What are Puppy Warts?

Puppy warts are small bumps between a dog’s lips and gumline, or on its tongue. They are caused by the Canine Papilloma Virus and are typically benign. The warts look like pale pink raspberries or little pieces of cauliflower and can be compared to chicken pox in humans, because once a dog is exposed to the virus and warts develop, the dog usually does not get them again.

Puppy warts are usually seen in dogs under 2 years old because their immune systems are less effective. The virus is transferred by dogs touching noses or through saliva when they share toys. It is virtually impossible to prevent puppy warts, because the virus is contagious up to two weeks before an actual wart appears.

Puppy warts usually go away in about six weeks, and veterinarians typically do not prescribe medication unless the warts remain for six months or longer. Occasionally when the number of warts makes it difficult for a dog to eat, a vet may surgically remove them. Canine Papilloma Virus is not a serious health risk and is often considered a rite of passage that many pups go through before reaching adulthood.