My dog, Brutus, had a very large skin tag develop over the course of a few years before we finally got it removed.
Skin Tags on Dogs—Our Story
When our dog Brutus was 11 years old, we noticed a skin tag growing between his front legs. We visited the vets and were told that it wasn't harmful, but to keep an eye on it. Two years later, the skin tag had grown into a 4 inch (10cm) dangling droplet of floppy skin that was truly unsightly.
I started to notice whilst out walking with him that perfect strangers would stop and stare at him, and children would laugh. Brutus didn't much care either way—if it got him an extra scratch behind the ear, he was a happy boy. I, on the other hand started to find it embarrassing, I felt like these people were judging me wondering why on Earth had I not gotten that thing removed?
I checked the tag every day for bleeding. However, it always felt cold to the touch, leading me to believe that there couldn't be much blood flowing into it. You can see in the picture below how large the skin tag was prior to taking him to the vet (you can see it just behind his left armpit laying on the carpet.)
Tying Off a Skin Tag From a Dog
I was worried that he might catch it whilst snuffling around in the garden, thus creating a bigger problem than we already had so I took him to the vet, who exclaimed: "oh yes, it is a large skin tag isn't it?" Er. Duh.
He explained to me that it could be removed through surgery, but as Brutus was older in his years, he thought that it would be best to try to tie it off! Tying off is a process that entailed the vet first tying some sort of thin line (like a fishing line) around the top of the tag close to his chest. He'd tie it as tightly as he could to stop the blood flow. It would smart a bit, so I had to hold Brutus head, so he didn't take a chunk out of the vet.
So, I held onto Brutus, gently talking to him whilst he tried to take sidelong glances at the vet trying to see what he was up to. The vet (let's call him Bruce) told me to brace Brutus' head as he pulled the line tight. Brutus let out a whimper and thrashed around a little, but within about 30 seconds he seemed to have forgotten it had happened.
What Happens After Your Dog's Skin Tag Has Been Tied Off:
Bruce explained to me the following things:
- Within a few days, the blood within the tag would start to dry up. This is because the flow had been cut off and over the course of about a week it would then would shrivel up, turn black, and fall off.
- Initially, the tag could swell up so it would be a good idea to put Brutus in a t-shirt to keep the tag close to his chest so that he didn't try to catch or scratch it with his back paws.
So as you can see from the next two photos, I willingly gave up my superman t-shirt for him to wear. Personally, I think it looks better on Brutus than it ever did on me!
After Skin Tag Removal, Putting Your Dog in a T-Shirt is Recommended
After a Dog's Skin Tag Has Been Tied Off
What happened, then? Well, we then waited with anticipation for it to start swelling up.
Holy goodness, did it swell up. It was massive! Within a couple of days, it was about the size of a tennis ball and the skin was very stretched around it. It was starting to emit wetness quite badly, leading us to change the t-shirt twice a day. My husband would hold the ginormous tag so it didn't pull and I would switch the t-shirts over.
Brutus seemed completely unaware of what was happening to him—it did not affect his eating, drinking, or going for daily walks (yes, while wearing the t-shirt. He became part of the elite group, that is, wearer of doggy fashion. And yes it was commented on more than once!)
If the Tie Around Your Dog's Skin Tag Wasn't Tied Off Tightly Enough
After another four or five days, the tag was showing no signs of shriveling up. It was still the same size and still weeping profusely, so it was time to visit Bruce again.
I could tell from his face that it wasn't meant to look like that, he explained to me that it wasn't tied off tightly enough, and a small amount of blood was still getting through into the tag and keeping it alive. Time to tie it off again.
Brutus let out a little yelp when this happened. I think the skin near his chest must have been quite sore at this point. However, again after about 30 seconds, he seemed unaware of it.
Luckily, Brutus is a very laid back, relaxed dog. If he weren't, he may have reacted very differently to this treatment and all the t-shirt changing. Afterwards, we went home and continued with the t-shirt changing and the daily tag checks (2x). Amazingly, within about three days, it was black and flattened by Brutus laying on it.
A day or two later, whist vacuuming the living room carpet, I found the deposited skin tag on the floor. I checked Brutus' chest and there was hardly any sign at all that it had ever been there.
Bruce admitted to me when we went back for Brutus' check-up that he had never tied off a skin tag so big before but was pleased with the results, although he did tell me that there was a good chance that it might grow back again. Brutus is now almost 16 years old and has never grown another skin tag, thank goodness!
© 2009 Skye
Sarah on June 08, 2020:
My staffy had a 3-4 cm skin tag hanging from his belly and the vets said he would need to have surgery. He has a heart disease so no way was i going to put him through that risk!!.Vet's are money hungry so of course they are going to tell me he needs surgery and not even factor in the risks associated to his heart disease and offer a natural alternative like the tie off method. I tied off the skin tag on Wednesday night, it swelled up a lot the next day (double the size) and started blistering and sweating. Mind you, my boy had NO idea what was going on. We still went for walks, and he was happy as Larry. On Friday, the tag stopped blistering and became black. On Sunday the tag was small, black and hard like plastic. I actually got out the scissors and cut the tag off (i cut below where the elastic band was attached to his skin) I let him lick the peanut butter jar while i did this and he didnt even budge, he wagged his tail the whole way through me cutting off the dead tag. On Sunday the band i had tied on his tummy was still there and was starting to look red and irritated. I put some betadine on it and hoped the next morning i would wake to find the band attached to his skin had fallen off. Well it didn't :( i then started to panic that his skin would grow over the elastic band and he would need surgery to get it off :( :( today (being Tuesday) i got out the peanut butter again and let him lick the jar while i tried to get as close to the band as possible with my scissors. I finally did it! I cut into the elastic band and it immediately fell off. There is no open skin, it just looks like an indent but a little red. I'm going to the vets tomorrow to have them check for any signs of infection just to be safe. Thanks everyone for your posts! It gave me the confidence to try this and i have no regrets. This was the most natural way to remove his skin tag and it didn't cause him any discomfort at all :)
Ryan K on December 05, 2019:
This form was a true blessing to my dog and my wallet. 12 year old female pit “Lola” had a black skin tag on her lower stomach area near her back legs. Vet told me $800 and she would have to have anastasia, shes way too old for that. She had TPLO surgery on both back knees when she was 9 yrs old. with 3 screws in each knee. After reading this form it gave me the confidence to do the tie off method. The growth was about the size of your thumb, black tear drop shape. Day 1 I tied dental floss around it and a rubberband to help keep the pressure. Day 2 the skin tag filled to a hard redish / raw skin, started to leak/bleed a bit. I was nervous it looked pretty bad and large now. I tied another dental floss in tighter. Day 4 I tied another floss on tighter. Day 7 it still looked the same as day 4 so I decided to tie a thin rubber band around it as tight as I could. That night I noticed it start to shrink in size. What a relief. Day 10 in the morning there was no skin tag to be found just a little indent about the diameter of a pencil eraser that looked good, not raw, no blood. Did not bother her. We were both very excited and relieved. My advice after going through this is to make sure you tie the Floss on as tight as possible at first and Cut a thin rubber band and tie that on as well as tight as you can. If Lola would have had the rubber band on the whole time with the floss I think it would have taken less time. The rubber band really helped keep consistent pressure on it so the blood would not flow. We are forever thankful for Brutus, Skye and this from.
