You know how much your pooch loves to be petted, scratched, and tickled. But when you run your hand across your pup’s fur, you find something you’d hoped to never feel – a bump on your dog’s head. Is it serious?
Don’t panic. Bumps on your dog’s skin are often normal, and they are usually benign. But sometimes, they’re a symptom of more serious conditions. Once you know what the bump is, you can take steps to help get rid of it.
Bumps on Dogs Head: What Causes Them?
Many different skin conditions can cause bumps on the skin. Some of these conditions are serious, while others aren’t. If you know what’s impacting your pet, you can take better care of them.
Flea Bite – A flea bite is a tiny, red bump. These bites can get bigger and redder if your dog scratches them. Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva, so itching and irritation are common. The best treatment for this issue is to get rid of the fleas.1
Ticks – Ticks are black, brown, or tan and can be on any part of your dog’s body. You may not see a tick but you will feel them when you run your fingers over your dog’s skin. They feel like a bump or a swollen area.2
Allergic Reaction – Bumpy skin might be a sign your dog is having an allergic reaction. Skin allergies and food allergies both cause bumps on the skin. You may need to change your dog’s diet to deal with allergies and itchy skin.3
Cyst – A cyst is a small bump that has liquid or other material inside of it. Some cysts are harmless, but others are a sign of a serious condition. A veterinary exam can tell you if your dog’s cyst is a cause for concern.4
Bacterial Infection – Two kinds of bacterial infections can cause bumps on your dog’s skin.5 A primary skin infection is an infection that causes bumps. A secondary skin infection is a health issue that makes your dog scratch and create bumps.6
Skin Tags – Skin tags look like loose bunches of skin. Your dog may get skin tags on their head, neck, and belly.7 They are not dangerous, but they might be uncomfortable or get caught on something.
Yeast Infections – Yeast infections can cause itchy skin and bumps, especially on the ears. If your dog takes antibiotics, yeast infections become more likely.8
Tumors – Tumors can be scary, but a benign tumor is harmless. A vet will tell you which kind of tumor your dog has. Based on what your vet says, you can decide on the best course of action.9
A veterinary visit is often necessary to help identify what’s causing the bumps on your dog’s skin. Your vet can also tell you how to treat the bumps. Don’t hesitate. Bumps can often be taken care of without much problem.
Which Breeds are Susceptible to Dog Skin Bumps?
Some dog breeds are more prone to conditions that cause bumps than others. If you have one of these breeds, be prepared to deal with dog skin bumps and irritated skin.
- Boston Terriers, Pugs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Boxers are all likely to develop mast cell tumors. These tumors affect mast cells, which make the chemicals that trigger allergic reactions. Sometimes, mast cell tumors are dangerous, but not always.10
- Cocker Spaniels are more likely than other breeds to develop sebaceous cysts. Sebaceous cysts are clogged oil glands. They usually go away on their own.11
- English Bulldogs, Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Doberman Pinschers often get pimples and clogged pores. Several other breeds are also prone to these problems. Pimples and heavy oil production can cause bumps on your pet’s skin.12
- Standard Poodles, Chinese Shar-Pei, Labrador Retrievers are all likely to get skin infections. This is common in several other breeds, as well. These kinds of skin problems lead to bumps on the skin.13
While these breeds are more prone to bumps, any kind of dog can develop skin issues. Breed is one part of your dog’s health, but you should keep other factors in mind. When you pick a treatment for your dog’s bumps, you want a well-rounded understanding of its causes.
Could These Bumps Be More Serious?
Tumors are a common kind of bump, but not all tumors are a sign of serious disease. Less than half of all dogs’ skin tumors are dangerous.14
A veterinary oncologist can run tests to find out if the bumps are cancerous tumors.15 A common test is fine needle aspiration, where your vet uses a syringe to pull tissue from the bump. After needle aspiration, the vet can test those tissues and find out what’s causing the bump.16
If your dog has a serious condition, surgery may be needed. Treatment works best if it’s done early. So, don’t delay in getting a veterinary oncologist to examine your dog.17
Can a Benign Tumor Hurt a Dog’s Health?
Even if your dog doesn’t have a serious condition, they can still develop tumors. A benign tumor is a tumor that’s not part of a more serious issue. They may not be dangerous, but they could be a sign of a more serious condition.
- An adenoma is one kind of benign tumor. Your dog’s sebaceous glands, which are cells near the hair follicles, are affected. Adenomas are usually harmless.
- An apocrine sweat gland cyst is a kind of benign cyst. It’s a hairless cyst that usually shows up on your dog’s head, neck, or legs. To identify this kind of cyst, your vet will need to run tests. They may remove affected cells.
- Some tumors can develop after insect bites, causing infections. Sometimes these tumors are harmless, but they can become serious. Insects like mites, chiggers, and ticks stick around after they bite. Speak to your vet before you remove them so they don’t cause more serious issues.
Even if the tumor is benign, your vet may decide to remove it. Surgery is usually straightforward and not overly risky. Talk to your vet to decide if this is the best option for your pup.18
Your vet can tell the difference between benign tumors and dangerous tumors. Tumors may sound scary to most dog owners, but some are caused by less scary things.
Bumps on Dogs Head – What to Do Now?
Some effective home remedies can help with bumps on your dog’s skin at home. In some cases, the bumps are serious, and you may need to see a vet. Learn to recognize the signs so you know what to do.
- Apple cider vinegar is a powerful home remedy. It may help ease many of the issues that cause bumpy skin. Apple cider vinegar can soothe dry or infected skin, and it keeps fleas and ticks away.19
- If you find ticks on your dog, it’s important to see a vet to get rid of them. The bumps left behind aren’t harmful. But ticks can spread disease, including Lyme disease. Talk to a vet right away to get your canine or any other tick-infested pet tested.20
- If your dog’s bumps open up, the openings are called lesions. Leaking pus or fluid from lesions or ulcers could mean your dog has a serious condition. Ulcerated skin isn’t always dangerous, but a vet can tell you for sure if a more serious issue caused it.21
Even if you think the bumps on your dog’s head are nothing, let your vet know about them. They can keep an eye on the bumps to make sure they don’t become more serious. Bumps can be early symptoms of a change in dog health.
Navigate This Bumpy Road With Your Dog
Your dog’s skin can be the first warning you get about something more serious going on inside. When it comes to keeping your dog healthy and happy, you need to pay attention to his skin. These bumps might be caused by a serious condition. Or, they may be nothing important.
For more information about your pup’s skin, it may be time for a veterinary consultation. Know your bumps, so you can give your dog the care they deserve.