Dog Warts: What Causes and How to Get Rid of Warts?

Last Updated on February 7, 2022 Ashley Camelia

Dog warts

Don’t be alarmed if you notice warts on your puppy or dog. While it can be unsettling to discover these unsightly growths, they are quite common, harmless, and easy to treat.

They are most common on puppies and dogs under two years old but can be spread from other dogs or an object contaminated with the virus. So a dog of any age can get dog unsightly warts.

Even though they don’t cause any pain or discomfort for your pet, you might like to get rid of those ugly dog warts. Let’s find out how to get rid of dog warts and find out all the interesting facts. Welcome to the world of dog warts.


What Do Warts Look Like And Where Do They Appear?

Usually, warts appear on the face, especially around the mouth, nose, and eyes. They also can be inside your dog’s mouth. They are usually around half an inch in diameter or smaller. They are pink or red in appearance and look similar to cauliflower heads in structure.

If you see one wart, there is likely to be more. They can spread quite quickly. Examine your dog’s entire body to check for signs of more warts including between the toes. You might want to measure some of warts and monitor the rate of growth or document the number of warts to see if they are spreading.

It can take around one to two months for warts to appear after the virus is picked up. So your dog can be exposed to the virus but show no signs of it until several months later. For that reason, it’s almost impossible to be sure how your dog contracted the virus.

The following picture show what the wart on a dog looks like:

wart on dog

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What To Do If Your Dog Has Warts?

If this is the first time your pet dog has warts or your first experience with them as a dog owner you might feel best to visit the veterinarian. The vet will confirm the growths are warts, check your dog to identify all warts and prescribe medication to remove them.

Your vet will prescribe the right puppy wart treatment for your fur baby.

You can book a follow-up appointment to make sure all the warts are gone for complete peace of mind. If you prefer you can use home remedies which we will talk about later in this article. 


How Do Dogs Get Warts?

Dog warts are a skin infection caused by a virus. The medical term is Canine Papilloma Virus (CPV). The tumors are benign and not serious. Here are how the dogs get warts:

  • If your dog has a cut and is in contact with another dog with the virus it can be transferred.
  • If your dog has a weak immune system it is prone to catching warts from another dog.
  • It can also be transferred from contact with surfaces that the virus has been exposed to.

For example, if dogs share bedding and one dog has the virus, it can be transferred to the other dog. It can also be transferred when dogs share food and water bowls or use common areas. The virus can remain active for some time outside of a host.

If you are concerned about your healthy dog catching the virus you might want to avoid places where your dog is socializing with other dogs. Places like dog parks, dog shows, and boarding kennels are potentially where your dog could mix with another dog that has the virus which it could pass onto its furry friend.

Puppies and young dogs’ immune systems are still developing so that is why they are especially prone to catching Canine Papilloma Virus–1 (CPV–1). Old or sick dogs with weak immune systems are also susceptible to the wart virus.

Since the virus doesn’t show up for several months after exposure you won’t know 100% how your dog picked up the virus. Just a lick from another dog on the street could be enough for the wart virus to be passed on.


Are Warts Dangerous?

Warts aren’t usually dangerous unless they get infected. Then like any infection, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and grow into a worse problem. In that case, it is best to seek advice from your professional veterinarian.

Since they are commonly forming around the mouth and eyes they can cause issues such as discomfort eating or blocking vision partially. These issues are more of an annoyance or hindrance to your dog than a health problem. Still, it is better to look at removing them.

Sometimes warts can get caught or rub against something. For example, your dog’s collar or sunglasses could irritate a wart and cause it to become infected or itchy.

Since they are contagious it is best to deal with them so they are not passed to your other pet dogs or neighbor’s pet dogs. Use a suitable pet fence if needed. Your dog can pass the virus to another dog but not to other animals or humans.

It is rare but sometimes warts can be cancerous. In that case, they are usually fast-growing, inflamed, and black. If you notice any of these signs seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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How to Get Rid of Warts?

Warts can be banished by the following dog wart removal methods.

  • Patience and they will go away naturally
  • Medication purchased online or from a pet supplier or prescribed by your vet
  • Natural remedies
  • Surgery (by cutting, burning, freezing, or lasering the wart off)

Since warts often will go away naturally, when medication is applied they can disappear without too much effort.

Vet prescribed medications generally work faster than natural remedies. But most dog owners prefer natural remedies that don’t have chemicals and are less likely to cause side effects. So dog owners need to weigh up if they value a fast treatment or a natural treatment more. You also can check out the natural painless dog warts removal like Good Karma wart remover

Veterinarians often use azithromycin which is an antibiotic. It can only be prescribed and is given orally once a day for 10 days. It is generally effective and is also used on humans. Your vet may also recommend other dog wart medicine based on your dog’s medical history including injections or wart cream for dogs.

