Warts in dogs, also known as canine viral papillomas or canine viral papillomatosis, is a relatively common occurrence in young pups. The immune system of a dog will often clear the warts up as the puppy’s immune system strengthens with age. However, this is not always the case, some dog warts will stick around for longer than they should and some cases are more serious than others.
There are several instances in which warts may need to be removed, such as when they have been on the dog’s body for more than a couple of months, or if the warts become infected or irritated.
When your dog has an especially large number of warts, and/or if a dog has warts that are located in places that negatively impact the dog’s day-to-day life, such as in the dog’s mouth, or on their feet, or anywhere that interferes with any of the activities that a dog does throughout the course of a day, such as walking, eating, drinking, playing, sleeping, or going potty, warts may also need to be removed.
How to Remove a Wart on a Dog
All Available At-Home Treatments
Apple Cider Vinegar
This treatment option includes several steps, listed directly below. Note: This process will be pain-free initially, but as the ACV deteriorate the wart, over a period of time, the dog might experience mild tingling and stinging sensations from the acid working to eliminate the growth. Therefore, apple cider vinegar should never be used on warts near a dog’s eyes or genitals.
1. Pour a little bit of apple cider vinegar into a clean cup.
2. Rub petroleum jelly onto the surface of all of the skin that surround the warts being treated in order to protect the dogs unaffected areas.
3. Get the dog to sit or lay down in a position that results in the warts facing upward, then use a sterilized eyedropper to drop two to three drops of ACV on the top of each wart. Let the ACV sit on the wart to be absorbed, and use a clean paper towel to wipe off any excess that runs off of the affected area.
4. Keep the dog still by entertaining them with a fun toy, treat, or petting for 10 minutes, to allow the ACV to fully soak into the warts; the dog can then return to their usual activities.
5. Repeat this process of applying ACV to a dog’s warts three to four times each day.
6. The top of the wart might fall off first, which can cause the ACV to sting the dog a bit, but it is important to continue applying the ACV three to four times a day until the root of the warts have been reached by the treatment, which will cause the entirety of the affected tissue to dry up and fall out of the dog’s skin, root and all.
7. But first, as the root of the wart dries out, a blister or red spot will form on the dog’s skin where the wart root is. Dog owners must use a clean washcloth and clean, warm water to carefully clean the affected areas, and then apply coconut oil to each blister or red spot, once a day until they have healed. The coconut oil has natural anti-fungal compounds that work to heal and regenerate skin cells.
This is a supplement for dogs that is comprised of medicinal mushrooms, which have beta-glucans in them that are known to have antitumor and anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, this supplement can help to promote a dog’s immune system strength, resulting in the dog’s immune system being better able to fight-of the virus that is causing their warts.
This vegetable oil, that can commonly be found at many drug and grocery stores, can be applied topically to a dog’s warts using sterilized fingers or cotton swabs, one time per day, every one to two days, until the warts begin to disappear. Administering this treatment directly to a dog’s warts will soften the warts, which significantly decreases the irritation and itchiness caused by the warts, helping to prevent the dog from scratching and digging at the warts and breaking them open, which would make them worse and slow-down or prevent the healing process.
This is an antioxidant supplement that can be given to a dog to help boost their immune system, allowing it to be better able to fight of the papillomavirus that is causing the warts.
Immune System Boost
Warts in dogs can appear due to a compromised or weakened immune system. Therefore, a dog’s warts may go away if their immune system can be improved by way of administering vitamins and other forms of immunity-boosting supplements to the dog. One supplement that can be given to dogs for this purpose is appropriately named “Immunosupport,”and is made using arabinogalactans, lutein, and shitake mushrooms, all of which are immunity-boosting ingredients.
This treatment comes in the form of a 500 mg pill that must be given to a dog that has warts twice each day, until the warts have disappeared.
This supplement that is made using psorinum and sulfur, as well as thuja (which is a treatment that is discussed in greater detail directly below). All three ingredients in this supplement are anti-viral and can help a dog’s immune system to fight off warts.
