Dogs that lead social lives are exposed to various viruses,
bacteria’s and parasites more frequently than their counterparts that lounge at home in solitude. This includes
going to the dog parks, dog daycare, boarding facilities, puppy socials, training classes—even the aisles at the local
pet store! Just because Fido lounges at home does not mean he is safe from all illness only that he has a lower probability
What are puppy warts?
Puppy warts (Canine Papilloma Virus) are
typically benign. They can be compared to chicken pox in humans. Generally, once the dog is exposed to the virus
and presents with warts, the dog does not get them again. Don’t worry, you can’t catch puppy warts from
your dog! Commonly the virus is found in dogs less than two years of age because they have a less effective immune system,
but older dogs and dogs that have not been exposed to the virus can still catch it. It is commonly thought that the
dogs must touch noses or “swap spit” to transfer the virus so dogs in a social environment are at a higher risk.
What do the puppy warts look like?
The most common appearance is inside the mouth.
They look like small lumps in between the lips and the gum line (sometimes on the tongue). The lumps look pale pink
raspberries or little pieces of cauliflower heads. The number and size of the warts in the mouth can vary greatly.
The warts themselves are not dangerous and 99% of the time they are non-cancerous. Generally warts disappear within
six weeks. Most veterinarians will not prescribe antibiotics unless the warts have been present for more than six months
and there are a great number of them in the mouth.
What should I do if my dog has them?
Most veterinarians will not prescribe antibiotics unless the warts have been present for more than six months
and there are a great number of them in the mouth. You need to decide the best course of action by talking with your
veterinarian. Occasionally veterinarians recommend surgical removal when the warts are so numerous it prevents the dog
from eating. Even more rarely it is possible to remove a wart and have it crushed and made into a vaccine specific to
What if my dog has warts?
Each pet care facility or daycare will
have a different protocol about whether dogs with obvious infection will be allowed. Since the virus is thought to be
contagious up to two weeks before an actual wart appears it is impossible for your provider to prevent outbreaks. The
virus is not a serious health risk and is considered by most a “puppy illness” and a right of passage that most
pup’s go through before they reach adulthood (much like chicken pox). Some pet care providers will dismiss a dog if
it has an extremely bad case (numerous warts in and outside the mouth) because this indicates a severely compromised immune
Providing knowledgeable, professional care for pets
pet care provider believes that your pet deserves the most attentive, knowledgeable and conscientious care possible and that
your pet care facility should be an ethical, professional business, he or she has joined with other pet care providers across
the country who share that belief through ABKA membership.