Help! My Dog Has A Lump

If you’re a dog owner, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll find a lump at some point. Dogs get lots of lumps and bumps, especially as they get older. How do you tell which ones are more serious?

Later I’ll show you a large gallery of pictures and descriptions of the most common lumps of dogs.

Which Dog Lumps Need Removal?

Some of the ways you can identify a dangerous lump are:

  1. Speed: if a lump looks bigger in only a month it’s growing rapidly
  2. Shape: smooth, round lumps whether on or under the skin are usually worse
  3. Appearance: black, pink or ulcerated surfaces are more worrying
  4. Feel: subcutaneous lumps should move easily between the skin and the body
  5. Position: watch out for lumps on the head, legs and tail (I’ll explain later)
dog skin tumour
Typical appearance of many skin lumps such as mast cell tumours or histiocytomas. Slide shows typical FNA appearance

The only way to know for sure is to take a biopsy. That’s where we take a small piece and get it examined. A biopsy does two important things:

  1. It tells us whether the lump is dangerous or not
  2. It helps us decide how big a surgical margin we need

Common Lumps Of Dogs

So the earlier we see a lump, the more options we have. If you’re afraid of bad news, don’t be; despite the horror stories, a biopsy or surgery isn’t always needed, and most lumps are benign. Your vet can even identify most lumps straight away. Here’s what they are and how we can tell.

See also: Common Mouth Lumps Of Dogs and A Lump Below The Eye

Lipoma or Fatty Growth

What they are: the classic lump under the skin of older dogs. It’s actually a benign tumour of fat cells, and should grow so slowly it takes 6 months to see any change. Most often found on the chest or abdomen.

How we tell: a fine needle aspiration (FNA) like I’m demonstrating in the video gives a clear answer. Never assume a lump is a lipoma unless your vet has done this first.

Treatment: none, usually. Lipomas need removal only when they occur in difficult positions like the legs or armpits. I also take them off younger dogs if they will get huge in a normal lifespan.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

dog sarcoma tumour

What they are: fast-growing, locally invasive tumours of connective tissue, common in large breeds.

How we tell: biopsy is necessary. Sarcomas feel just like lipomas and are often mistaken for these if a needle aspirate isn’t done. A clue in this case is the position; lipomas are rarely on the legs.

Treatment: prompt, careful resection with a wide margin. The picture shows a fibrosarcoma on a leg with a standard 2cm margin. I hope you can see why the earlier we check these lumps, the better.

Sebaceous Cyst

dog sebaceous cyst

What they are: a blocked sebaceous gland causes a buildup of hard, cystic material attached to and under the skin. Note in the picture how the skin surface is reasonably normal-looking.

How we tell: a fine needle aspiration is necessary to distinguish from other masses.

Treatment: none, usually. Most sebaceous cysts never cause problems though occasionally they will burst.

Sebaceous Adenoma

sebaceous adenoma dog

What they are: a benign tumour of sebaceous glands, often wrongly called a wart. Very common in Poodles, Maltese, Bichons and their crosses. This one is on an ear.

How we tell: biopsy is necessary, however, the classic appearance and slow growth make us near-certain just by looking.

small sebaceous adenoma

Treatment: most sebaceous adenomas never cause problems, but any that are ulcerated or being licked need removal.

Here’s another sebaceous adenoma, showing what they look like when small.

Papilloma or Wart

canine papilloma

What they are: multiple small lumps often on the face and head. Just like in humans, warts are caused by a papillomavirus; dogs that get them go to dog parks or day care.

How we tell: biopsy is necessary, however, their classic feathery appearance is hard to mistake.

dog ear warts

Treatment: none. Although they can look terrible, warts should go away by themselves after a few months.

Here are a group of warts on the ear and die of the head. See also: pictures of dog warts in the mouth.

Skin Tag

skin tag dog

Skin tags are very similar to warts except they are usually smooth, long and narrow. They grow extremely slowly and pose no threat. The one pictured is quite large, and unusual in being pigmented, not pink.

Skin tags may start with anything that causes skin damage, such as papilloma virus, injuries, abrasion or infection.

Mast Cell Tumour

What they are: fast-growing, pink button-like lumps which can be well-behaved or very aggressive. MCTs have a reputation for recurring following incomplete removal.

How we tell: your vet can usually do it via fine needle aspiration (see earlier) but sometimes a biopsy is required.

Treatment: should always be removed with a margin depending on the ‘grade’ or severity.

dog nasal infection

What they are: fast-growing, raised red lumps sometimes with a surface crust. Granulomas look like aggressive tumours but are actually a solid form of bacterial infection.

How we tell: sometimes a biopsy is required but we are often sure enough just from inspection.

Treatment: antibiotics, not surgery.


canine cutaneous melanoma

What they are: slow-growing, dark lumps not caused by sunlight. Skin melanomas of dogs need removal, but they are a lot less malignant than human ones and shouldn’t make you lose sleep.

How we tell: there isn’t much else that’s black.

Treatment: removal. Baxter (pictured) gets repeated melanomas. After removing the first few we have been watching his latest set for signs of growth.

Haemangioma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma

dog haemangioma lump

What they are: two tumours caused by ultraviolet damage from sun exposure, common in Adelaide on unpigmented areas of sunbathing dogs. You can see that the one on the dog’s leg has started on a pink area.

How we tell: haemangiomas are red, berry-like masses that bleed easily; squamous cell carcinomas are raised, crusty sores.

Treatment: removal. SCC, in particular, can spread to lymph nodes and cause death if left too long.

