Dogs can develop warts on their skin in the same way humans can, and although warts aren't typically a serious problem, they can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. Any breed of dog can develop warts, but young dogs and those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk. Warts can be spread from one dog to another, but you can't become infected with the virus that causes warts in dogs, so there's no need to limit contact with them. However, you will need to keep your dog separate from other dogs until their warts have been treated, so avoid taking them to parks and set up a separate living area in your home if you have other dogs. Here's an overview of the symptoms and treatment options for warts in dogs:
In dogs, warts look like small heads of cauliflower that grow on top of the skin. They can develop in clusters or as a single wart and may grow over time. Warts can grow on any part of the body, but they tend to be most commonly found around the mouth, in folds of skin and on the paws. As they can develop in hard-to-see places, it's worth regularly checking your dog over for warts. Warts that grow around the mouth can make eating uncomfortable or painful, and warts that develop on your dog's feet can make your dog reluctant to walk and can easily become infected if the skin is broken from walking. If left untreated, warts on the feet can cause lameness.
Your vet will make their diagnosis by examining your dog's skin, and they may take a skin cell scraping from a wart to have it analysed for the presence of abnormal cells, as in rare cases warts can mutate into cancerous growths.
The main reasons for treating warts are to prevent your dog from experiencing discomfort and to stop your dog spreading warts to other dogs. If your dog only has a few warts, cryosurgery will be the recommended course of treatment. This involves applying liquid nitrogen to each wart which freezes the wart tissue and cuts off the blood supply to the wart. Without the blood supply, the warts will die and fall off within a few days. Depending on the location of the warts, cryosurgery may leave a small scar. When your dog has numerous warts on different parts of their body, antiviral medication or drugs that stimulate the immune system to heal the warts itself may be necessary.
If you notice a wart anywhere on your dog's body, or if your dog develops any type of growth on their skin, have them examined by your veterinary services provider as soon as possible to rule out more serious conditions and prevent unnecessary suffering.