Common lumps and bumps that can appear on your dog

by Emma Sinden
Common lumps and bumps that can appear on your dog.

Read this blog to Check Common lumps and bumps that can appear on your dog.

Have you just found a lump on your dog? I would tell you not to panic, but if you’re a devoted pet parent I know that’s easier said than done. I’ve been there a few times and it’s inevitable that the worst-case scenarios (including the big ‘C’) start playing through our minds.


Good News

But here’s the good news – there are many causes for lumps on dogs and the majority of them are not serious (phew!) Take a minute to breathe and think about the larger picture. The fact that you’ve found the lump is a good thing. Anything nasty is only going to become more of a problem the longer it is left.

You are a good pet parent because you have been carefully checking your dog for any problems. If the lump is still small, you are in a great position to get your pet rapid treatment and give them the best chance at a full recovery. 

Don’t delay – get to the vet

A vet visit is always recommended to check out any new lumps on your dog. Unless you are 100% sure what caused the lump to form (for instance you saw a bug bite your dog’s belly) then it’s going to mean a trip to the V.E.T.  Although rare, some types of dangerous tumors are hard to identify and can appear in a variety of forms. If your dog’s vet is unsure about the exact nature of a lump, they will recommend a fine needle aspirate.

What’s a fine needle aspirate?

This is a very simple procedure that involves using a tiny needle to extract a sample of cells from the center of the lump. Those cells can then be studied under a microscope in the vet surgery. If the results are unclear, the sample can be sent away to a lab for analysis. A fine needle aspirate (FNA) is often used to help decide what treatment is necessary (if any). The lump may be nothing to worry about but if it is something nasty, your dog will need surgery to remove it.

Common types of lumps  &  bumps on dogs

Fatty lipomas -lumps and bumps

Lipomas are benign (meaning not harmful) and very common. Older and overweight dogs are prone to developing these soft, round tumors that often appear on a dog’s trunk or belly.  Generally, they cause no harm and only need to be removed if they grow very large and start to hinder movement. If you suspect a lump on your dog is a Lipoma, it’s still a good idea to ask your vet to perform a fine needle aspirate, just to be safe and rule out other possibilities.

Abscesses – lumps and bumps

These lumps are actually pockets of pus that form under the skin. They often develop in reaction to insect or animal bites or when something like a grass seed has penetrated the skin. Your vet will need to drain the pus and thoroughly clean the area. Antibiotics may also be necessary to prevent infection.


Interdigital cyst- lumps and bumps

These little lumps are abscesses that form between your dog’s toes.   They are common and often occur in the summer if you walk your dog through fields of long grass.  Grass seeds can get stuck in the skin between the toes and cause a pus-filled lump to form. Bathing your dog’s infected paw in salt-water a few times a day can often help clear the problem but if that does not help, your vet will need to drain the abscess and clean the wound.

Sebaceous cysts – lumps and bumps

The sebaceous oil glands in your dog’s skin can occasionally become blocked and form small hard lumps filled with creamy fluid, similar to a human spot. These lumps are unlikely to cause problems but may need attention if they become red and sore.

Mast cell tumours – lumps and bumps

Mast Cell tumors (MCTs) are malignant and unpredictable. They can appear in a variety of ways. Sometimes the lumps will look identical to a harmless Fatty Lipoma. Certain breeds are prone to MCTs, including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Beagles, and Dachshunds. Mast Cell cancer is known as the ‘big pretender’ and is one of the reasons that Fine Needle Aspirates are so important to identify the exact nature of any new lump.


Mast Cell Tumors

Sometimes mast cell tumors will react to physical touch and swell in size after being handled. If your dog’s lump behaves in this way, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Small mast cell tumors in the skin are often successfully removed and cured if margins around the surgical site are large enough.  Mast cells are actually part of your dog’s natural immune system. Touching or removing a mast cell tumor can sometimes cause a rapid release of histamines. Your vet will probably recommend giving your dog antihistamines before surgery on a mast cell tumor.



Canine warts look a bit like small cauliflowers and can appear out of nowhere. Though not dangerous, they are very infectious.  Usually, they will disappear over time.

My dog’s lump has been removed! What next?

Here are a couple of tips for helping your pup recover quickly after surgery to remove a lump.

  1. Keep them on the lead in the garden for potty time. It’s easy to go into autopilot once your dog is back home after surgery but letting them bomb about in the back yard will risk them reopening the surgical wound.
  2. Use a medical shirt or cone collar. You can’t watch them every single second so make sure your pup can’t interfere with the surgical wound.  If your pup is not a fan of the stiff ‘cones of shame’ you could try an inflatable collar instead.
  3. Add some probiotics to your dog’s food. This will help counteract the effects of the antibiotics on your dog’s digestive system. If he’s feeling poorly the last thing you want is for him to get diarrhea as well.
  4. Think about adding more protein to your dog’s recovery diet. He’s sure to enjoy some plain chicken with rice once he’s home from the vet. Wet dog foods with 60% or more chicken or turkey meat are a good choice too, but make sure you introduce any new diet gradually to avoid tummy upsets.

What happens now?

The lump has been removed and hopefully, your vet has told you good margins were achieved in the surgery. Your pup should make a full recovery!

Continue to keep a close eye on your dog once the surgical wound has healed up.  Set a reminder on your phone to give your dog a full check-over once or twice a week.

Run your hands over every part of their body and, if they let you, try to have a peek inside their mouth as well.

If any new lumps form on your dog, you’ll catch them nice and early, and giving them a full body massage can be a great way to pamper your dog and increase your bond.


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