This homeopathic treatment that comes from a tree is considered to be safe for most dogs. It is given to a dog orally, once each day for one week. Thuja is available in liquid and pellet form. In pellet form, a dog must be given six to ten pellets, and they must sit in the dog’s mouth (not be immediately swallowed) in order to be absorbed through the mucus membranes, 20 minutes before a meal.
Dog owners only need to give this treatment to their dogs for one week, then wait two weeks to see if it starts to clear-up the dog’s warts, and if it has not, a second dose can be administered. Note: do not give this treatment to dogs who are or could be pregnant as it can result in a loss of the pregnancy.
For this treatment method, simply use a sterile knife or needle to pierce a small hole in any regular vitamin E capsule, and apply the contents internal of the vitamin E capsule directly to the dog’s warts using sterilized fingers or a cotton swab. This procedure should be done three to four times a day, spaced out throughout the day, for two to three weeks or until the dog’s warts are cleared-up.
Other Dog Wart Treatments
(Administered by a Vet)
Specifically an antibiotic named azithromycin was shown to be an effective treatment for canine warts in a scientific research study, when given to dogs once a day, for up to 10 to 15 consecutive days.
This is an antacid medication that can be given to dog’s orally, and is believed to have a positive impact on a dog’s immune system, encouraging it to better fight off the papillomavirus.
Crushing the Warts
Also known as autogenous vaccination, crushing a few of a dog’s warts can work to clear up the strain of papillomavirus that the dog has by releasing particles of the virus into the dog’s system, triggering their immune system to respond and fight off the virus.
This method utilizes a special tool that produces extremely cold temperatures to freeze the wart(s) off of a dog, by destroying the affected tissue, causing the warts to shrink drastically, and usually will result in the warts disappearing, all-together. This surgery is performed while a dog is under local anesthesia, so you don’t have to worry about your dog going all the way under.
With this method of wart removal, also called electrosurgery, a licensed veterinarian uses a tool that produces a small and concentrated amount of electricity that when applied to the wart will burn off the contaminated tissue, effectively removing the warts from the dog’s skin. This surgery is also performed while a dog is under local anesthesia, so you don’t have to worry about your dog going all the way under.
This is the oldest, longest-used form of treatment for dog warts in the books, in which a veterinarian performs surgery to entirely cut off all of the infected tissue of each wart, using a medical scalpel to physically remove all of a dog’s warts. However, the surgical excision of warts does require a dog to be put all the way under using general anesthesia, which is more risky and costly.
This is an antiviral and antitumor treatment that can be administered to a dog’s warts topically has been shown to speed-up the rate of wart suppression in some strains of the canine papillomavirus.
This is another medication that can be given to dog’s either orally or via an injection, in order to stimulate their immune system.
This medication is made using a chemical-compound that is procured from white blood cells, and is commonly used for more severe cases of warts and/or warts that do not respond to other treatments, a veterinarian will commonly inject this drug into a dog multiple times a week, for up to 8 weeks, or might teach a dog’s owner how to administer the injection to their dog on their own, at home.
This drug is helpful in that it can prevent your dog from having to have surgery for severe cases of warts, but can cause negative side effects in dogs, such as a fever and loss of appetite.
This option is usually used if a dog has difficult to treat warts that do not respond to other treatment options.
Because this option removes warts at their roots, laser ablation is commonly the most effective form of treatment for completely removing difficult to treat warts, and to keep them from returning by removing every single part of the wart, from its roots, up. However, this treatment also requires a dog to be knocked all the way out using general anesthesia, making this a more risky and costly option, as well.
If your dog is taking any immunosuppressing medications, discontinue or reduce use of these drugs in dogs suffering from warts in order to allow the dog’s immune system to be better able to fight off the infection.
Common Questions About Dog Warts
What are dog warts?
Dog warts, also called papillomas, are warts that develop on different areas of a dog’s body, in varying shapes, sizes, and numbers, due to the dog becoming infected with any one of the various strains of canine papillomavirus, also called canine viral papillomatosis.
What causes dog warts?
Contracting a papillomavirus infection is what causes warts in dogs. Dogs contract the papillomavirus from other dogs who have it, via an opening, break, or weakness in their skin.
