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What are Fatty Lumps and Lipomas in Dogs?

Written by Ella White


Black and white spaniel chilling on the grass

Discovering a lump on your beloved pet can spark a moment of alarm for any dog owner. Often, these lumps are fatty tumors known as lipomas, which are generally benign and not cause for immediate concern. However, understanding what they are, what causes them, and how to manage them is crucial for the well-being of your furry friend. 

In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of fatty lumps and lipomas in dogs, so that you're equipped with the knowledge to support your pet's health.

What Causes Lipomas in Dogs

Lipomas are soft, fatty growths that form just under the skin, mainly composed of mature fat cells. They're the most common benign tumors in dogs and can appear anywhere on the body, although they're most frequently found on the torso and limbs. The exact cause of lipomas is not well understood, but certain factors seem to increase the risk.

  • Age: Older dogs are more likely to develop lipomas.
  • Weight: Overweight and obese dogs have a higher incidence of lipomas, indicating that body fat may play a role.
  • Genetics: Some breeds, like spaniels, are more predisposed to lipomas.

How to Shrink a Dog Lipoma Naturally

While surgical removal is a common treatment for troublesome lipomas, many pet owners prefer non-invasive approaches. Especially because most of these tumors are benign and don't affect the dog's quality of life. 

There are a few natural strategies that some believe may help manage the size of a lipoma. However, it's important to note that there's limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of these natural remedies. Always speak with your vet for guidance tailored to your dog's specific situation.

Dietary Adjustments

Feeding your dog a balanced, high-quality diet can help manage their weight and potentially reduce the size of fatty tumors. Some experts suggest that a diet high in lean proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats might discourage lipoma growth. 

Regular Exercise

Keeping your dog active helps maintain a healthy weight, which could indirectly affect the development and size of lipomas.


Certain supplements/supplements, like omega-3 fatty acids, are thought to support skin and coat health and may contribute to the overall well-being of your dog, possibly impacting lipoma size. Always consult your vet before adding supplements to your dog's diet.

How to Prevent Lipomas in Dogs

While there's no guaranteed way to prevent lipomas, there are steps you can take to potentially reduce your dog's risk of developing these fatty tumors. Preventive measures focus on promoting overall health and well-being in your dog, which can contribute to a lower risk of various conditions, including lipomas.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Because obesity is a significant risk factor, keeping your dog at a healthy weight through diet and exercise is crucial.

Balanced Diet

Ensure your dog's diet is nutritious, well-balanced, and appropriate for their age, breed, and activity level. This is an important aspect of dog ownership, even if your pet is not at risk of fatty lumps.

Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Routine vet visits can help catch and monitor any changes in your dog's health, including the early detection of lipomas. 

When to See a Vet About Lipomas

If you find a lump on your dog, it's essential to have it checked by a veterinarian. While lipomas are typically benign, only a professional can determine the nature of a lump. They will do this through examinations and possibly diagnostic tests like a biopsy. Your vet can provide advice on the best course of action, whether it's monitoring the lump, conducting further tests, or considering removal.

Signs that a lump needs immediate attention include:

  • Rapid growth
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Changes in color or texture
  • Interference with movement or bodily functions

The Bottom Line

Fatty lumps and lipomas in dogs are common, especially as they get older. While the sight of a lump can be worrying, understanding that lipomas are generally benign and manageable can offer owners some peace of mind. 

Emphasizing preventive care, such as maintaining a healthy weight and regular veterinary check-ups, is key to your dog's overall health. If you notice any lumps or changes in your dog's health, checking in with your vet is always the best course of action. By staying informed and proactive, you can make sure that your furry friend enjoys a happy, healthy life.