Perianal Adenoma

dog anal lump

What they are: benign tumours found especially around the anus or the underside of the tail

How we tell: position and slow growth, plus their strong association with entire males or late desexing (though we occasionally also see them in females and neutered males too)

Treatment: removal, best done as soon as possible given the tricky location. This one is bigger than ideal.

Follicular Cysts

dog follicular cysts

Follicular cysts are rare skin lumps caused by dilation and rupture of hair follicles. Although they may look like tumours, they are benign and usually easy for your vet to remove under anaesthetic.

A Mystery Lump

floppy benign lump

This one we also see frequently. It’s very soft and squishy, has an irregular outline and is extremely slow growing. I have never needed to have one removed or tested.

Phew! There are lots of rarer lumps on and under the skin but I hope you’ll never see them. For example, the other one at the start is a Sertoli Cell Tumour caused by a retained testicle. No dog should suffer from any of even the worst of these tumours if you get them checked in time.

dog cutaneous lymphoma
Epitheliotropic lymphoma

Even rarer is the last one. You can read more about epitheliotropic lymphoma here.

Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These help topics are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story! The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet is unwell, please seek veterinary attention.

Note: comments below are welcome but please remember that only a visit to a vet can truly tell the identity and seriousness of a lump.


118 Replies to “Help! My Dog Has A Lump”

  1. Hi Andrew
    Thank you for replying
    It has turned out to be an under skin cyst that burst yesterday I’m still giving him the antibiotics though incase if infection

  2. Hi I have an 8 year old Chihuahua that has a round lump underneath his eye and his face was swollen at first i thought he had an abscess on his tooth and vet gave me antibiotics for him the swelling has gone but the lump is still there it feels kind of spongy not hard and doesnt seam to be bothering him

    1. Hi Debra. Without seeing your dog I would tend to agree with your vet. After a tooth root abscess is treated, the lump can persist, especially if the tooth is not removed. Sometimes we can’t be sure a tooth is the cause until we do the dentistry, but if it’s necessary anyway there’s no harm in doing it.

  3. Hi, I have a 10 year old sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She’s always been in great health until spring of 2018 we started giving her heart meds but still in good health. But back sometime in mid October 2019 I found a lump on her tail, located on the top left side of her tail underneath her skin maybe 2-3 inches from her hiny, that felt round and smooth. I took her to the Vet a month later in Nov 17, 2019 and he injected some sort of a solution and told me to come back in a week to see if it subsided but it didn’t. He said we should do surgery but since she’s in her older years and has a slight heart weakness I’m afraid to have her go under. Vet said it’s not urgent so he suggested to have surgery after Christmas so I visited the Vet last Friday, January 3, 2019 and he said just leave the lump alone (he mentioned it might be cancer) since even if we do surgery on her and take the lump out she will grow another. At the same visit he mentioned cleaning her teeth is more important so to have her go under to clean her teeth and also to remove the lump on her tail. I’m confused and scared for her. Can you advise me as to how I should handle this…whether it is safe for her to go under anesthesia to clean her teeth and remove the lump on her tail or to leave her alone. Is the lump in your opinion benign or malignant and if left alone it won’t have an impact on her health? And what about her teeth? Thank you! ~ Concerned Mom 🙁

    1. Hi Susie. The lump on the tail will be a problem if it gets much bigger whether malignant or not as there isn’t much extra skin available in that location. Therefore, I would be tending towards removal, especially as a well planned anaesthetic should be quite safe at this stage of heart disease. That gives you the opportunity to do the teeth at the same time.

  4. My chihuahua has a black lump on his bum on the left hand side. Doesn’t seem to cause him any problems and not in pain if I wipe. It does sometimes however, bleed?

  5. Andrew i have a 5 month old pressa canario mastiff rottweilder mix he has a round pink lump on the underside of his tail about two inchs from the base ,it bothers him because he doesnt like you touching it it is about the size of a deshelled pennut ,he resently just had the first of two lime disease shots and i never noticed it before that ,any thoughts?

    1. Hi Jarrod. It’s most likely to be a histiocytoma at that age, which is rarely of concern. However, given the tricky location and therefore the consequences of being wrong, I would order a fine needle aspirate for cytology to be sure.

  6. Hello i ave a 11 year old pug I recently moved to Puerto Rico been here for 6 months now and my baby has a large pink mass on his hide leg near his butt any advise on what it can be he has an appointment next week but my baby keeps doing the hot dog dance on my floor I have pictures if someone has this same problem with the pug only asking because I have his cousin which is three months apart meaning there both 11 but months apart please help

    1. Hi Jessica. It’s not easy to say what the lump might be but as a general rule, dome-shaped lumps on the legs should be taken very seriously. See for example the sarcoma and mast cell tumour above. All the best.

  7. Hi I have a British bulldog who has a very large lump on his side where the end of the ribcage is. It’s quite large and seems to be getting a “square” top. Skin on the top is starting to get a bit “rough”
    Getting him into the vets but any ideas..It seems to have come out of nowhere

  8. Hi I have a 7 year old springer Jack Russel cross she has a lump the size of a pea on her back, slightly red in colour and seems a little soft but has defined edges any idea what this could be , it doesn’t bother or irratate her and she is in good health. I mistakenly squeezed it and a tiny bit of blood came out.

    1. Hi Jordan. If you have a look at the pictures in this article you might see one similar, but it sounds to me most like a mast cell tumour.

  9. My 13 1/2 year old pit bull lab Has SEVERAL lumps all over, new one under his eye, and this protruding growth that sticks out around his chest area He’s also beginning to wine, I’m getting concerned

  10. My puppy has a lump in the middle of his chest. He doesn’t act like it bothers him & it is getting larger as time passes. I noticed the lump at 6 weeks old. Now he is 9 weeks and it’s tripled size. I had my vet do a check up at 7 weeks. And he is due to go back tomorrow. What do you think it could be??