The papillomavirus is quite strong and can survive in even less than optimal environments for extended periods of time (up to multiple weeks), making it possible for dogs to pick up the papillomavirus in a wide variety of locations that dogs frequent, even weeks after the virus was left behind by an infected dog.
Are there different types of dog warts?
Yes. Different types of canine papillomavirus, that cause different types of warts in dogs, have been discovered. Each different kind of papillomavirus present itself in a different way, causing a distinct form of the disease, and varying ways in which the canine warts look.
The warts will also develop on different areas of the dog’s body depending on which specific canine papillomavirus the dog has contracted. For instance, the most common types of dog warts will only affect a dog’s mouth, whereas different strains will only affect a dog’s feet (known as Digital Papillomas), so on and so forth, based upon which virus the dog has.
Dog warts look like the head of a cauliflower, in general. But some versions of dog warts that are less common can be inverted warts that are commonly comprised of a firm lump with an inverted dot in the middle (called Cutaneous Inverted Papillomas and/or Endophytic Warts), while some other rare types of dog warts can present as dark, scaly plaques of skin that have an irregular surface (called Papillomavirus Pigmented Plaques).
How do you know if a dog has a papillomavirus?
Unfortunately, a dog owner won’t know that their dog has contracted a papillomavirus for a month or two after they contracted it because that is how long it takes for the only visible signs of this condition, which are warts, to appear.
Some dogs will only have a few warts and some dogs with the same strain of papillomavirus will have entire portions of their body covered in dense warts; each dog is impacted differently, likely based upon the strength of their immune system at the time in which they contract the virus.
Any dog can get become infected with canine papillomavirus. However it is more commonly seen in young pups whose immune systems are still developing, and in older dogs with compromised immune systems and/or in dogs suffering from illness that suppresses their immune system, making them more susceptible to contracting the papillomavirus.
Can dog warts be spread to humans?
No. Dog warts are not contagious from dogs to humans, and therefore a dog’s warts cannot be spread to a human.
Can dog warts be spread to other dogs?
Yes. Dog warts are highly contagious between dogs, and a dog’s warts can quite easily be spread to other dogs.
Dog warts cannot be transmitted to any other animals, it can only be spread by a dog to another dog. Once a dog has contracted a specific strain of the canine papillomavirus, the dog becomes immune to contracting that particular type of dog warts again, but is not immune to any of the other, different strains of the canine papillomavirus.
What are the best ways to prevent dog warts from spreading?
- If you see that a dog has warts anywhere on their body, do not let your dog play with that dog or use any toys, equipment, or bowls that the dog who has warts has used.
- If your dog’s skin is damaged or compromised in any way, whether it be a minor scratch or deep abrasion, it is best to keep your dog away from any areas that other dogs visit or play, such as dog parks, doggy daycare, groomers, boarders, pet stores, etc., in order to best prevent any kind of papillomavirus from entering the dog’s system through their weakened skin.
- If your dog has warts or any kind, on any area of their body, keep the dog away from other dogs and away from all areas that other dogs visit and play until all the warts have fully cleared up on their own or have been treated and cleared up by you and/or your veterinarian.
- Feed your dog a natural, well-balanced, high-quality diet (homemade, human grade foods are best), if needed add additional supplements and immune boosters in order to always ensure that your dog is in optimal health which will in-turn, cause their immune system to be strong enough to fight off most viruses, including canine papillomavirus, on its own.
- Never over-vaccinate your dog. Too many vaccinations will compromise a dog’s immune system, making it much more difficult for the dog to fight of viruses, such as those that cause warts. Talk to a holistic veterinarian to learn more about this topic and what you can do to prevent over-vaccination.
In conclusion, because the visible warts that are caused by canine papillomavirus commonly take a month or two to show up after the dog has been infected with the virus, this allows much opportunity for a dog who has a papillomavirus to spread the virus around to many locations from which other dogs could pick the virus up, long before their owners even know the dog has a papillomavirus.
The best way to prevent a dog from contracting this disorder is to always keep your dog in tip-top shape, observe other dogs for any signs of warts, and practice great hygiene and health-habits with your dog while in your home, yard, and anywhere that you and your dog may roam.
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