ChineseCrestedMom on January 07, 2019:
So glad I came upon this message thread!
After visiting the vet with my 14 yo Chinese Creasted, who NEVER told me that we were just dealing with a skin tag that was growing (about the size of a grape), and a second surgery consult ($1000 + quote) with this vet because of the constant bleeding (little girl wanted to scratch it ever day exacerbating it - btw, a sock loosely secured on offending hind paw worked well to stop this, but of course this tip did not come from the vet), I examined the growth around her neck more carefully myself, and saw that the base was relatively small with the growth literally mushrooming out of it. This is when the idea to tie it off came to me, and these wonderful posts helped me make the decision to go for it!
After cleaning the area really well, I used dental floss (alcohol cleaned & then dried) to tie off the base. I was a bit nervous that this was going to hurt my little girl, but she never made a peep (although I didn’t pull tight with all my strength to be honest). Then I put the sock back on her hind paw, as well as her “protective neck collar”, and off to sleep we both went without a hitch.
The next morning the growth was still fleshy looking and she had bleed a bit more than I would have thought. At this point my husband suggested cutting a rubber band open, cleaning it and then using the rubber band on top of the string. I was committed at this point, so I decided to go for it. This really did the trick and within an hour, the growth started to turn black!
Based on my experience, I would suggest starting with a rubber band to tie off the growth. In my situation, the string served to cut into the base of the growth, but didn’t really stop the blood flow. So...start with the rubber band, wait for the growth to go black, and then start to use the thin string to encourage the dead tissue to fall off.
I am now into day three of the procedure. There has been absolutely no blood or seeping since the growth went black. She no longer has to wear her protective collar (padded cloth one) to collect all the discharge from the growth. I still put the sock on her although she seems to have stopped scratching for now (I am being cautious since once the growth breaks off, she might start scratching the area again). I fully expect the black, dead skin to eventually fall off on its own accord. If the outcome is any different, I will post the information to help the next person along.
As a side note, I would have really preferred to do this whole thing under the supervision of my vet. After reading more online, I see that there are probably vets that support this procedure and others that do not. I would call around and find a vet that does.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on August 06, 2018:
I’m so pleased that your dog was well behaved and let you tie off the tag. I’m sure you were far more stressed out than he was
Momma2FurKid on August 05, 2018:
Thank you all for posting. Faced with more bills than month, we decided to tie off a skin tag on our dog’s chest because it was getting pulled from time to time and growing.
It was about 1 1/2 inches long on a narrow stalk, tubular, uniform, soft, skin-colored so we thought it was a good candidate for the tie off (not an agioma and not a wide base, no hardness). I used a small trimmer to shave the fur around the growth the night before. I thought some pain from hair pulling could be minimized. He also got used to being touched on his belly around the area, to build trust. Took a while to even get him to let me trim with the buzzy noise, but cheese is a great tool for conditioning. :)
I was nervous as he’s a relatively new rescue with some dominance traits and had snapped at the vet. I wasn’t sure he’d let us. I held and distracted him with a toy and treats while hubby worked on the tie off. (51 lbs English, Australian, or Anatolian Shepherd mix, we think. Beautiful farm collie look about him and very loving and protective.)
He did well! Clearly knew something was happening but showed no sign of pain at all. We had to do it twice because the first attempt was with thread which broke and was not tight enough. Second attempt was to add chord, like what is used to make tassels, which was wound twice and tied once. He didn’t flinch, panic, or snap. Showed no signs of discomfort either time. Played immediately after I let him go. Lays on it without any sign of pain. Acts completely normal.
We just did it with him standing. It seemed to stress him to try to position him lying down. Awkward angle but okay.
It’s day two, and this is as nerve wracking as day one. Within hours the tag swelled about a third larger, turned bright red. By day two, it turned dark red and looks round rather than tubular now. It started weeping today; he’s in a tank top and acting normal. We’re hoping it will be gone in a few days.
I’ve been far more anxious and suffering than the dog! I wanted to post in case I never returned to express gratitude for the tips and shared experiences that will increase our dog’s quality of life within a week or so.
Laila on July 18, 2018:
Wow we are still coming to your blog thick and fast. Thank you my sweetheart for the advice. I don't know how old my staffie is as we got her off the street years ago. I saw the pdsa for her grape like skin tag last week. Today for bladder infection. My dogs name is sky by the way
Misty on July 17, 2018:
I got scared and took the band off it’s still supper large and bloody looking but it’s cold to the touch my dog acts like she feels bad I’m giving her antibiotics and I bathed her today she’s 12 years old surgery is not an option I can’t afgo it nor do I think she would make it through. I don’t understand why vets can’t just numb the area and cut them off and sew it up..
Should I tie it back off or leave it alone and see what happens from here?
Misty on July 17, 2018:
My lab has a tag and I tied it off on Sunday night it’s now a little smaller than a baseball and black and wet. I’m nervous should I wait a few more days or just take her to the vet I really can’t afford the $700-$800 vet bill though
Skyepie on July 04, 2018:
Dennis K, I’m sorry to hear your vet has taken you for a financial ride, they seem to be able to charge whatever they like.
I hope my hub has been helpful and you get you lovely dog sorted out soon
dennis k on July 04, 2018:
My dog is half Rottweiler and lab. He is very tall and great on the trail!! He has a tag the size of a walnut on his back leg that flopps around when walking and I'm afraid it will get caught on something and get ripped off so I'm doing this research. I went to a vet and it cost me 300 dollars to get told they couldn't control him and nothing else and to give him some 75 dollar pills which were meant to calm him down!! I went back for the second appointment and was told the $300 didn't go toward the second visit and they couldn't do anything about it!! This was a t a pet smart in Reno Nv, I'm going to try this but put a bandage around his leg while the tag is dyeing! Thank you so very much all of you with your info and comments!!
Spice on June 04, 2018:
This will help my dog Mia because she has one and we are going to the vets to check it out in three weeks because she doesn’t really care about it she just does what she always does.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on April 20, 2018:
Thank you for all your lovely comments, I can’t believe this hub has been so popular!
DonTheMon on April 10, 2018:
Hi, thanks for the great advice. My labs tag was as big as Brutus's. It took two weeks to come off. At first after 3-4 days I didn't see much of a change so I tied it again with fishing line. Three days later it shrunk a tiny bit but not much. Was about to give up but tied a slip not with twine. Got it really tight . three days later it was flat and ozzing. after a couple days I touched it again, was thinking of cutting it off as it was all dried out now. I twisted it for about ten seconds and it came right off.! My advise is to tie tight til your dog yelps for a second then . add another tie every couple days. save 400 bucks the vet wanted and there was just a little pink hole were the tag stalk started. Put Neosporin on it.
