go away in one to three months without any treatment. But if you’re looking for tips on how to remove these swellings on dogs, I will cover some home remedies that have actually worked for many dog owners.
Vets may treat these swellings if they persist past three months or when your dog has an untreatable immunosuppressive disease. If your dog is on immunosuppressive drugs, you may need to seek the help of a veterinarian.
Some treatment options your veterinarian can consider include:
- Surgical removal, cryotherapy, and laser treatment are other options to consider if the lumps are causing serious problems for your dog or when the symptoms are not regressing after several months.
- Crushing viral swellings is an option that some vets use to induce your dog’s immune system and clear the virus. Don’t try this on your own, as it can cause a lot of discomfort for the dog.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Warts at Home
There are no proven natural remedies that will get rid of these skin swellings on dogs, as you’ve already known. Luckily, there are many home remedies you can use to improve your furry friend’s immune system and help them heal faster. Applying apple cider vinegar (works like salicylic acid that peals away the affected skin), tea tree oil, banana peel, pineapple juice, and coconut oil. So, the focus is to boost your dog’s immunity and let their body eliminate the virus naturally.
1. Cell Advance Supplements
Nutrition Strength is an effective anti-oxidant supplement formulated to take the burden off your dog’s immune system and help them effectively fight the virus-causing lumps.
2. CAS Options
Mushroom Max is another medicinal mushroom supplement that can help dogs to eliminate warts. Medicinal mushrooms comprise beta-glucans that exhibit anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. This supplement may help stimulate your dog’s immune system to fight viral papillomas.
3. Application Of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is very effective natural remedy in your dog’s healing process. You simply puncture a Vitamin E capsule and apply the content directly on the lumps. Apply twice every day for two to three weeks until the swellings have fully cleared. Applying apple cider vinegar is another great natural remedy rich in Vitamin E that can help clear these swellings naturally. You can also apply Vitamin C Capsules or Vitamin C Tablets to fasten healing.
4. Homeopathic Therapy
You can also use a homeopathic remedy known as Thuja to treat dog warts. However, you need to have your vet diagnose the papilloma virus to ensure it’s not a tumor or other wart-like conditions we discussed before. Apply Thuja essential oil directly on the swellings at least twice daily. Be sure to consult your vet before you commence the treatment! Repeat the process daily for up to one week.
The efficacy of these natural wart remedies varies depending on the immune system of your dog as well as the specific breed. But, many dog owners have reported the effectiveness of these methods in reducing the size of warts and completely eliminating these scaly plaques in just a few weeks. Moreover, the results may not be permanent, especially on old dogs that often develop new papillomas as they age.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Warts The Surgical Way
When dog warts persist past three months, it could be time to see a veterinarian to apply the right treatment for warts. Depending on the severity of the papillomas, one alternative your vet could recommend is a surgical procedure.
Surgical warts removal is a great way to negate the risks of tumors. However, it’s important to note that surgical removal of these scaly plaques can be costly and comes with the risks associated with any kind of surgery. In my opinion, this should be a last resort when other remedies seem not to work.
Warts are viral infections that often go away on their own after a few weeks. So, when you notice your furry friend has a few pink modules on the moth or face, you shouldn’t freak out. Just have your vet diagnose the condition to rule out the possibility of growth. Afterward, use the natural remedies I have discussed here to speed up the recovery.
Additionally, feed your dog on a healthy diet to boost their immune system and help them fight off the infection naturally. Avoid overuse of anti-inflammatory medication and keep your dog away from crowded dog parks and shows to prevent infestation. It’s also important to keep the modules clean and germ-free by bathing your dog regularly with warm water and safe shampoos.
Some progress has been made to produce papillomavirus vaccines, and I will keep tabs on any future updates.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can I Burn Off A Dog’s Wart?
No. Don’t try burning dog warts at home. Even if your vet has accurately diagnosed the growth to be genuine warts, burning them off can cause detrimental consequences. Burning off warts could cause further problems to a malignant condition.
Only qualified vets should diagnose warts and recommend the right course of treatment. Mostly, vets recommend natural remedies like applying vitamin E or Thuja pallets, but a surgical procedure can be recommended for severe cases.
Can You Remove A Wart From A Dog?
Only a qualified vet should remove warts from your dog. Some common removal procedure includes electrocautery (burning), sharp resection (cutting), or cryotherapy (freezing). In some cases, removing a single wart can cause others to fade away naturally. Some dog owners have also reported positive outcomes by rubbing these swellings with pumice stone, rinsing with warm water, and applying petroleum jelly.
How Do Dogs Get Warts?
Warts in dogs are caused by a viral infection (papillomavirus). Once your dog suffers and recovers from one type of warts, it becomes immune to that particular strain and not to others. Dogs catch warts through a break or weakness in the skin. Since dog warts are contagious, your dog can grab the infection from other dogs that have the virus.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Warts On Dogs?
Many dog owners have used apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for warts, and the results have been impressive. Vinegar works by burning and slowly destroying the infected skin, causing warts to fall off. Just like salicylic acid, apple cider vinegar irritates the skin and stimulates your dog’s immune system’s ability to fight off virus-causing warts.
Are Warts On Dogs Dangerous?
Generally, dog warts are not dangerous, but you need to reach the right diagnosis with your vet. What looks like warts could actually be a more lethal skin condition. Some wart types may also cause pain and infect the skin, which may require medical treatment.
Why Do Dogs Get Warts When They Get Old?
The papillomavirus that causes warts tends to be prevalent in older dogs for an obvious reason – lowered immunity. Immune-suppressed dogs and older dogs will grow these lumps periodically, and even after treatment, they can reoccur.