  11. Hi Andrew!
    Had been online for hours searching for an article with photos discussing lumps on dogs and was so very glad to have found yours! My son has a 9 yo GR assistance dog, I found a lump just above a pad on a front paw and knew it wasn’t a PV lump. Noticed it had different colored matter inside and some was actually dislodging so I got tweezers and pulled it out the rest of the way. He didn’t make a sound of discomfort, but pulled away sharply and it did bleed a tiny amount. After reading this article I’m pretty certain it’s a Follicular Cyst. You mention ‘fairly easily removed’ but no details of how or by whom…. is this something I should be able to accomplish or to be done by a vet? Thank you so much for the information you are putting out there for Dog owners! I can tell you it put my mind at ease and I was able to sleep last night once I read and saw that this thing was not critical!

  12. Hi there. I enjoyed your article. I am a vet tech, so excuse me if I go into great detail. My 9yo female Siberian Husky has slowly developed a small “skin tag” looking growth on her RF leg. The vet I work for says it is most likely a Benign Melonoma (Melanocytoma) due to its blackish color, location on her forelimb, small pink stalk and the fact that it has never ulcerated. She says we should leave it be unless anything changes. To describe it to you, I will start with saying that it is symmetrical. If you could fold it in half, I would dare to say the sides would match up perfectly. It oddly almost appears as if you could just yank it off, as the connection to the limb is that small. I’ve even made jokes about tying some suture material around it and letting it “fall off” (I know that’s a bad idea & asking for an infection, so only a joke). She is totally unbothered by it. Well, at least, until I start touching it and remind her it’s there. I would say it is around 0.3cm-0.5cm wide and about as long, in an oval like shape; not super thin, but not thick either. It does has a bit of girth though. It sort of hangs from her anterior forelimb, slightly below where one would hold off for a cephalic blood draw. It is squishy and totally moveable. While it has grown some, it’s growth has been relatively slow over the last year and a half. My research also tells me it is likely nothing to worry about & probably is a Melanocytoma, but I’d love your opinion. I am happy to send photographs if you’d like. Many thanks for you opinion.

    1. Hi Ashley. Honestly, I have never submitted one of these for analysis but I see them all the time, and agree with your vet. As a general but not infallible rule, lumps on stalks tend to be not much more than nuisance value to dogs. It’s quite reasonable to keep watching it as the risks of leaving it there are very low. However, at only 9 it could end up being quite big in her lifetime.

    2. Hi Ashley,
      I’m not sure how long ago you posted, but I’m hoping you see this!
      My dog has something that sounds EXACTLY the same, but on the front of his neck/throat, roughly a few inches down from his face on his right side, sort of below where his jowls are. He’s had it for maybe 2 years now, my vet also said it was probably a skin tag or wart, but I can’t help worrying! He had to have his left eye removed a few years ago when they found a tumour encapsulated in it. It was benign, thankfully!, but ever since I’ve been beyond paranoid about any lump or bump I feel!
      Thank you,

      Did you ever end up doing a biopsy of your dog’s skin-tag- looking bump?

  13. I have a 3 1/2 year old English Cream Miniature Long-haired Dachshund, Bella. In the spring, I took her to the vet for a lump on the top of her right ribcage a little behind the front shoulder. (There was no difference or change in the outer skin.) Our vet immediately suggested surgery. He shaved 1/2 of that side, removed the lump, left a drainage tube in for a week, put her on antibiotics and such. $$$$ He said that something (like an insect) had bitten her and it had become an abscess.
    Since then, I have become paranoid about every little lump. When I took her back to have her drainage tube removed, I showed our vet another little lump on the opposite side. He said it was nothing to worry about. But it grew to about 2 inches just like the other one. I knew he would immediately want to do surgery so I didn’t take her back. I put cold compresses on it a couple of times a day and gave her her allergy meds regularly. Soon, it decreased in size and today, you can’t even tell it was there. But now, I feel a similar lump on her back in front of her tail.
    Do you think these are allergic reactions to bites? She doesn’t have fleas but we have tried to eradicate the ant population in the yard! How should I treat these?
    And #2, wouldn’t it have been easier and cheaper to drain the first lump or to drain then do a round of antibiotics or something than than to do such a drastic and expensive surgery?
    Please advise me on how I might possibly protect her from getting more of these and how to treat the one that she now has.
    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Melana. The fact that these lumps seem to keep appearing suggests there is an (as yet) unidentified cause. I see a lot of lumps removed that might have been better treated another way, but sometimes it’s only in the analysis that this can be worked out. However, from now I would be would suggest you get a better idea of what might be happening, either by pursuing it at your own vet or getting a second opinion. An allergic reaction is possible, but unlikely unless you have something unusual in your yard.

    2. Possibly find a dog dermatologist- sounds like it could be SNP. Canine Sterile Nodular Peniculitis. They start by looking almost like doggy pimples, can spread fast and also grow quick. There are treatments is that is what it is. Good luck!

  14. Our Stafford shire terrier had a lump under his right leg.It was hard and round.We took him to the vet and he thought rite away it was a tumor.It scared us then he put a needle in the lump and red blood came out.He said that was a good sign …the red color was not dark red.The vet told us to apply ice to area and see if it goes away.This is 3 days now and I think the lump has decreased in size.,We give him ice packs for 5 min 3 times a day.If lump is till there but smaller in size in a week would you advise us to go back to vet.We are senior with low income but love this dog because he is the only family we have but for my husbands brother.

