Causes, Age Warts & Treatment ()

If you feel small lumps on the skin when petting your dog, these are usually papillomas. This is the technical term for warts in dogs that are caused by the papilloma virus.

In this article you will find out how warts develop in dogs and what you should do now.

In a nutshell: what are warts in dogs and how do they develop?

Warts in dogs are caused by an infection with papilloma viruses. They are not dangerous for the dog and will go away on their own, but they can be uncomfortable for him.

They appear as small bumps on the skin or mucous membrane, which usually appear as black warts and appear smooth, fringed, or cauliflower-like.

It is important that you let your veterinarian clarify that it is actually warts and not a tumor.

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What do warts look like on dogs?

Warts appear in dogs as small bumps that can look very different. They affect the skin and mucous membranes and can grow almost anywhere on the body.

Some consist of smooth skin, but there are also ragged warts or even cauliflower warts. They are usually dark gray to black and, in rare cases, white or brown.

The size varies from barely noticeable millimeters to several centimetres, where the wart usually protrudes from the skin in a cone-shaped manner like a pine cone. This is called a skin wart.

A typical case are the so-called age warts. They appear on the face, paws or genital area in older dogs.

Are Warts Dangerous to Dogs?

Warts are not usually dangerous. They are contagious to other dogs, but do not spread to other animals, including humans.

Warts in dogs are caused by papilloma viruses. They penetrate the skin through minimal injuries and form the wart within 4 to 8 weeks after infection.

Young dogs develop papillomas more often because their immune systems are not yet mature. They usually form on the mucous membranes of the face, i.e. on the mouth, eyelid or ear.

However, the location of the respective wart can be problematic. It can hurt the mouth or make it difficult to eat, and the paw can interfere with walking.


Dogs usually do not feel the warts themselves. However, if the wart is in an unfavorable position on the dog so that it feels pressure or itching, the wart can be injured and bleed when it is scratched. This encourages further infections.

Wart is getting bigger – what does that mean?

A wart may still be growing when you discover it. However, if it does not disappear even after weeks and continues to grow, a second check-up appointment with the vet should be arranged.

In any case, every wart should always be examined by a veterinarian to ensure that it is a wart and not a tumor.

A strong or never-ending growth indicates a different diagnosis than a papilloma and then also needs to be treated.

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Treatment of Warts in Dogs

The vet will first take a tissue sample to determine without a doubt that it is a wart in the dog. If this is the case, the usual recommendation is: wait and see.

Warts go away on their own in dogs. Subjecting him to treatment or even surgical removal only makes sense if the situation disturbs or limits him.

Then a surgical procedure follows, which, depending on the dog and the wart, may even have to take place under anesthesia.

Drug treatment is rarely used. Because most drugs are hardly effective and at the same time require a lot of effort. In addition, it must be impossible for the dog to ingest the medication by licking the wart.

How do I distinguish between a wart and a tumor?

For the layperson, the difference between a wart and a tumor can rarely be seen with the naked eye. Trained veterinarians can see differences, but they will always order a biopsy to clarify.

Signs that a skin change is a tumor and not a wart can be:

  • Shape of the wart changes steadily or suddenly
  • your dog scratches or nibbles at the growth more often
  • your dog is apathetic and lethargic
  • your dog has a fever
  • your dog is losing weight for no apparent reason

However, these symptoms can also be triggered by other factors, which is why an examination of the tissue is always the only reliable diagnosis.


If you find a skin lesion on your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. Usually these are warts in dogs, which are harmless to your dog and not contagious to you.

However, warts in dogs are also similar to skin cancer tumors, which is why clarification is very important.

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