I have found a lump on my dog

It can be a real worry to find a lump on your dog, but try not to jump to any conclusions. There are many reasons why there may be a swelling or a lump on your dog, and most commonly, it will be benign rather than malignant.

Some of the most common causes of lumps and swellings that may appear on your dog are as follows:

  • Cysts – these will often be found under sweat glands on the skin, or between the toes
  • Insect bites or stings – as with humans, these can cause a swelling
  • Ticks – can sometimes look like a mole or a skin tag
  • Lipomas – these can appear anywhere on a dog’s body and are a harmless fatty lump
  • Warts – sometimes a wart will disappear by itself, however, if it doesn’t, it may need to be treated by the vet
  • Mast cell tumours commonly found on Boxers will appear as a lump and may be malignant, so need removing immediately.
  • Testicular tumours – found on uncastrated males, these need swift investigation as they may or may not be malignant
  • Mammary tumours – these will be seen as lumps in the nipple area

It’s wise to check your dog for lumps regularly, and if your dog has a thick coat, you may find it easier to check by feeling rather than by sight. Just stroking or brushing your dog is enough to get to know what is normal, and what is new. If you do find any lump or swelling, it can be a good idea to take a photo so you can easily track any growth or changes.

Any lump that is causing your dog a problem, such as pain, reduced mobility, or discomfort in any way, should be promptly examined by your vet. As it can be difficult to tell exactly what kind of lump it is just by sight, your vet may want to carry out a fine needle aspirate (FNA). This enables them to take a look at the cells under a microscope. Your vet may also suggest taking a biopsy under general anaesthetic.

Once the cause of lump has been diagnosed, your vet will be able to advise you on any necessary treatment or care for your dog. 

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.