    1. Hi Linda. The problem we have is that we don’t know what this lump might be. Your vet has done the right thing in needling it, and may have more information that I am aware of, but it’s not clear to me. There’s no simple explanation for what you describe. The best thing you can do is to contact your vet again and ask them the same question.

  15. My 1.5 year old Golden Retriever has a small line up of what feels like round, hard bumps maybe 1 or 2 smaller and one longer thin one that seems to connect to a tendon or something under his skin. You can’t see them, and when you pull up the skin they seem to be attached to the tissue underneath, not the skin layer itself. They’re located where his belly button might be, but I can’t find descriptions of a dog’s belly button that go beyond it being hard to find. Should we see a vet?

    1. Hi Tamara. They sound like knots from residual suture material but that could only be true if your dog had surgery there, e.g. for an umbilical hernia or retained testicle. Otherwise I would definitely see the vet.

      1. Hi Jason. The most common reason for this in a young dog is limp tail syndrome. If this is the case, the tail will be held at a strange angle and the area will be painful to touch. Definitely one to get the vet to look at.

  16. I have a three month old Beagle Mix. I felt a lump in left arm pit. The lump is deep inside. I cannot see the lump, but I can feel it. It’s about the size of a Nickle. Keep in mind this lump cannot be seen it can only be felt. We adopted my Beagle at 5 weeks old. She came to us with tape worms she has been treated and cured of that. She also had Giardia which she has been treated and cleared of. I am very concerned about this lump. I can’t see the lump to compare it to pictures. But it’s there I can feel it

    1. Hi Amy. It’s likely to be an enlarged axillary lymph node. This suggests it has been stimulated by local inflammation or infection. Given the health issues so far, I can only guess what this might be (migrating parasite larvae? bite wound?). Get your vet to check if I’m right and assess the other lymph nodes at the same time.

      1. Thank you so much. Yes I made her a vet appointment. I do keep checking her stools to make sure she is clear of worms. I haven’t seen any. So are you saying because of her parasite infection her lump can be from infection? Or are you saying the parasites have moved to her armpit? Parasites are so gross. We got rid of them as fast as medical treatment allowed

      2. Most intestinal worms have a larval stage that migrates through the body. It’s only one idea given the history of your puppy. Your vet will probably have a better one once they have another look.

  17. Hi I have a 14 year old Spoodle, who is generally in good health and still active, but has a few bumps and warts but the one most noticeable is on her lip. Its just on the outside and now about size of my thumb nail. Probably been there and growing slowly for a year or two. It does not seem to bother her, but is now starting to bleed as she often cleans her beard etc on a course mat. It is generaly a pinkish colour. Should I be worried and get it checked out / removed. just worried at her age if surgery would be wise.

    1. Hi Steve. I would always remove masses when they arise near sensitive areas like eyes, mouth, feet, tail and anus. Even if they are benign (as this one sounds likely to be), their position ends up being a problem, as has happened here. Age alone won’t stop you having it removed, something I’ve written about before.

  18. Hi there! I have a 12 year old bichon. Who is definently getting older. He has lots of lumps but the vet has determined they are of no concern she said just old man growths. But recently his tail had been swollen and about an inch or 2 from the base. When we look we thought maybe he had broken it somehow while we were camping. Now this week I was bathing him and took a look at his tail and It actually is a big swollen lump there. Almost like it is filled with fluid. I can push it and he doesn’t cry or anything. I am just wondering what this could be? I know a vet visit is always good too. Thanks so much

    1. Hi Ashley. I see these from time to time and they are not always tumours. I can’t help much more than that I’m afraid.

    2. I have the same thing in my 14yr old terrier mut about 2 inches from the base of his tall-
      About 8mths ago I had a cancer screening done and he had no signs….
      Then this appeared…. smaller in size but now it’s at the point of a quarter and grew a lot in the last month…. was just wondering if you saw the vet yet…
      I’m thinking we will just remove the tall if we really need too…. it doesn’t seem sore or painful to him at all-
      Do they get cysts on the underside of the tall?

      1. Hi Daniele. I don’t think she will get a notification of your reply but I will answer that it’s very unlikely to be a cyst – you may be right about the tail needing to be removed but if it’s taken out quickly you can often avoid that.

  19. I have a chiweenie who just turned 1yr old. I noticed a 6mm lump on her thigh. It does not hurt her, she allows me to touch it and squeeze it a little. I held it from under and it almost feels like a little bead in there with a string attached to the bottom or to the muscle on her leg. Not sure if it is something I should get looked at?

  20. Hi Andrew, I have a 10 year old Yorkie/Maltese (her tummy skin is light coloured, but she has black hair). I noticed a growth on top of her head (about a fingers width away from her right eye) that started growing about a year ago and it has increased in size gradually (no fast growth within a month or anything like that). For your reference, it is now the size of two green peas. I recently gave her a haircut and started worrying more… At first I thought it was a skin tag, but the growth is black in colour. After reading your post, it looks very similar like the sebaceous adenoma (same size and bumpy look, except it is black in colour). It also seems to be attached to the head on one side only (you can move and lift the other side up). Recently, I started putting vitamin E oil on it (for 3 days only) because initially I thought it was a wart (I know it isn’t a wart now), but the vitamin e oil seems to have irritated it because when she rubs her head on the floor or when I wipe it with tissue, there are small traces of blood. I am not sure if it got itchy and she scratched it, or it is infected? I’m really worried it could be a carcinoma (in the notes you mentioned there isn’t much that is black in colour except carcinomas?) Other than that, she seems to be healthy. The growth usually doesn’t seem to bother her (until I started putting the vitamin e oil on it, and now it bleeds slightly). I just gave her a bath today and washed off any traces of the vitamin e left. I am going through some difficult times right now and it really breaks my heart that I can’t afford to take her to the vet right now. Any insight or thoughts on this would be really helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you so much Andrew.