Angela on April 24, 2017:
Hi I realize this post was from a long time ago but my sister tied the skin tag on her dog and it seems like it's peeling after 2 days of it being tied. Is this normal did this happen to Brutus?
DennisK on March 29, 2017:
Was very skeptical at first. But went ahead and had a successfully removal of a 2 inch skin tag in our dogs belly. Tied off tightly with floss as close to base of skin tag as possible. It immediate went dark purple to black within hours. Next two days it swelled up to the size of a grape and was a dark reddish purple color. Day 3 it started to seep blood it continued to do this day 3-5. We used several T Shirts to not ruin furniture and sheets on the bed. Day 5-7 it went black and got hard and shriveled up. We saw a little red irritation at base of skin and we used antibiotic cream to prevent infection. Day 7 we came home after work and the tag was gone. Looks like a little red nick where it was the size of a little pimple. We have no idea where the tag went. But we are happy to report this worked very well. We saved hundreds of dollars and our dog never appeared in any discomfort the entire time. My suggestion is make sure you tie off as tight as you can from the start and if need be add another tie a few days later just to be safe. Good luck all.
lisa m on July 23, 2016:
i tied my dogs grape size skin tag off, it didnt swell but has started to shrink. it is day 3 and it is still weepy and STINKS , i have been salt water bathing but need to know if this is nornal, please help TIA.
Carol Gatti on June 30, 2016:
My dog is 13 years old and has a large skin tag like your Brutus. I have tied it off but have not noticed any change as yet. It does feel cool to the touch. How long before you saw any change in the tag? I have tied it more than once to make sure I did it correctly. Not really seeing any oozing of the tag either. The skin tag is so unsightly looking and I just want him to be rid of it. Thanks!!
Tiffany on February 29, 2016:
Thank you! I'm waiting to see the results from tying off my dogs skin tag currently. It was soft and stretchy. It hasn't been 24 hours yet and it's swelling.. I'll watch it and maybe need to tie it tighter..
Cheryl on January 26, 2016:
My bigger than normal rotti has a skin tag in the middle of his chest. It's quite unsightly. We actually refer to it as a 'chestical'. When I called the vet for a price to remove it, they estimated $500, due to his size and cost to sedate him. It was more than I could spend for a cosmetic fix. I heard about tieing it off and did 2 days ago. Was concerned how much bigger it is now, but see that is normal, though tightened it up and back to the waiting. Really hoping this works. Thank you!!!
Kel2103 on October 21, 2015:
Just read all your posts, as we have a staffie with an unsightly skin tag hanging off his stomach! This has been present for over 6 months with a rapid growth spurt and due to age we were reluctant to put him under. I tied it over 4 days ago and it did go hard & dark but was still hanging on, quite swollen and today weepy. So your blogs have encouraged me to re-tie it. It did bleed a little (panic set in) but soon stopped and my daft old boy didn't even flinch!! I shall update once were finally skin tag free
Kim on March 26, 2015:
How has everyone cared for the site where the tag fell off.
Is it an open wound? Like you could stick your finger into?
My 10year old Lab Big Deuce has one that is going to fall off any day on his belly. Thanks.
Kori on January 25, 2015:
Thanks for all the input everyone~tied my Bogeys small tag today...getting darker already this evening. I'll update for those of you searching like me.
krista on January 09, 2015:
My red nose pittie has a skin tag on his upper eyelid it keeps getting bigger and now how eyelid is swollen. Not sure what to do
momofangel on December 27, 2014:
I wish I had found these posts earlier today! My dog had a big growth on her back leg. I had already seen a vet a few months ago for routine checkup and she checked it and it was non-cancerous, just unsightly. She suggested surgery with a cost of at least $500, which we really can't afford. I tied it off a couple days ago and today it just looked terrible. It had grown into this big black, oozing, blistery looking thing! It really scared me and my daughter was freaking out, so we took off the rubber band. I'm praying that it will go down a bit, but so far she's just laying around and licking it. Actually as I am typing this, I looked at her and it has actually started looking like the old hanging blob again! It's still a little dark, but looking more normal. I'm too scared to try it again, though. I think I'll just go see my vet.
Jen on November 20, 2014:
Thanks for detailing this story. My 2 year old dog got a broccoli-looking skin tag that snagged on his leash and bled out. I tied it off with floss, as suggested from a how-to-do site, but kept wondering what if I tied it tightly enough.. The same day, I can across your site, which gave me the resolve to redo the tying to make sure it was tight enough. I'm glad I did because after I did it properly, the swelling died down within half a day.
Mssy on October 22, 2014:
First....I would like t thank everyone for sharing their stories! I have a 5 yr old Springer Spaniel....about 5 months ago I noticed a growth on his belly.....i first thought it was an infected nipple or bug bite of some sort....well as the weeks and months passed by , i quickly saw that is looked like a skin tag.....it hung at its longest about 3 inches...well I was so afraid he would scrath it or tear it while running. Although...it never seemed to bother him....so long story short.... I have been reading online for about a two months. After reading Brutus's story.....I felt 100% sure about what to do.....so 2 days ago...I nervously tied fishing line at the base of the tag....which was fairly large....I then tightened 6 rubberband at the base as well. My baby boy never made a sound or jerked. 2 days now. And the tag is completely black....dried up and I am anxiously awaiting for it to be gone!!!! I failed to mention....while I first tied it off...it immediately turned blue. My only concern is the base, his belly is a little swollen...so praying that the healing continues just as fast! Good Luck!!
Darlene on October 19, 2014:
This has been so helpful! I tied off my dogs inflamed skin tag with dental floss on day 3 it fell off. By day 7 it is healing perfect! Thanks for all the facts
gennie hughes on June 25, 2014:
he looks just like my dog buddy!!!!
Katie on June 19, 2014:
Final update: a little over a week and my girl is skin tag free!!
Katie on June 15, 2014:
Update: a full week later and we have made progess! The tag on her knee is now much smaller, hard and the size of a raisin. I have been cleaning the area with iodine several times a day to prevent an infection. The tag has pulled away from the skin and is sorta oozy looking. I'm hopeful it will fall off soon!
Thanks for the blog on this issue. It has been very helpful and gave me my medical degree to attempt this ;) I'm very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed looking at his pictures. Looked like a very happy boy :)
Katie on June 08, 2014:
I'm trying this on my 7 yr old pit. It has been tied off for a full 24hrs and oozing a little and turning red. Think I will tie it off again using floss. I also put a cotton ball of Apple Cider vinegar on it earlier to clean. Braggs acv is the one I used. Will update again on the progress or once it's gone.
Strudel on March 19, 2014:
Thank you for posting this. My dog is 14 years old had a big ugly black growth on his belly that he would rub and it would sometimes bleed. Tied it off and used the t-shirt method....within three days it dried up and looked like a raisin....Fell off by day five.
