What should we do if our dog suddenly has lumps and bumps on his skin?

You’re nuzzling your dog and notice a lump on its leg. You try to remember when you last touched it in that very spot because you are convinced that it wasn’t there before. What could it be? It might be cancerous, not cancerous - what will come of this? Will your beloved pet get better? Get worse? What if the vet finds out the news isn't good either way?

Your dog might have a lump or bump that looks harmless, but it could end up being cancerous. Skin cancer in dogs is rare, but it does happen. A majority of lumps are benign - meaning they are not harmful. Still, these lumps can look the same on the outside so it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s malignant or harmless without an expert looking at them for you.

If you notice a lump or bump on your dog, make an appointment with the vet right away. If it's growing too fast or is red or inflamed, takes on a new color, feels warm to the touch, has puss coming from it, or causes your dog pain of any kind, get it checked out this week rather than putting it off.

Your vet will ask you questions about your dog's health to figure out if they have a fatty tumor. 

  • If the lump appeared quickly
  • If its shape, color, or size has changed
  • If your dog’s habits such as their taste or energy level is different

The vet will usually first try and remove a sample of the lump's cells through a small surgical needle. The vet then often puts those extracted cells under a microscope to see what exactly they are.

If you notice any physical signs of lumps or bumps on your pet, make sure to have your vet examine it for you. If your veterinarian can't tell what the lump is through examination alone, he or she will likely take a small tissue sample from the lump and send it out for a biopsy. A few days later, you'll find out if it's cancerous. If so, surgery can usually remove the growth in question - sometimes without localized anesthesia depending on the size of the mass is removed!

The larger question is whether or not cancer has already spread to other parts of your pet's body. If so, your pet might benefit from radiation or chemotherapy.

Hope this is useful for you!