    1. Hi Tina. I’m sorry I can’t give you much more information. I have seen the occasional sebaceous adenoma that is pigmented but normally a black mess would be a melanoma. It’s also growing reasonably quickly given the size it has reached in one year so I only hope there’s a way you can get a professional to have a look. Good luck.

    2. Hi my dog Alfie has a burst skin tumor on tail took him to vet costing me 80 pounds he has a plastic like lamp shade as u call it he’s in medicine and as we’re on every low income I don’t know what to do I tryed taken it off the shade and he won’t leave it alone he can still get to his tail with shade lamp on the tumor is red raw I can’t afford a 600 pound vet bill where can I get help from

      1. Hi Lynda. The first thing I would do is drop in to your vet and pick up a larger Elizabethan collar. Your dog should have worked out by now how to eat and drink with one on and so you can increase the size until the tail can’t be reached. It may require some special management of food and water so you need to be careful but it’s always possible. After that, I would get advice if things aren’t getting better from your local vets again.

  21. I have a 15 year old Shih tzu, I noticed he had a strange lump on his left side near his hind leg it feels like fat but it’s underneath his skin and is roundish it’s not very visible but it’s definitely something under his skin. It’s worrying me

  22. What would a rice grain sized and textured thing under the skin of the base of my 9 month old dachshund’s penis be? It’s the hardness of a rice grain and is fixed – not moving with the skin.

    1. Hi Joanna. If he was desexed this could be remnant suture material (usually a knot) and therefore no concern. Otherwise, it’s hard to say, and always worth getting checked.

  23. Hi there,

    I have a 18 week tuxedo goldendoodle. He has a small red lump at the very end of his tail. At first we thought it was a bug bite that appeared 3-4 days after we got him. Then it was barely noticeable for a week or 2. The week it’s reappeared even bigger because he licks at it. He doesn’t yelp when we touch it but you can tell it irritates him. Our vet said they have no idea what it is and suggested to amputate 2-3 in of his tail. He’s only 18 weeks from a creditable breeder, we don’t want to amputate part of his tail unless it’s a last result. Any suggestions? I have a picture of it after bathing him which shows it much clearer.

    1. Hi Jen. First, keep in mind that no one can be sure so be careful with my advice. But I would do this:
      1. Apply an elizabethan collar (your vet will fit one) large enough that he can’t lick the tail tip AT ALL FOR 100% OF THE TIME. This is much bigger than for, let’s say, a neutering wound, and therefore you need to make special care that he can access food and water with it on.
      2. Use antibiotics (I would use cephalexin) for as long as necessary, even 6 weeks if you can see improvement
      3. Fold a fresh band-aid type adhesive bandage over it twice a day to protect the tip from trauma caused by wagging into furniture etc (I use these to keep the weight down)
      4. Get a punch biopsy done under sedation and local anaesthetic (this is optional if it appears to be improving- literally two days of the above should show something if we’re on the right track).
      All this is on the principle that it’s caused by tail tip injury and subsequent self trauma. I could be wrong but the reason for trying this first is that even if it’s a nasty fungal infection or tumour, the tail is usually easy to amputate and isolate nasty spreading lesions. Please come back and post the outcome.

  24. Hi. I have 2 Siberian Huskies. The one I am worried about is 7 years old(roughly, he is a rescue)… i’ve noticed 2 small bumps on his neck. the front of his neck –
    not the back. They are small, flimsy to touch almost like a skin tag as in they hang extended from his skin somewhat… they look like some of the photos with the cauliflower like bumps on them(sorry for the tough description)… it is skin colored & hair grows out of them. I have never run into this & I am petrified. please help 🙁 thank you

    1. Hi Alexa. As a general rule, lumps with a narrow stalk that hang are rarely cancer. Of course, you need a vet to look but in the meantime I would not be especially worried.

  25. I have a 12 year old border collie cross who has developed a small lump above his anus. He was deserted as a pup. Yesterday we had a sample sent (fine needle aspiration)for cytology which has come back as inconclusive. Also why is this test done if it tends to give an inconclusive result. We have been told it is most likely a Perianal Adenoma. This lump is very small, and has not got bigger in the past month. I just wanted to get a second opinion and ask if it’s really necessary to operate due to size and that it is causing no discomfort.

    1. Hi Fiona. It’s best to remove perianal adenomas while they are small as they can grow to interfere with anal function. Desexing (neutering/castration) is helpful if not already done as it can help to prevent recurrence. As for the FNA, it is a test that gives us useful results every time for lipomas (see above) and about 50% of the time otherwise so it’s not a bad idea. Sorry it didn’t work for you this time.

  26. my 11 year old golden has a small bump on the top of her head between her ears. It’s either a wart or a cyst. She’s had it all her life. On occasion rarely oh, I have seen it bleeds. Can I freeze it off with a common wart freezing spray.? The size is smaller than a dime. But it sticks up and parts her hair.

    1. Hi MaryLu. It won’t be a wart (see above) and other lumps are not removable with freezing sprays. If she’s had it all her life it’s unlikely to be a problem just as it is.

  27. Hi! I am on vacation right now and not near my vet. I’m very familiar with all of the lumps on my dog. This morning I noticed what looked like either a skin tag or a tick on my dogs leg. I don’t see any legs on it like if it were a tick but she did go walking in a little woods between camp sites. I played with it enough trying to check for legs and a little oil came out of it. After the oil came out, it seems the skin slid back and now it looks like a pink skin tag. I have pictures but cannot seem to add them here. Please help!