The second day was probably the worst when you sort of freak out when it is weeping...I just re-read your post over and over to reassure myself that I did it right.
isa on January 25, 2014:
Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for all the info on this page. After ringing round vets and being told that it would be anything in excess of £125. I decided to tie of my dogs skin tag myself. I used dental floss to do the tie and like a lot of other peoples it ballooned and went bright red the next day. She had gone through 3 t shirts in a day, all covered in blood. I tied it a second time as I thought the swelling might have loosened the first tie, allowing blood to get back through. 3 days later and the tag has dropped off leaving just a little bit of bare flesh. My dog is much happier already, I think she sensed people's reactions when they saw her huge fist sized skin tag hanging from her thigh. I wouldn't have had the courage to do it without these posts, so thanks again.
Kimber R on January 08, 2014:
I have a 17 year old cat. She had a growth on her belly, next to a nipple. At first it looked like a water filled blister. She tore it open using the doggy door. It dried up for a while, but when it came back, it was a hanging tag like tumor. We took her to the vet who said at her age, he wouldn't do the biopsys and cancer checks. He would just surgically remove it. As we are very low income, we have been keeping it clean and bandaging it so she doesn't aggravate it. It frequently oozes and bleeds. It now resembles 2 shrimp stuck to her belly. It is attached by a small umbilical structure.As it is vasculated, can I still tie it off? As a farm kid, I did this before in certain applications. It causes her no pain, she doesn't mind us touching it while cleaning and bandaging. Opinion please?
Kay on October 21, 2013:
My 6yr Standard Poodle had a small flesh coloured tag at the bottom of her eye for the last 6 months...started as a small dot and grew (downwards) to about 4mm..not huge but long and skinny. The vet said just to keep an eye on it and only worry if it started to grow that it was scratching her eyeball. However, I was worried that it could get clipped when at the groomers...I had heard of tying off so last night I "very carefully" took a piece of thread, cut it into a few inches, tied a loop and then placed the loop around the tag as close to the skin as I could, and pulled tight. She is a very patient dog and does not pull away, when I tightened it she did not move at all. I carefully trimmed the excess thread so that it would not go up into her eye. This morning, I checked it out of curiousity--it was black and small, I touched the small pce of thread and the whole thing came off! There is still a small dot there--and I won't be surprised if it does grow back..but I can do it again if necessary. I was thrilled with the results...and surprised to find this write-up on it tonight!
Good luck to all (and I have also heard of people doing this on armpit/neck tags)
Gary on October 02, 2013:
I tied a large one off on my german shorthair's chest after reading this. It got huge and purple. The next day I tied another string around it and it went almost black but today it looks like the black layer peeled off and it went super bright crazy red. Not sure if I should tie it again or wait a couple days.....
Melanie on September 28, 2013:
Ok. After reading all your posts... I'm going for it. Boxer-Pit-American Bulldog mix has raisin style tags that have grown to the size of blackberries. The one by her neck is broken and bleeding but the one on her back is just as black and raisin-y as it has always been. Wish me luck. Will post results. Thank you to the original poster! You are saving us all a TON of money!
mandy doughtie on September 19, 2013:
Hello! I just wanted to say thank you SO MUCH! Your list really helped me. About 3 years ago almost for my mother in law passed away. We took in her dog Sebastian because he's very aggressive towards other people with the exception of the people that he knew. About a year and a half ago we noticed something on Sebastian that seem to look like Just a swollen nipple. Over time it started to grow. In the last 6 months or so it has grown to be the size of about a lemon. Over the last couple of weeks it started to grow again. I called the vet to see how much it would be to try and have it removed. they told me that it would be anywhere between 600 and 1000 dollars depending on size. my husband and I decided to just leave it alone because although it was ugly and big it didn't seem to be bothering him. About a week ago he started licking and messing with it to the point where it kept bleeding. I kept trying to wrap it up and gos to try and get him to leave it alone so it could heal up. I sat at my kitchen table for days and cried because I knew I didn't have the money to take him to the vet and have it removed. All I kept thinking was how I had let my mother in law down because now there's this is staying on her dog in there is nothing that I could do about it. I decided one day that I was going to call the SPCA and surrender Sebastian because I didn't have the night money to fix him And I was worried that if somebody has driven by that they would call the animal control and I would be charged with animal because he had an open wound.. that day I ran across your post on the internet while looking up skin tags. I decided that I would still try to attempt it even though Sebastian skin tag was so large.. it was better than the alternative if I had surrendered him they would have had no choice but to put him down. although Sebastian is 8 years old I know he still got a lot of years left in him and the last thing I wanted to do is to give him up and put him down. Monday night I used a rubber band rather than a piece of string because his stock was so large. this morning I got up his skin tag igone the only thing left is a piece of skin that's been dried up from where the stockings to be. almost looks like a baby's umbilical cord as its drying up and falling off
Ellen Chang from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2013:
I just used sewing thread and dental floss since I couldn't find the floss at first. Jake is a Vizsla and has one by his eye. Thanks for all your posts. It gave me the courage to try it!
Mac&Ruby on December 26, 2012:
I wanted to post my story in case it might help anyone who will be trying this method. This page gave me the courage and info to try it on my own. My vet also agreed I could try to do the tie off from home! I rescued Ruby, a 6 yr old English Bulldog, and she had a 4-5 cm loose skin tag hanging from her belly like a nipple. I tied it off 3 days ago with fishing line and it swelled up immediately and turned really red. It had been weeping and pretty gross, so we put another tie above the old one today. Within an hour it was darker and turned black shortly after. It's decreased in size a lot as well. I hope it's near it's end. I also applied antibiotic ointment twice a day to the site to prevent infection and she has been sporting my wife beater shirts. I'll update when it falls off... Hopefully tomorrow!!
Crystal on December 17, 2012:
it looks just like a rasin too , like your big guy here , it isn't like the dog skin tags i looked up on google
Crystal on December 17, 2012:
My chihuahua has one of these things also, she is 8 years old and it doesn't bug her it all, it's black and shrivelled up and its gotten bigger. they want it to be removed but it's so expensive and my parents (i'm 17 btw) are too financially stressed to pay 200$ . I'm scared to do it myself, but she would look so much better, i feel like she doesn't like having it there appearance wise haha . what kind of string is to be used?
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on November 04, 2012:
Yes it should be tied off as close to the body as possible to ensure a tidy finish when the tag falls off. Glad you have found my hub useful, it seems far more common than I had realised when I wrote it!! Good luck
Paul on November 04, 2012:
So sorry to hear Brutus passed away he has been an inspiration to all the people with the same problem and can only thank you in advance
PAUL on November 04, 2012:
my stuffy cross wiema has a sort of large nipple sort of grape size been vets and they want hundreds of bucks , just enquiring when you tied it off did it go for a soft dangling piece of skin to like a cherry after i tied it off as it seems to be now a lump under where i tied it off and the outer lump is turning black
mike on September 09, 2012:
just tried this on my boxer mix . hope it works
meg on July 13, 2012:
thank you for your story i have a staffordshire bull terrier with exactly the same skin tag but nowhere near that big, i have two small children who keep pulling it thinking its something to play with and the vet wants £150 to have it removed so it has been tied off. i was a bit worried at first but this has helped. x
Lisa on May 24, 2012:
Update on Rocky's skin tag: It's gone! This thread inspired me to keep tying it more tightly, and then suddenly yesterday it started to shrivel significantly. It was still on when he went outside for his morning constitutional, but when he came back in it was gone, and I can hardly even see the spot where it was!