Surgery is a last resort and not so common. The vet might recommend surgery if your dog isn’t responding to any other treatments or if the warts are causing your dog a lot of pain and discomfort. It is the most painful and expensive option so usually is one of the last options the vet will recommend. Sometimes dogs will lick the other medication off warts making it ineffective so surgery becomes the only way to remove them.

If you are considering surgery you may want to wait and see if warts disappear naturally. Also if your dog doesn’t come in contact with other dogs you might prefer to let warts remain, rather than going through with the surgery.

If you do opt for surgery you will need to keep the wound clean and dry and stop your dog from rubbing, licking, biting, or itching it post-surgery. If your dog shows any signs of swelling or bleeding you should return to your veterinarian.


Natural Remedies For Warts

On the market, you can buy homeopathic natural remedies for dog warts. Essential oils can be used to treat the problem and also offer soothing scents to relax your dog. All of the suggestions below for natural remedies for dog warts are affordable and easy to source.

  • Vitamin E is a great remedy for dog warts and also for healing cuts and scrapes. It is one of the best dog warts treatment options. Just apply some to the wart 3-4 times a day for a fortnight and you should see that pesky wart disappear.
  • Castor Oil is easily sourced at supermarkets and pharmacies and has a range of uses including wart removal. It also guards against infection so has a double use. After applying the oil for many days you should start to notice the wart shrinking. It is a popular and natural dog wart remover.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is a popular natural remedy that is used widely for so many health issues. For dogs warts, it seems to banish the virus and provide a speedy cure. It is not recommended for use around the eyes or genital area. When the wart grows small at the later stages of treatment the apple cider vinegar may give your dog a burning sensation. Applying a little Vaseline will ease the discomfort. Many dog owners claim this is the best wart remover for dogs.

You can find all of these natural remedies online, at your supermarket or pet supplier, or in some cases from your local veterinarian. You may even already have some of them in your cupboard at home.

Be calm and gentle when applying natural remedies. Choose a quiet place and talk to your dog in a soft and reassuring voice. After a few applications, your dog will realize nothing painful or invasive is going to happen and it should be easy to apply the remedy.

Do Warts Come Back?

Once a dog has contracted canine papillomavirus it is immune. But there are different strains so it can seem to reoccur but will be a different strain of the virus.

Do not use the human wart remover method on dogs as it’s not designed for pet use.

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Sebaceous Gland Adenoma

It is very easy to confuse Sebaceous Gland Adenoma with Canine Papillomavirus because they look similar. They are not warts, but tumors of the oil glands. The differences are:

  • Sebaceous Gland Adenoma appears all over the body rather than just on the face
  • They occur in masses in a larger cluster
  • Older dogs around five years and up tend to get Sebaceous Gland Adenoma
  • They are not as rough as CPV-1 warts

Other growths that may look like dog warts are skin tags, mast cell tumors, histiocytomas, hair follicle tumors, collagenous nevi, and fibromas. Always consult with your vet if you are unsure what you are dealing with. If you suspect a growth might be cancerous it’s better to be safe than sorry and see your professional vet who can assess and diagnose your dog’s health problems.

Your vet will take a skin sample and have it analyzed to confirm what the growth is. If the results are not conclusive a biopsy may be needed.


Other Types of Papillomas

  1. Cutaneous Inverted Papillomas (also knowns as Endophytic warts)

These are caused by the CPV-2 papillomavirus and other papilloma viruses. They can appear as single nodules on the stomach or can look like a lumpy rash.

  1. Papillomavirus Pigmented Plaques

These are caused by several of the Chi canine papilloma viruses and usually, Pugs and Miniature Schnauzers are affected. Dark, scaly warts of varying sizes appear on the belly. They can become malignant.

  1. Digital Papillomas

These are caused by the CPV-2 papilloma virus as well as other papilloma viruses and appear on the feet. They are usually painful and can become malignant.

Dog warts don’t look attractive and can cause some discomfort. Also socially you might not be welcome at the pet playground if your dog has warts. So getting them removed, although not essential, is advised if they don’t disappear naturally.



Dog warts appear to be serious if you don’t know what the cause of it is! But if you know the various methods how to get rid of it, then it’s not dangerous. You can try the natural remedies before trying the other methods like surgery. After all, prevention is better than cure!