    1. Hi Erika. Sorry you can’t send pictures but they are very hard to get a definitive answer from. It’s very unlikely to be a tick because (with good eyesight) you can see the tiny little legs at the end where it attaches to the skin. Most of the time in this situation it is a skin tag or another sort of lump instead. If you don’t live in a paralysis tick area (east coast of Australia) then it’s not an emergency but of course a visit to the vet is recommended.

  28. i cannot find info online about this–I am saving up for a vet visit in 2 weeks. I have an 11 year old white chi/pug. I noticed one small white bump in the middle of his tail with hair loss a few months ago, but didn’t worry too much about it. It didnt seem to bother him. Now there are 10 of them in a cluster, and more hair loss in the area the bumps are. I am worried that there is no easily found information about this spot or pictures similar to how this looks. Any ideas? Thank you.

  29. My 10 year old boston terrier has a very hard non movable lump on his back below his shoulder blades. He has two lipomas but this is much firmer. I’m going to get it checked out but it has me worried. Is it possible that this could be a lipoma too? It’s round.

    1. Hi Andrea. Lipomas can fool us sometimes, but this doesn’t sound like one, especially because it’s firm and non-mobile. Getting it checked out is definitely the best thing to do.

  30. my dog has a small oval grey mixed with black thing under her armpit it looks like a bean sprouting under arm and i don’t knwo what it is and i’m scared

  31. Hi my 6 year old Doberman develop a wart-like lump on her right side chest area, where her right front leg can rub on when she runs. First noticed it about 8-9 months ago, it was very small back then. But now 8 months later it has doubled in size, I measured today at 0.8cm. It light pink in color with some black pigmentation, soft like a nipple (in fact at first I thought it was another nipple!). She doesn’t seem to be bothered by it and it do not bleed or oozes. Her vet doesn’t seem to be too concern about it because she say she can basically pick it up together with the skin and couldn’t feel it attach to anything underneath her skin. So it’s basically just an above the skin lump.

    Do you think it looks worrying? Does double in size in 8 months time consider fast growing? It grows about 0.05cm-0.1cm every 1-2 months, not really noticeable with the growth by eye but I keep a measurement almost monthly.

    1. Hi Kerry. Your vet is right in saying there is probably no urgency in dealing with the lump. That’s because very few skin lumps in dogs will metastasise to elsewhere in the body and this one has a wide margin of skin that can be removed with it. If the local growth is acceptably slow (as it is) then it’s fine to watch them.
      However, in your case I would have this lump removed. The lump does not sound like anything simple, and given that your Doberman is only six years old, you can extrapolate that it will become a problem in time. Although it’s just my opinion, I would rather take this one out while it’s small and possibly also get it analysed just in case another one appears.

  32. Hi, my 8 year old poodle mix has had a lump on his hind leg for about a year & a half. When it first appeared, it was a little smaller than a pencil eraser. We had it checked out, and vet simply told us it did not look serious and to keep an eye on it. Now, it has grown slightly bigger than pea size. It is round, a little squishy, and can be moved around. Slightly pink. My dog never seems to notice it. Now, the vet still doesn’t believe it’s serious but wants to remove it while he cleans my dog’s teeth “just in case.” I am going to another vet to request a fine needle aspiration because I’m worried about MCT. Does this sound anything like a MCT?

    1. Hi Amee. It’s hard to be sure, but it sounds a lot like the mystery lump I’ve described above. The path your vet is suggesting is a common and very sensible one, in removing a lump under another simple procedure just in case it’s a problem. I also like your thinking and getting an FNA first because it’s very hard to ever be certain about a lump without one. However, in your case I think it’s safe enough to trust your vet’s judgement that it’s not an MCT.

      1. Thank you for the response. I did have the FNA done & vet was unable to give me a diagnosis because she got mostly skin cells in the needle. I am having to the bump removed while my dog is having his teeth cleaned in a few weeks. The vet has given me the option to send the bump off for biopsy after getting it removed. Is it worth it? If not cancerous, what else could the bump be? The vet who did the FNA was pretty certain it wasn’t a lipoma or MCT, as she says those probably would’ve shown up with the FNA test. This whole bump situation is driving me nuts.

      2. Hi Amee- good to hear, and yes, FNAs can be unreliable. You can trust your vet’s opinion on whether the lump needs analysis. I would approach the issue by cutting it open after removal and unless it’s an obvious cyst, I would always advise sending it. The only drawback is the $200. Many owners decline this, and that’s perfectly OK too, especially if the vet says they got a good margin around it.

  33. I’m not sure if this is something to worry about. It feels like a boil on the inside of my boxer/pit hind right leg.

    1. Whether it’s important will depend a lot on the age of your dog, the lump’s size and how quickly it has grown. However, it’s probably worth getting checked all the same.

  34. Hi,
    My 7 year old golden retriever has a good size mass/lump near the top of her tail (about 2 inches down from her anus on the right side). It is hard, doesn’t feel squishy at all. The area around it is red & the lump itself has shades of pink/red/black/blue and its very slightly crusty at the top. I can tell it goes way beneath the surface of the skin. She doesn’t seem to mind when I touch it. Thoughts?

      1. My 1 and a half year old mastiff lab mix has had a round bump on the top of her snout since about 6 months old, it happened around the time she received her rabies vaccination, in the same placement as the picture of the mast cell, although it is fur/ regular skin colour, it does not seem to bother her much, no breathing issues, or any mucus. I have brought it up the the vet twice now, and they are not seeming to be concerned. I am however a little concerned as it has seemed to be very slowly getting bigger, however slow growing this thing is, it is about the size of a golf ball or a little smaller. What would be your recommendation? It looks like the picture of the lumps on the leg of the dog with the soft tissue sarcoma. It was almost like all of a sudden it happened, we originally thought it to be a bug bite of some sort but it never seemed to die down or go away! It is firm to the touch, but not hard per say, it is not malleable under the skin, no pain upon putting pressure on the bump Thankyou in advance ! I wish I could post a picture of this thing haha

      2. Hi Emma – anything the size of a golf ball sounds like something worth taking seriously. I would do like I said in the article and get a fine needle aspiration of the mass. It’s very easy, and will tell if more should be done. It’s very hard to say what it could be in such a young dog, but a tumour would seem unlikely.