Thank you! For anyone else who has any doubts, be brave and just keep tying new pieces of floss on more tightly a couple of times a day. It works!
Lisa on May 22, 2012:
Here's that photo link of Rocky's skin tag, which should work better:
Lisa Perkins on May 22, 2012:
I found this very helpful thread when researching skin tag removal for my 11-year-old pit bull/boxer mix, Rocky, who has three skin tags: two under his chest, and one on his butt cheek.
After reading the complete thread, I summoned up the courage to tie off the skin tags with dental floss about a week ago and have progressively added tighter and tighter tie-offs. The two under his chest, (one is very long and skinny; the other was the size and shape of a quarter and had a thin "stem"), swelled, reddened, and oozed, but they have now completely dried up, shriveled, and hardened. They have yet to fall off. They never seemed to bother Rocky through the whole process.
The tag on his butt cheek, the largest of the three and with the broadest "stem," is still quite nasty looking (if you dare, see a photo here: http://www.yes-mg.com/images/rocky-tag.JPG).
Yesterday, he started licking and chewing at it, so it seems to be bothering him. It looks soooo tender, and the floss seems to be cutting sharply into the skin, so I'm very hesitant to tie yet another, tighter piece on (the other tags gave me no squeamishness at all) — yet, I know the key to getting this job done is to cut off the life support to the tag. Or, would I be wiser to snip off the floss, give Rocky some relief, and get the vet involved with surgical removal this point?
Skypie (or anyone who's been through this), would you dare to look at the picture and tell me if you think this looks as bad as it got for Brutus (or other dogs) before his tag began to shrivel?
By the way, Skypie, I'm sorry to know Brutus passed on, and I'm grateful that his spirit continues on through helping other dogs through this post.
Thank you for any further encouragement or advice you can offer to help us get through this last tag!
Tara on April 26, 2012:
I just want to add my thanks for this detailed post, firstly to Skyepie & to all others who posted their experiences. This helped me take the plunge to tie off my 14 year old Chinese Cresteds skin tag. Bluffs tag had been growing on his neck for about a year or so. My husband tied dental floss around it 10 days ago, we had to do an extra tie 3 days later, it was shocking to watch to process of how the tag swells up but knowing all the info given in the links had to go with the flow. Exactly as detailed in so many posts, the tag starts to shrink and this morning we found it just hanging by a little piece of hair on his neck!! Thanks again to all.
Kathy Graboyes on April 16, 2012:
Hello and thank you for this wonderful forum. My Dog Max had a skin tag on his eye and it has grown tremendously in the last few months. We thought that it would fall of because it is just hanging on a small piece of hair. It is really black and looks like a shriveled up raisin. It is on the side of his eye so it never really bothered him. The last few day he has not been himself so I put a flashlight on it and saw that it was scratched actually cut. When walking him he did rub his eye against a brick wall. We are taking him to the Vet but they can't see him for 3 days. I am worried that he is in pain and also worried that there could be infection. Thanks in advance.
Mally on April 12, 2012:
My dog has what we thought was a 'wart' on her back inner thigh. After reading your story I now believe it is a skin tag as it looks EXACTLY the same apart from the size (my dog's is a lot smaller). Around a month ago I attempted to tie off the blood supply with a piece of thread (as I know they doc tails by using an elastic band and believed it was the same principle). To this day it is still exactly the same, apart from a build up of blood (as clearly thread is no where near thick enough and I obviously did not tie it tight enough). After consulting a vet today about what we should do, they told us the only thing they could do was to operate, but they were not keen on that option due to my dogs age. I told them about what I had done (i.e tying it up with thread) and they responded by saying to take it off immediately, and leave it alone as the method I have done could potentially change the nature of the wart/tag (i.e make it cancerous). After coming on Google to see what steps to take, I came across your article which reinforced my idea to cut off the blood supply. What I was wondering what why my vet suggested it may change the structure of the wart/tag? What is the difference between a wart and a tag? Do you believe I should go ahead and cut off the blood supply, and if so with what? You mentioned you used something similar to fishing line, what else can be used?
Thank you so much for your time.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on April 11, 2012:
Hi Candi, The tag that Brutus had was never hard, it was floppy and loose. Maybe a trip to the vets to get it checked out if you're worried. The PDSA will treat your dog if you are on benefits and you can give a small donation or offer some of your time for free. Let us know how you get on.
candi on April 07, 2012:
My dog has a hard lump under her skin right next to her nipple. Today I noticed that her nipple started bleeding real bad. I don't work and not sure what to do. She is about 13 years old and is my baby and I don't want nothing to happen to her
Quee on April 07, 2012:
I just came from the vet and found that the little growth over my Dobie's eyebrow is a skin tag. I'll probably have it removed at the end of this year assuming it doesn't grow too much, when I take her in to have her teeth cleaned - the vet said she would do it then.
Penny on March 28, 2012:
I have a doxie-she is 9 1/2 years old and has had one on her chest for months now. It is dragging the ground. So yesterday I tied it off with rubberbands. It is already black, she doesn't seem at all uncomfortable with the exception that she has to wear a tshirt...not cool to a doxie. Hopefully it will come off in a few days. Thanks for the info. :)
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on March 26, 2012:
Might be worth seeing your vet for a check up first to make sure that it is nothing more ominous. When Brutus had his it was soft and dangly so was easy to tie off. Have a friend with you when you tie it off as it will pinch and he might snap. Also you might want to put on a muzzle on him if you're not sure. You want to keep all your fingers!
Amber on March 24, 2012:
I just got an english mastiff, and he has one on his back looks like a mushroom. Looks pretty bad and kind of embarrassing. I cannot pay $500-$800, no way. So I will be trying this method. Only problem is I do not want a 200 pound dog mad at me :-/ Any suggestions on that..I don't think he will bite but I just got him, so I am not 100% sure. He doesn't know me well enough yet....hmmm....
Leo on March 07, 2012:
Well, my dog ripped off his second t-shirt and was able to see "nothing" on his chest. Looks like his Tag is long gone. Thanks for this Blog in saving me hundreds of $$'s.
CC-Ohio on March 05, 2012:
I enjoyed all the posted experiences: I wonder if the second tying of the skin tag is necessary due to the fact that there is a swelling that occurs as a result of the first tie-off. This swelling may be opening up the first and initial tie, allowing blood to circulate. Also it would be nice to know what type of string, floss, fishing line, and type of knot should be used? Question two, when the second tie-off is done, is it applied just below or above the first tie, and with the first tie left intact? If those with experience could submit a more detailed steps on what they think would be a good common guide to follow. I was wondering if, when the tie is done, would it be a good idea to place some antibiotic cream or Iodine ointment on the tie as an aid against any infection? After all, the tie-off is actually being used to cut off the tag by a slow process of starving it. I believe from reading all the comments that there are alot of brave and caring people. I hope that my opinion has helped and is definitly not posted to criticize anyone, but is a collection from what everyone has bravely posted. Especially do I thank Skyepie for sharing her experience, her careful details and photos of her beloved Brutus. My heart goes out to all of you!
