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My Dog Has A Lump On His Private Area (14 Possible Causes)

Key Takeaways

  • Lumps on the two sides of a dog’s private area are normal occurrences during erection and should subside soon after.
  • Other types of lumps that may grow on a dog’s private area include allergies and infections of hair follicles, that typically go away without any sort of treatment.
  • If any lump on your dog’s body won’t go away after some time and seems to make your dog uncomfortable, it is best to seek veterinary treatment.

“Help! My dog has a lump on his private area.” I get this question a lot, and the quick answer is this: If it’s a male dog and the lump is on the sides of his penis during an erection, this is normal and would go away after. In other cases, lumps in the private area could range from pyoderma, skin tags, dermatitis, warts, etc.

It’s always surprising to see any kind of change in your dog’s body. When it comes to changes like bumps and lumps, though, that surprise can be quite unwelcome. It scares pet parents even more if those bumps and lumps occur around unusual places like your dog’s private area.

To ease worries, I always remind pet parents that dogs’ bodies do change over time and that there are certain responses to environmental stimuli that can look quite a bit scarier than most dog owners might expect. If you are worried about a lump around your dog’s genital area, let me go over some important information on what those lumps could represent and how you should react to their appearance. 

The Most Common Types of Bumps

The great news about the bumps that tend to center around a dog’s genital region is that the vast majority of them are either totally benign or that they can be treated rather simply. With that said, though, some bumps are potentially cancerous and your dog’s prognosis will largely be determined by how quickly you get him or her to a vet. 

Below are some common types of bumps that you can find near a dog’s genitals. While the information below can help you to identify the bumps, it’s also a good idea to make sure that you get a second opinion from a professional so that your dog can get the help that he or she needs. 


This bacterial infection on the skin is one that tends to center around a dog’s genitals. Generally a result of skin friction, it occurs because the bacteria from any foreign body that cause the condition has a great breeding ground in these areas. If your dog does have this condition, you’ll want to get a good antibiotic from your dog’s vet as soon as you can. 

Skin Tags

Skin tag on dogs can show up just about anywhere on its body. These growths can be found in any breed or with either gender, but they do tend to be more common as your dog gets older. Bigger breeds do tend to get skin tags more often, but there’s really not any reason to worry about a dog of any size who starts developing skin tags. 


Dog scratching.

Dermatitis is generally a condition in a dog that can lead to bumps. This issue, which almost always includes skin inflammation, can occur if your dog has an allergic reaction to something in his or her environment and can be incredibly difficult to identify if you’re not paying attention. 

The best way to identify dermatitis is not by the bumps, but rather by your dog’s actions. If he or she is repeatedly licking near his or her genitals, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about the possibility of this condition. If your dog keeps itching or scratching in that area, or if there is foul odor, the problem can actually get worse. 

The bad news is that dermatitis can get worse over time. If your dog itches too much, he or she can open the skin which will then, in turn, lead to the possibility of an infection. The best thing you can do is to catch the problem early so that your vet can prescribe the right medication for your dog. 


Yes, warts happen to dogs too! If you have a young dog, you can generally feel pretty confident that a wart isn’t something about which you need to worry. With that said, warts can be a sign that something is more significant is going on. If you have an older dog who suddenly develops a wart near his or her genitals, it’s generally a good idea to go see your vet as soon as you can to figure out if it’s there are health issues which you need to start worrying about. 

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Vaccine Reactions

Some dogs will get a small bump near their genitals if they have a reaction to a vaccine. This is typically a very minor issue, though, as the bumps will fade away on their own and the dogs will generally stay in good health. Still, it’s always good to monitor your dog if he or she has any kind of adverse reaction to any sort of treatment. 


If you notice small, red bumps around your dog’s genitals, you might be looking at an infection of her hair follicles. Folliculitis is fairly benign if you can catch it early on, but infected follicles can become filled with pus over time. As such, you’ll want to get some antibiotics from your vet and commit to more regular bathing in order to help out your dog [1]. 

Sebaceous Cysts

Your dog’s sebaceous glands get quite a workout. Just as humans can get acne from blocked sebaceous glands, so too can dog get bumps to form the same problem. It’s very important that you don’t squeeze these bumps, though, as most sebaceous cysts aren’t causing your dog pain and they will go away without your help. The only bad news is that uncleaned glands will tend to get blocked again, which will lead to more bumps. 


These tiny bumps are can be caused by anything from allergies to infections of hair follicles, but they tend to go away without any kind of treatment. The best way to identify this kind of bump is by size—most of them are going to be less than one centimeter in diameter. 


Abscesses can show up near your dog’s genitals if he or she has an untreated wound, has been itching at the area, or simply has an injury that didn’t quite heal. These bumps are actually sacs filled with pus and need to be drained by a professional, but the healing process is usually as simple as applying the right medications to the area and keeping it clean until your dog is fully healed. 