      3. My 5.5 mo lab puppy (is spayed) has a round lump on her side near the upper ribs. It is slightly visibility and I can feel it when petting her. she weighs 33 ish pounds, the lump is moveable (doesn’t feel stiff) I just noticed it today so I am unsure of the duration. She doesn’t seem in pain when I touch it. I know dogs can get fatty bumps but I thought that was only when they were old? Should I get this checked?

      4. Hi Maria. A lump at this age is strange. If she was recently spayed via the flank approach (unusual, it must be said) this could be a seroma, infection or suture reaction. Otherwise, I have no idea and it’s certainly worth getting checked out. By the way, although older dogs often do get fatty lumps, you’ll see in the text above that I strongly advise owners to get these checked via FNA periodically.

  35. We have a nine year old Golden Doodle. Riley has always had from a very young age, lipomas over his chest and sides. They grow slowly and we have had them checked (FNA) by our vet. Recently we got back from a trip and noticed a large lump that popped out on Riley’s left hip, very large and felt like it had sections. It was soft but firm. A needle inserted brought up blood so my vet assumed it was an abcess. After the first needle drainage, it required additional work which had to be done under anesthesia. He had multiple drains, antibiotics and finally another surgery to open the small incisions. A biopsy was sent twice and the verdict seems to be soft tissue sarcoma. Once the drains and the stitches were out, the skin healed very quickly but the lump/bumps are now three times larger, very firm and although no x rays or MRIs have been done, we are being told it is invasive soft tissue sarcomas and is probably in his bones. Riley is walking easily and asks for his daily walks every day, but he is breathing heavily after a gentle mile and a half. Should we have him put down before he exhibits pain, should we put him through more tests? Right now he sleeps most of the day, occasionally plays, runs, jumps, barks, rolls, and generally appears well. The lumps do not seem to hurt him although they look very bad. He eats very well, begs for treats, has no trouble with eliminations.
    Occasionally he drags his left hind leg or appears to stumble but exhibits no other discomfort. I am unsure if we can or should do more to find out how extensive the cancer is and if he is just not letting us know how much it affects him. Any advice would be welcome. Kim and Vic

    1. Hi to you both. Your story demonstrates the ease with which sarcomas are missed, especially in dogs that have a history of lipomas, which look very similar. Although I have seen it happen a few times, sarcomas actually rarely spread to the bones, and cause most of their harm by local invasion. One of my patients with a similar tumour recently lived for 12 good months after diagnosis. I believe it’s always important to judge the time for euthanasia by their happiness and quality of life, not the appearance of the mass. A good idea in the meantime is to trial some pain medication to see if it helps him.

  36. Hi I have a 2 year old Jack Rusell called Foxy and have noticed today she has a small hard lump on the lower underside of her tail. I have put pressure on it to see if she has any pain as it is very hard but she doesn’t seem to feel anything…. Should I get it checked by a vet as I am a bit worried.?

    1. Hi Dougie. If the lump is < 2mm in size and not growing it's almost certain that your vet will tell you to keep an eye on it. Any bigger and I'd get it checked as lumps get hard to remove on tails very quickly.

  37. Hi,

    I have a 9 year old pit mix terrier mix that recently had surgery to remove benign mammary masses. Her surgery was successful. She had a lump on her tail for quite some time and now since surgery its been growing very large and quickly. What could that be?

    1. Hi Sam. All I can say is that it should not be related to the previous surgery. The most common lump on the tail is the Perianal adenoma which usually (as the name suggests) is found around the anus, but can also be found on the base of the tail. These are benign but still need removal before they get too big. Of course, any of the lumps mentioned above can also be found on the tail too.

  38. I have a 8 yr old female Yorkie. She has a small raised lump (smaller than a pencil eraser) right in front of her ear close to the top of her head. It is pink with brown areas. It almost looks like the brown areas are growing on the pink lump. I am concerned about the discoloration. She gets regular massages, so I know the lump is new. Please advise.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Jamie. It sounds like a sebaceous adenoma (see above). One clue is that you should be able to easily scrape off the brown areas with your fingernail.

      1. Thank you Andrew. The brown area will not scrape off. It does have some characteristics of the sebaceous adenoma, but the pink area looks waxy. It also looks like tiny red blood vessels in the pink bumpy part.

      2. Thanks. It’s not easy to give another suggestion so it’s best to get a vet to take a look. Once you do, please let me know the outcome.

  39. I have a 3 yr old Min Pin who just went through her second heat cycle a few weeks ago and I just noticed on her very lower belly on one side, she has a lump. It’s not hard and it kind of feels like liquid. What could this be And is it serious?

    1. Hi Kerrie- it’s probably a cyst in the mammary glands based on her recent season (she could even have a pseudopregnancy- squeeze a nipple and see if there’s milk). If so, nothing to worry about but of course, standard disclaimer… only a checkup will confirm this!

      1. Thank you so much. This is my baby and I was really starting to worry. This eases me a little. I’ll definitely get her checked out.