Leo on February 29, 2012:
Well, yesterday the front of his shirt was torn open and could see that most of his Fig was gone. Just a small piece of skin remained, about 2 inches. I tied it off some more and my dog didn't even flinch. Put a bunch of antibiotic ointment around the tied off area since I could see a small area looked a little bit infected, small yellow spot. Then put a nice fresh t-shirt on him. will report again in a few days.
Shorty on February 25, 2012:
I think I just found one on shorty inside her ear, about an inch and a half long. How fast do these things grow, I just had her groomed in late December. She's a long haired border collie bassett mix. Will definitely be at the vet first thing monday. As far as I can tell its just hanging by skin. Does anyone know what I should expect from the vet, plus Shortys 14 years old.
Leo on February 25, 2012:
Ok, it's now the 2nd day after tying off and yup like all the post it's looking gross. His T-shirt I put on him is really wet from all the weeping. I threw on some gloves and took a look, it looks like a Purple, Brown and Red Kiwi. Anyways, tied some more dental floss around the choke spot tight enough for my dog to flinch a little. Put his shirt back on and I'll check again a couple day. It does look the tag is dying for sure.
Leo on February 23, 2012:
Yes, my Chocolate Lab has a 4 inch one in the same area. Poor guy keeps licking it so I did a Google search and so glad I found your thread. Gonna do the tie off, I saw some one use dental floss, I'm going to give that floss a try.
Aussie on February 21, 2012:
First I am going to add to the long list and say thank you, for simply writing this post. My dog has had a skin tag on her elbow for years and it has never bothered her, but recently it has gotten longer and she has began to chew at it. I called vet after vet, and they said anywhere from $400-$700 to get it removed. Well being a college student who just got laid off that isn't an option, so I am trying your handy method. I'll repost if all goes as planned, thanks again!
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on February 10, 2012:
I never noticed any cuts or bleeding from the tag it just felt soft like loose skin. Might be worth a visit to the vet if it is hard or causing any real discomfort, as skin tags generally cause no pain when they are touched or handled. Good luck
Kristy on January 31, 2012:
I just found a red small grape like growth on my 7 yr old male boxer. I thought it was a swollen nipple since its on his belly but looking closer its definitely not a nipple. Did anyones skin tags look swollen and have any cuts? I have put neosporin on it and have been giving him garlic for any possible infections, I am very worried its something serious so any info would be great as my "son" HATES the vet so that's a last resort. Thanks for your post
Lisa on January 26, 2012:
Thanks for the info. I have a 16 1/2 year old yellow lab who has many skin tags. None seem to bother him except for the one in his ear. He's always rubbing his head on stuff and it ends up bleeding everywhere. I think it must be in an awkward place and tickle or something because he never seems to be bothered by the other ones. I'm thinking maybe this one needs to be tied off. Thinking of doing it myself but hmm maybe not. Thanks again.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on January 13, 2012:
I think if you are not comfortable doing the tie off and your vet will not consider it, you are doing the right thing. I hope it all goes well, try not to think about the cost, remember our dogs are like our children and worth every penny!!
Robin on January 12, 2012:
Thank you! Juicy is scheduled for surgery 1/26/12. Three Hundred bucks! It is too big...and I don't want to run the risk of infection. At her age....I want her to be as comfortable as possible.The tie off method is not even something my Vet would consider....
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on January 05, 2012:
Good luck at the vets..... fingers crossed for you both!
Robin on January 04, 2012:
Thank you for the info! I have an eleven year old Pit. I've had her since she was 6 weeks...so needless to say..she is my baby. Same story....the vet said don't worry about it.Just cosmetic, Now it has grown to 4" and is bleeding pretty badly. She also has another forming on her hind leg. I have taken her to a "so called clinic" and they said surgery for removal would be about 500.00.Needless to say, with three other pets...and scores of other bills, I can't afford that at this time. i was so glad when I came across your post. I didn't know that vets performed this practice as it seems a bit unconventional. But if it works....I'm all for it! I take Juicy to the vets on Saturday....wish me luck!
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on January 02, 2012:
Hi there Hilda, This is what happened to Brutus too, it didn't burst but did ooze a lot. It needed tying off tighter so we took him back to the vets. Within about 2 or 3 days it had turned black and was shrivelling up. Maybe a trip back to the vet and ask them to re-tie it would be in order? Good luck, let us know how you get on?
Hilda on January 01, 2012:
I have a 10 year old newfi with a large skiing tag on the bottom of her chin. I took her to the vet Friday and it was tied off.... It has expanded and is somewhat oozing. I don't know if this is normal but according to your blogs it is.... I can't tie anything near it.. How long before it shrivels ? It seems to keep expanding, Turing red like a balloon..any chance it will burst? I'm trying to be patient but I'm close to taking her to the Vet ER... Help !!!
Gary on December 25, 2011:
I have a 12 year old cockerpoo that has several small skins tags. Can I use a wart solution on them in leiu of the tie method. The largest one is about 1/2" in diameter a 1/2"long and looks like a nipple. They are mostly on his back.
Tina on November 24, 2011:
The 4-5 inches Skin Tag FINALLY came off. It took one week for it to come off and I tie the skin tag 3 times to re-enforce it and did have swelling up for the first 4 days with blister and bleeding.Finally the 3rd tie, after one day it turned black and shrunk. Anybody trying the Tie Method for the Skin Tag, just be patient and would suggest to re-tie again just to be sure there is no more blood circulation on that skin tag. THANK YOU SKYEPIE for starting this, without this forum I would not have the courage to do it.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on November 23, 2011:
Hi Jami, I don't recall Brutus' smelling at all during our tie off. Ensure the tie is really tight as the smell could be the skin weeping, this will continue to happen if blood is still getting through to the tag. You could try bathing it in a little salt water too. If after another day or two it does not seem to be shrinking i would visit the vet to have it checked. Good luck
Tina, well done it sound like another successful tie off!!
Tina on November 22, 2011:
I have a 8 yr. old English American Bulldog mix with a large skin tag (about 4-5 inches) same story, vet advised not to do anything. Last week it started bleeding and went to the vet to check it out and told us that my dog need surgery to remove the skin tag, quoted me a minimum charge of $765.00 and it could me more once they do the surgery. Same situation, we love our dog very much but $765 is to much for an ordinary working family that needs to consider other things. I have heard about the tie method from family and did search for any more information, when I came across this Forum/Page. I would like to Thank everybody, especially SKYEPIE for the information.
I tied the skin tag last wednesday night and it swelled up and it bled a little. After 2 days it changed to brownish-redish color and started to blister. I used a cotton cloth to cover it. I retied it again yesterday, making sure it is tight and secure. Today, it turned black and it shrunk from 4or 5 inches to 2 inches. I am just waiting for it to fall off, anytime. I will update when it comes off.
