How Much Does a Dog Skin Tag Removal Cost?

Written by: Staff

Skin tags, known as acrochordons in the medical world, on a dog, while most are considered harmless, may need to be removed in some circumstances.

If you ever feel what you think is a skin tag, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action as all will be treated differently, especially if what you thought was a skin tag was really something else.

Scratching by ☺ Lee J Haywood, on Flickr
Scratching” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ☺ Lee J Haywood

Dog skin tag removal cost

The cost to remove a skin tag will greatly depend on a variety of factors, including the method of removal your vet chooses, your geographical location, the vet you use, if anesthesia is needed for the procedure, if a biopsy is required, the exact location of the skin tag and the number of skin tags removed.  In most cases, since a vet will deem most skin tags harmless, he or she will often recommend leaving it as is unless it is irritating your dog, the growth is becoming too large and/or an infection has occurred.

If your vet proceeds to remove a skin tag, then a variety of options, as we discuss later, can be considered.  We broke down the average costs people paid online in our table below:

Type of Procedure PerformedAverage Cost Reported
Surgery$800+ depending on size and anesthesia

NOTE:  Do note additional costs may be a factor as we explain below.

Someone posted their bill from Banfield Pet Hospital stating they were charged $1,000 to have a skin tag removed.

The extra costs to consider

If your vet does want to inspect the growth in depth, then he or she will order a biopsy to confirm their suspicions.  In this case, a biopsy sent to the lab for analysis is often $150 on top of the estimates mentioned above.

In some cases, your dog may have more than one skin tag which may need to be removed.  If this were the case, the costs would lessen for each removal.

How to confirm the diagnosis

As mentioned, a skin tag can often be confused with something else that could cause potential harm such as a cancerous growth.  While many dogs can develop harmless skin tags over their life, a vet will look for certain factors when confirming if it is, indeed, a skin tag.  Whenever you see a lump anywhere on your dog’s body, your vet will always want you to take note of the appearance, size, location and even take a picture over time to watch its progress.  Aside from monitoring the dog’s progress, you will also be asked to look for any signs such as a change in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea or vomiting to name a few.  If any of these signs were noticed, then you will want to contact your vet immediately.

During the evaluation, your vet will often collect a sample of the growth via a fine needle aspirate.  This biopsy is often done in order to determine if the growth is either benign or malignant.  From there, a vet can hypothesize and determine the best course of action once these results are received.  If it is a skin tag and the vet or yourself wants to have it removed, then he or she may use one of the following methods noted below.

The most common methods used

Cauterization – Using a laser-like pen, the vet will burn the skin tag off, allowing it to fall off right away.  However, compared to the methods mentioned below, it can be more invasive, often requiring your dog to go under a local anesthesia to avoid feeling the heat radiating from the device.

Cryosurgery – This procedure, considered to be quick and painless, will freeze the skin tag immediately by using liquid nitrogen.

Ligation – Considered as one of the least invasive options, this method simply “ties off” a skin tag.  During the procedure,  the vet will first locate the skin tag, followed by using a thin piece of string to tie it off.  Typically, this will be done with skin tags with a larger base that he or she is able to tightly wrap the string around.  By tying it off, this allows the growth to stop receiving the oxygen and blood it needs to thrive.  A few days after the procedure, the skin tag will start to shrink, often turning in color before falling off.

Surgery – In some cases, surgery may be required if the vet determines the growth needs to be cut off and if it needs to be sent to a lab for a biopsy report.

Can I remove the skin tag at home?

While it may seem like a great idea to bypass the costly vet visit and attempt to remove it at home, it is never a good idea because, as mentioned, this skin tag could be something else that is much more serious such as a pre-cancerous growth.  Even if you were able to witness someone remove it online with ease, it doesn’t mean it will work for you since removing a skin tag can often lead to an infection if not treated properly.  What may save you a few hundred dollars could lead to a costly surgery if your dog were to come down with a serious infection or even cancer in a worst-case scenario.

Symptoms of a dog skin tag

Skin tags on a dog, in general, will take some time to grow and become noticeable.  Varying in size and appearance, they may cause distress if they were to grow too large.  Popular symptoms dog owners often notice includes a wart-like appearance, growths with hair follicles, a stalk-like growth or a flattened-like growth.

What exactly is causing these skin tags?

Collar – A tight collar can often irritate the skin, breaking open the skin and often causing extreme damage.

Environment – Pesticides, chemicals or anything your dog can come in contact around your home can often form tags on the skin.

Food – Like humans, a poor diet can lead to multiple skin malformations, with skin tags being one of them.  If your dog doesn’t receive the proper nutrition, it can lead to a weakened immune system, which can eventually lead to rashes, cracks in the skin and skin tags.

Genetics – With some dog breeds, a skin tag can be inherited and if it’s already in your dog’s breed line, then there’s no much you can do but monitor the situation.

Hygiene – All dogs need to be bathed on a routine basis to get rid of any irritants or dirt they may attract, but in some cases, owners often bathe too much, which can strip away the dog’s natural oils, causing the dog’s skin to dry out and/or chafe.

Parasites – There is a mile-long list of parasites that would love to attach to your dog.  Fleas, ticks, mites and lice, all of which you have probably heard of, are just a few of the many that can infest your dog’s skin.  These unwanted pets can cause itching, which, if not taken care of, can damage your dog’s skin while attempting to scratch them away.  This damaged skin can, in turn, become inflamed, infected or tags can develop after being treated.

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Average Reported Cost: $0

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

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