  40. Hi! We have a 1.5 year old plott hound and first noticed a small red lump on his head in early February. It grew larger and crusted over. Our vet said it is a Histiocytoma, which is benign and usually goes away on its own. However, the growth has opened and it is a bit raw and red now with some crust around the edges still. Our vet recommended putting him out to remove it, but we’re unsure if we should if it is just going to go away on its own? Any help you can give is appreciated! I have a photo but am unsure how to attach it here

    1. Hi Brianna. It doesn’t sound like a histiocytoma now that it has broken open so the advice you received is probably correct. The only other thing I would wonder is whether it might be a granuloma (there’s a picture of one on a nose at the start of this page) I don’t think a photo would help all that much as we are often in the dark over exactly what these things are. Certainly, not all of them need removal but after a period of time (especially on the head without much skin) it’s a good idea to have it removed.

  41. Hello, I have read all of your content (as far as I can tell) regarding various lumps our furry children are subject to and I am fairly certain the Iumps my german shepard (Archer) has, look just like Sebaceous Adenoma but have a flakey surface layer like a Granuloma or a Planters Wart. So I am still unsure of a course of action.
    I know the info you provide isn’t intended to replace a visit to the vet. It’s just that Archer and I are not at all financially stable, another way of saying it is that we are broke as hell and can’t afford any sort of medical bills at the moment. I would be eternally grateful for any help what so ever. Like if I were able to send you a few hd pics of Archer’s lumps. There are two spots which are located just above his hips ( hopefully that is relevant info) thank you in advance for for your time and dedication to this field of work.

    1. Hi Drake- you are welcome to send the photos via our website email. Just send an enquiry and we will respond to you with the address. If the images have adequate detail and lighting I will add them with a comment on this page. (worth a look as sebaceous adenomas aren’t common in big dogs)

  42. Hi Andrew!
    I have a husky-mixed mongrel and he is around 10 months old. I’ve just found a 5cmx 5cm mobile lump under his fur around his belly area. It is completely covered by his fur, the lump is soft , mobile and not painful. He is otherwise eating well.
    I’ve booked a vet appointment already but just wondering what could it be.

    1. Hi Winnie. It sounds like an umbilical hernia, but if so it would have always been there (possible in a hairy puppy). These are right over the ‘belly button’ area. Definitely worth a check though- let me know the result.

  43. I have a 12 yo mix (I think he has some Pit and maybe some Dane in him). He is about 80lbs. For about a year he has had a soft round lump under this skin on his chest that is not tender and is completely covered with his fur ( so no hair loss). You can kind of move the lump around and it does not seem to bother him. I can’t afford a Vet due to just losing my last one to Mast Cell Cancer and being in debt from that. She was 13 so I am scared. He also has a dark brown bulbous type growth that almost looks like an extra paw pad but it looks like it is very slowly getting bigger. It is outside l, clearly defined and smooth. Doesn’t seem to bother him and is about an inch round (if that makes sense – so like an inch across and an inch length) no pink or anything. Just looks like a large extra paw pad that has very slowly gotten bigger. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Rikki. The first lump you describe sounds like a lipoma, which is a typically benign fatty tumour under the skin of dogs. It should be mobile, rubbery, and very slow-growing. These are usually okay to watch unless they occupy a position that interferes with mobility.
      The second lump I’m sorry I could not identify from the description.
      Can I stress for both lumps the low cost and importance of getting a vet to check them while they still can be taken out. For example, a mast cell tumour identified via a fine needle aspiration when less than a centimetre in size is almost always removable. In our clinic the cost for such a check is only a consultation fee at around $60.

  44. Hi there I’m worried about a pea size lump my chihuahua has on her back it is under the skin and doesn’t appear to have any color she seems fine in herself do you think that it is anything to worry about.

    1. Hi Lauraine. It depends how fast it is growing, and what it is. I would get a vet to do a fine needle aspiration to check if it’s a cyst (not much to worry about) or a tumour. However, even if it’s a tumour, if it has been there for a year or more without change it’s probably OK.

  45. We have a boxer about 7 years old and has a black bubble that looks like melanoma on the side of his eye. What would you suggest to do?

    1. Hi Louisa – Boxers are very prone to tumours and black pigmentation is suspicious for melanoma. It’s certainly worth getting your vet to have a look.

  46. Hi my Nancy is Chris. My 3 yr old English Staffy has a smooth round lump on the under side of her tail that trails off. I have seen a vet who was supposed to do a biopsy but didn’t get time. However after reading your article I am thinking maybe be best to take the whole tail as it is cartilage and ankored to the bone ? What do you think? It’s close to the base of her tail.

    1. Hi Chris – you are right in saying that it is often necessary to remove part of the tail with nasty lumps in that region. However, there are certainly benign growths that don’t require this so a surgical biopsy is wise first.

  47. I’m in need of help with my hairless pit bull!! He got this thick round growth around his penis and I took him to the vet payed $350 and they didn’t do anything but prescribe steroids and it didn’t help. I think it made it worse. Now it spread to his penis head and it looks horrible and I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford taking to the vet anymore and it’s just not getting any better. Can someone please help me !!

    1. Hi Silvia. I’m sorry that there is no easy alternative to getting lumps like that biopsied if they don’t respond to treatment.

  48. We have a 5 month old weimariner. We just noticed a large lump on the top of her head. It is soft ro the touch and doesnt seem to be slowinh her down any. She still eats and plays, but this has developed in the last day or two. Any thoughts? I plan to take her to the vet tomorrow, if at all possible.

    1. Hi Alice. It’s hard to say without seeing it but if the lump is soft and centred exactly over the bony prominence on the top of the skull it may be a seroma caused by impact. I’m only guessing this because you have a five month Weimaraner, just the sort of breed to go knocking their head on the underside of tables! Definitely get it checked though.

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