This forum/site is amazing and very informative to those people searching for answer.Now I know that I am not alone and other people is experiencing the same dilema.Again THANK YOU!!!!!
Jami on November 22, 2011:
Hi my 9 year old beagle lab cross has a very ugly skin tag that has been growing for the past 3 years and we tied it off it has been blistering and bleeding and now its starting to smell is this normal?
Janet on November 11, 2011:
My 9 year old Lab.had a small skin tag in the middle of her muzzle - it was there yesterday, today when put down her food for her, I noticed a minute black mark, which for a moment I thought was a small tick - then I looked closely, it was all that remained of the tag. Some how or another,the tag had come off! I rubbed the little black dot ightly, and that came off too - there is no trace of the tag!
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on November 08, 2011:
Good luck and I hope it works, let us know! thanks
kaya on November 07, 2011:
My 2 yr old aussie has skin tag approximately 1-2 cm on the outside of her hind leg just above the knee. It started off as a tiny bump last week, and now looks like a tiny nipple. At first it was only flesh colored; after scratching it, it turned a pink/red color. 2 days later the tip scabbed but the flesh colored tag remains and appears to be slowly stretching out, and lengthening. I have tied a red string and will watch how it progresses in the coming days...
gooner on October 24, 2011:
thanks for all the info, my cross collie has a few skin tags but one under her arm, i am now concerned with as Molly is constantly licking at it & is now making it bleed, gonna try a tee shirt to stop her at it. not wanting to try myself i will speak to my vet tomorrow & ask if he will tie it, so sad for your loss of your lovely Brutus, he has helped many doggy friends
ladywesson on October 19, 2011:
thank you for responding to my post.
I believe it is just a skin tag, but it was the size of a sesame seed when we first noticed it, and now it is almost the size of a pumpkin seed. It kind of just dangles on the side of his mouth. It is grayish in color as is his skin in the areas where his coat is black. The surgery with full anaesthesia would be $700, which I would pay for my "baby" but not if there are other options to have it removed... I will discuss this with the vet again... Thank you again so much for responding.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on October 14, 2011:
It would depend whether your dog had a skin tag or a growth. My experience was with a skin tag, which was just a dangle of skin which can safely be removed via a tie off. If your dog has a growth it may be that it is more complicated to remove if it has vessels or other areas of concern to consider. It may be worth asking your vet if it is just skin and whether it can be removed via a tie off, they should be honest with you if they know you are aware that there is a possibility of it being tied off.
ladywesson on October 12, 2011:
thank you so much for your contributions to the skin tag discussion. They were extremely insightful. My Boarder Collie (2 years) has a skin tag on the side of his face. It seems to come out of a hair follice as there are are 2 whiskers growing. the skin tag is not very big and it doesn't seem to bother him, but I notice that it is growing realtively fast. The vet told me not to worry because the growth is benign. However, she also told me that she would have to put the dog under for the surgery... Are they trying to rip me off..??? Thanks so much for your help..!!
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on October 11, 2011:
I am so thrilled that my hub was useful for you. When writing it, I had no idea that it would be such a common problem with our canine friends. I hope by now the skin tag has dropped off and your staffie is looking gorgeous again! Thanks
acrossthepond on October 07, 2011:
I just wanted to thank you for posting your story about Brutus. I have a 14 year old Staffie who has the same skin tag, but it's on the inside of one of his hind legs. It’s been there for years and it never bothers him. On a recent trip to the vets for something else, we came out with a suture on his unsightly dangly thing, the vet didn't mention it might swell up and look even more revolting, so I ended up going back for a check-up a week later. This time we saw a different vet, and after convincing me, my boy was immediately booked in for surgery to remove the skin tag. When I got home I couldn’t stop worrying about my 14 year old having to go through surgery. So I ended up googling for more information on skin tags and discovered your story. The following day we went straight back to the vets for another check-up, this time with the vet that first applied the suture. I told her of your story, and she was in total agreement about trying a second tighter suture ... within 24hours it’s shrivelled up into a horrible black thing, we’re pretty sure it’s going to drop off any day now. I feel so happy to have found your story and so relieved that my boy hasn’t needed a stressful day out at the vets. I’m so sorry for your loss, what a handsome boy Brutus was.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on September 30, 2011:
When Brutus' was done it didn't bleed but oozed where the skin ballooned up. It was like that for some days until it was tied off tighter. You may need to check it to see if it needs to be tied again but tighter.
Debbie on September 27, 2011:
Sorry about the repet post, was an accident & i couldn't find where 2 delete 1 of them, so sorry
His shirt wasn't really covered with blood just the front where the tie off was
its still bleeding some but looks like it is shrinking some
Debbie on September 27, 2011:
Was it oosing blood?
Our dobie has a skin tag about 1/3 the size of ur Brutis
I tied it off yesterday and this morning his shirt was covered with blood. is this normal? i sure hope it is. i thought i tied it pretty tight. He even yelped a little.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on September 25, 2011:
Oh bless her, I really hope it all goes well. It sounds like she will be very grateful once it is removed...good luck!
Linda on September 24, 2011:
Thank-you for writing this article, my little dog has a big skin tag hanging on her lower eye. We had tied it off on Friday but it has swelled up and blood is coming out of it, I was searching on line to see if that was "normal" and glad I found your post, so that I know those signs are normal. We tied another piece of floss tight around it this morning, tied it tight and hoping it will fall off, it really blocks my dogs vision and bothers her, she is 14 yrs old.
bryan on September 22, 2011:
It fell off!!! It was stuck in between his chest and the t-shirt! Thanks for posting this, I had thought about doing this for a long time but didn't have the guts. Sure glad I did it was gonna cost a fortune for the vet to do it.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on September 21, 2011:
Well done, it sounds like you have tied it off successfully! It should fall off soon by the sound of it.
bryan on September 20, 2011:
Yup, I tied another one, and it bled for 2 days. I went through 4 t shirts. Now on day 3 it looks like a giant raisin! So I hoping it falls off in the next few days. Looking back, im not sure i needed the second knot. I got scared when it swelled up.
Skye (author) from Leicestershire, UK on September 20, 2011:
Only just viewed your message.... I hope that your 'tie off' was successful? If it turned black it was almost certainly cutting off the supply which is a good sign.
Did you have to tie it off again? How is your dog now?
bryan on September 17, 2011:
we are now 6 hours deep and it is almost completely black! but it seems to be swelling a little bit. should i tie another one tighter? if so, on top or bottom of the original? thanks for any help!
bryan on September 17, 2011:
Just tied my dogs off a few minutes ago using 100lb braided fishing line with a constrictor knot. Hopefully i tied it off tight enough. After just a few minutes it seems to be getting darker, is this a good sign? It is pretty big probably 3" in length.
Skin tags on dogs and are not dangerous are nothing to worry about but if they cause your canine companion discomfort, get damaged, start bleeding or get infected, then you should seek the attention of your vet. Surgical removal of dog skin tags is the most effective treatment option. Once the skin tag has been removed, you can reduce the risk of recurrence by choosing dog skin care products e.g. shampoos carefully, observing proper nutrition, and grooming your dog properly.
