Finding lumps on dogs can be scary for devoted dog owners.
Which lumps on dogs are dangerous? What do you do? But growths and lumps on dogs are often nothing to be concerned about, or very easy to treat. Yorkshire Terriers, however, are more prone to some growths because of the nature of their fur and skin glands. So let’s start by talking about the kinds of lumps your dog might have.
First of all, there are lumps on dogs that are not malignant
These are benign growths that don’t spread to other areas of the body. Benign lumps on dogs are not life threatening. One type of benign growth is a fatty deposit. Fatty deposits are very soft lumps under the skin. Usually found in older or obese dogs, they grow slowly and aren’t concerning until they hinder a dog’s mobility.
Another category of benign growth on dogs is sebaceous cysts. These occur when your dog’s sebaceous gland becomes clogged. Most of these aren’t an issue whatsoever unless they become habitually infected.
Abscesses are lumps on your dog that grow due to an infection under the skin. They are pus-filled and need to be drained by a vet.
Fatty deposits, abscesses and sebaceous cysts are the most common issues you will face as a Yorkie owner. This article, however, does a great job outlining some of the other less-common lumps on dogs, if you are interested.
Malignant lumps are more concerning as these are cancerous lumps that spread throughout the body.
A good rule of thumb is when you see a new lump appear, just get a vet to take a look at it. If you’re not due for a check-up for a while, book an appointment just to be sure. Many malignant lumps can be removed surgically and are easily treated. If they are left, however, they can spread and lead to more difficult treatments or even death for your dog.
The vast majority of lumps on dogs, however, are benign. Many benign lumps are easily treated or prevented by owners.
If your dog has a fatty deposit, there is not much that needs to be done unless the fatty deposit is caused by obesity.
Switching your dog to a healthier, weight-loss focused diet can help reduce fatty deposit size and can prevent future ones from developing. If your Yorkie is obese, benign fatty deposit can be a sign it’s time to clean up the diet. Here’s a post on some of the healthiest people foods you can give your dog instead of fatty snacks!
Abscesses beneath the skin must be drained by a veterinarian, and this should not be attempted at home.
Abscesses are infections, and you do not want to spread that infection to another area of your dog or cause a repeat infection. If your dog has a visible skin abscess (one you can see easily and is on the skin, not under the skin), there are some things you can do at home with the consultation of your vet, but it can only be treated at home under sterile conditions and it requires intense supervision for the next few days. You will also still need a prescription for antibiotics for your dog from a vet. For more information on treating abscesses in dogs at home, you can check out this article.
Sebaceous cysts are one of the more common issues Yorkie owners have with lumps on their dogs.
And the majority of the time, you don’t have to do anything about them. They just kind of hang out on your dog’s back until they burst and drain of the oily, bloody liquid inside. Surgery to remove them is really only necessary if it’s on a really inconvenient location or if it continues to return and gets infected. Unlike abscesses, sebaceous cysts aren’t painful for your dog and aren’t infections–they’re just clogged pores. There are some home remedies available, but many seem to be more old wives’ tales than anything else.
But no matter what, if you are treating a cyst at home, never squeeze or pop the cyst. Wait for it to burst on its own. It may look weird on your dog and you might not like the little bumps on his back, but do not squeeze it! It’s unlikely to get rid of the cyst entirely and you might actually cause it to get infected instead.
When it does burst on its own, however, apply a warm compress. Use a sterile material (like gauze) with water as warm as your dog will stand comfortably. Allow the cyst to drain naturally this way, re-warming the cloth when necessary, and then pat the area dry. Do not rub–this can agitate the skin and cause it to not heal as well and may scab over. Trim any fur that is growing around the lump. This will allow for good air-flow to the area. Repeat the warm compress three times a day for the next few days. If the cyst is recurring, see a vet.
With cysts, like most things prevention is key.
By keeping your Yorkshire Terrier’s coat nice and groomed by bathing him an appropriate amount and being in the habit of regular brushing, you help keep the oils on his fur distributed evenly and break up any buildup that may be creating those clogged glands. A good grooming routine is important for Yorkies anyway, so this is just another reason why brushing your Yorkie should be a part of your dog care routine.
The majority of growths and lumps on dogs do not need to be a source of stress or concern.
Simply keep up with your vet visits, give your dog a healthy diet, get in the habit of regular brushing, and you can relax knowing you’re doing what you can.