Hives, also known as Urticaria, is a type of rash that can develop on your dog’s skin. Does your dog have a rash on his private area? Usually occurring due to an allergic reaction, hives and rashes can occur if your dog eats the wrong kind of food or runs through the wrong kind of grass. The good news here is that hives do tend to go away on their own, but even those that don’t can generally be treated with a simple antibiotic from your vet. Before administering anything, be sure you know the safe human medicines for dogs.


The bad news about lipomas is that they are unsightly and can be a little bit scary. The good news, though, is that they’re benign and just a regular part of dog aging. Especially common among older dogs and obese dogs, these bumps are simply an issue with which most dog owners will have to learn to live as their dog’s age [2]. 

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Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors are a type of skin cancer that looks like a series of bumps along a dog’s body. Common near a dog’s genitals, this common type of cancer has a reputation for staying benign most of the time and then quickly turning malignant. Certain breeds, including popular breeds like Beagles, are especially prone to this kind of cancer so make sure you know the warning signs. 


Just as melanocytes can become cancerous in humans, so too can they become cancerous in dogs. The good news is that most types of melanomas in dogs are relatively benign and don’t require much treatment. The bad news is that more aggressive melanomas do not have a good treatment prognosis for dogs. 

Transmissible Venereal Tumors

This is a pretty rare cause for a lump in a dog, but it’s something that might actually put your dog in a significant degree of danger. This is in fact a sexually transmitted disease, a type of cancer that can be transmitted from one dog to another. As you might expect, it’s best to take any possibility of this incredibly seriously. 

This type of tumor presents as a series of bumps on a female dog’s genitals. If you notice this series of bumps, you’ll want to get your dog to a vet as soon as you can. Unfortunately, the treatment for this condition is neither easy nor quick, as it does include both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Fortunately, you can prevent future recurrences of this condition by getting your dog spayed. 

What Else Could it Be?

There is one more issue that only concerns female dogs, but it’s one that you really should familiarize yourself with if your dog is not spayed. This condition, known as vaginal hyperplasia, impacts unspayed female dogs and presents as swollen tissue, or round swollen bumps, that protrudes from your dog’s genitals. This will occur if your dog is in heat, so it’s a sight to which you might need to get used. 

Important Things to Know About Bumps and Treatments On Male And Female Dogs

One of the first things pet parents need to keep in mind is that young dogs can, and often do, get pimples. Yes, as weird as it sounds, your dog might be dealing with the same kind of puberty problems as a human. While you might not necessarily think of these problems occurring near your dog’s genitals, the truth is that the presence of a whitehead or blackhead is a tell-tale sign of this type of problem. 

Vet checking a dog.

As an aside, you should definitely never pop a pimple on your dog. Not only will this be incredibly uncomfortable for the poor pooch, but you might cause further skin damage and more inflammation. If you do see a pimple, simply leave it alone to run its natural course. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of swelling. While lumps were discussed above, swelling is a very different animal. If you have a female dog, you are going to see swelling in her genital region about once or twice a year when she goes into heat. If your dog has swelling when she is not in heat, though, you might have cause for a vet visit. 

Again, it’s important to note that this is specifically an issue that concerns female dogs. Male dogs should not have any kind of growths, bumps, or swelling around his genitals, except those during sexual arousal which would immediately go away after the erection. If you do notice such a problem, it’s generally a good idea to get your dog to a vet so that he or she can rule out any of the several significant problems that bumps or swelling might represent. 

What Should You Do Next?

The good news is that the odds of a bump on your dog’s private area being something you really need to worry about are fairly low. With this said, it’s a very good idea to get your dog out to the vet just in case, as the rare problems that could occur can be serious if your dog does not receive the proper treatment. 

If you do take your dog to the vet, make sure you have some pertinent information on hand. You should know where the bump is, when it first appeared, and if the bump has grown or changed in size/shape since you first noticed its appearance. The more you can tell your dog’s vet, the better the chance you’ll have of being able to help him or her to correctly diagnose your dog’s issue. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a cancerous lump look like on a dog?

Cancerous lumps on dogs are raised, often pink or grey, and usually surrounded by swelling or irritation. It’s difficult, though, to determine if a lump is cancerous just by looking at it; after all, there are many other causes of lumps other than cancer that can lead to similar appearances. As such, it’s always a good idea to discuss any lumps that have suddenly appeared with your vet so that you can figure out whether or not you need to be worried about the changes in your dog’s body. 

Are cancer lumps on dogs hard or soft?

Cancerous lumps on dogs tend to be rather firm. This makes them easy to differentiate from a benign lipoma, as the latter type of lump tends to be squishy and easy to move around. With that said, not every hard lump on a dog is going to be cancer, and not every cancer is automatically going to be easy to identify by touch. If you are concerned that your dog might have cancer, it’s a good idea to get him or her to a medical professional as quickly as you can in order to get him or her properly diagnosed.

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