Please don’t remove your pets skin tags at home… It is Very PAINFUL . you should take them to the vet to have them removed under local anesthetic… Or just leave them alone!
Or use apple cider vinegar. Non-toxic. Safe. Non- invasive
You can take a piece of floss and also tie it to the base of the skin tag.
You have tto tie quite snugly in order to remove the blood circulation, triggering it to drop off.
It will certainly take not compared to 5 days to drop off.
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This site’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or to take the place of advice from, or treatment by, your veterinarian. You should always discuss treatment of medical conditions with your veterinarian before using any alternative therapies, natural supplements, or vitamins.
Diagnosis – Knowing If It’s Serious or Not
The slow growth of skin tags usually means you will not notice them hiding under your dog’s fur until they become so big that they peek out. Signs uncharacteristic of skin tags include pain, discoloration, abnormally rapid growth or swelling.
Have your veterinarian check these lumps, bumps or growths that you see on your dog. Most lumps can wait until your next regular vet visit, but any lumps growing rapidly, causing irritation or in a sensitive area should be checked sooner.
An exam that includes looking at a possible skin tag will cost anywhere from $30 to $80. Your veterinarian will also check your dog’s basic health during this exam. This includes taking a heart rate, temperature, and feeling the abdomen.
Your veterinarian may be able to determine the type of lump simply by looking at it. They may also recommend a procedure called fine needle aspiration.
The mass will be poked with a needle in several locations. Material from the mass will be placed on a slide for cytology.
If your veterinarian is confident looking at the cytology themselves, this can cost as little as $15. If the slide needs to be sent out to a specialized laboratory this will cost $90 to $150.
How Much Does a Dog Skin Tag Removal Cost?
Skin tags, known as acrochordons in the medical world, on a dog, while most are considered harmless, may need to be removed in some circumstances.
If you ever feel what you think is a skin tag, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action as all will be treated differently, especially if what you thought was a skin tag was really something else.
Dog skin tag removal cost
The cost to remove a skin tag will greatly depend on a variety of factors, including the method of removal your vet chooses, your geographical location, the vet you use, if anesthesia is needed for the procedure, if a biopsy is required, the exact location of the skin tag and the number of skin tags removed. In most cases, since a vet will deem most skin tags harmless, he or she will often recommend leaving it as is unless it is irritating your dog, the growth is becoming too large and/or an infection has occurred.
If your vet proceeds to remove a skin tag, then a variety of options, as we discuss later, can be considered. We broke down the average costs people paid online in our table below:
|Type of Procedure Performed||Average Cost Reported|
|Surgery||$800+ depending on size and anesthesia|
NOTE: Do note additional costs may be a factor as we explain below.
Someone posted their bill from Banfield Pet Hospital stating they were charged $1,000 to have a skin tag removed.
The extra costs to consider
If your vet does want to inspect the growth in depth, then he or she will order a biopsy to confirm their suspicions. In this case, a biopsy sent to the lab for analysis is often $150 on top of the estimates mentioned above.
In some cases, your dog may have more than one skin tag which may need to be removed. If this were the case, the costs would lessen for each removal.
How to confirm the diagnosis
As mentioned, a skin tag can often be confused with something else that could cause potential harm such as a cancerous growth. While many dogs can develop harmless skin tags over their life, a vet will look for certain factors when confirming if it is, indeed, a skin tag. Whenever you see a lump anywhere on your dog’s body, your vet will always want you to take note of the appearance, size, location and even take a picture over time to watch its progress. Aside from monitoring the dog’s progress, you will also be asked to look for any signs such as a change in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea or vomiting to name a few. If any of these signs were noticed, then you will want to contact your vet immediately.
During the evaluation, your vet will often collect a sample of the growth via a fine needle aspirate. This biopsy is often done in order to determine if the growth is either benign or malignant. From there, a vet can hypothesize and determine the best course of action once these results are received. If it is a skin tag and the vet or yourself wants to have it removed, then he or she may use one of the following methods noted below.
The most common methods used
Cauterization – Using a laser-like pen, the vet will burn the skin tag off, allowing it to fall off right away. However, compared to the methods mentioned below, it can be more invasive, often requiring your dog to go under a local anesthesia to avoid feeling the heat radiating from the device.
Cryosurgery – This procedure, considered to be quick and painless, will freeze the skin tag immediately by using liquid nitrogen.
Ligation – Considered as one of the least invasive options, this method simply “ties off” a skin tag. During the procedure, the vet will first locate the skin tag, followed by using a thin piece of string to tie it off. Typically, this will be done with skin tags with a larger base that he or she is able to tightly wrap the string around. By tying it off, this allows the growth to stop receiving the oxygen and blood it needs to thrive. A few days after the procedure, the skin tag will start to shrink, often turning in color before falling off.
Surgery – In some cases, surgery may be required if the vet determines the growth needs to be cut off and if it needs to be sent to a lab for a biopsy report.
Can I remove the skin tag at home?
While it may seem like a great idea to bypass the costly vet visit and attempt to remove it at home, it is never a good idea because, as mentioned, this skin tag could be something else that is much more serious such as a pre-cancerous growth. Even if you were able to witness someone remove it online with ease, it doesn’t mean it will work for you since removing a skin tag can often lead to an infection if not treated properly. What may save you a few hundred dollars could lead to a costly surgery if your dog were to come down with a serious infection or even cancer in a worst-case scenario.
Symptoms of a dog skin tag
Skin tags on a dog, in general, will take some time to grow and become noticeable. Varying in size and appearance, they may cause distress if they were to grow too large. Popular symptoms dog owners often notice includes a wart-like appearance, growths with hair follicles, a stalk-like growth or a flattened-like growth.
What exactly is causing these skin tags?
Collar – A tight collar can often irritate the skin, breaking open the skin and often causing extreme damage.
Environment – Pesticides, chemicals or anything your dog can come in contact around your home can often form tags on the skin.
Food – Like humans, a poor diet can lead to multiple skin malformations, with skin tags being one of them. If your dog doesn’t receive the proper nutrition, it can lead to a weakened immune system, which can eventually lead to rashes, cracks in the skin and skin tags.
Genetics – With some dog breeds, a skin tag can be inherited and if it’s already in your dog’s breed line, then there’s no much you can do but monitor the situation.
Hygiene – All dogs need to be bathed on a routine basis to get rid of any irritants or dirt they may attract, but in some cases, owners often bathe too much, which can strip away the dog’s natural oils, causing the dog’s skin to dry out and/or chafe.
Parasites – There is a mile-long list of parasites that would love to attach to your dog. Fleas, ticks, mites and lice, all of which you have probably heard of, are just a few of the many that can infest your dog’s skin. These unwanted pets can cause itching, which, if not taken care of, can damage your dog’s skin while attempting to scratch them away. This damaged skin can, in turn, become inflamed, infected or tags can develop after being treated.
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