Nom Nom logo

Learn : Pet Health Conditions

Shrinking Canine Lipomas

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Email icon

dog

Lipomas— or fatty tumors — are those soft moveable lumps we sometimes discover under the skin of our pups.

These benign, non-cancerous growths appear on dogs of all shapes and sizes, especially as they age. The good news is, most of the time they’re painless and don’t pose any health issues

Though occasionally, lipomas can grow to be large and uncomfortable for your dog, or develop in an area that makes movement difficult — like an armpit or joint. Surgery, injections, and other medical treatments do exist to remove discomforting lipomas. But some pet owners are left wondering...  

Can I help shrink my dog’s lipomas naturally?

Holistic and complementary therapies for treating and shrinking dog lipomas are beginning to see the light of day in the world of pet health. And while many don’t carry strong scientific support, they're generally safe to explore. 

Diet & Exercise

In the case of lipomas, a healthier diet, alongside exercise, may be one of the keys to preventing their development in the first place. Dog’s with a little extra meat on their bones (aka overweight) have been found to be more likely to develop these fatty tumors.  Carefully-portioned meals are a great strategy to prevent unintended weight gain.

Several nutrients have also been anecdotally suggested to prevent lipomas including vitamin C, vitamin B-12, chromium and L-carnitine, and are sometimes recommended as nutritional supplements in addition to a balanced diet but scientific study is needed. Not to mention, eating a clean, fresh diet free of preservatives certainly never hurts with maintaining overall health.

Conscious Consumption

Household cleaners, pesticides and other chemicals can introduce your dog to potentially harmful environmental toxins. Buying cleaners with safer ingredients and keeping your dog off the freshly sprayed grass is just another way to control your pup's exposure to harmful chemicals that some suspect could contribute to lipoma growth. 

Likewise, be conscious of toxic synthetics in plastic food bowls or other pet accessories. Lipoma-preventing or not, it’s simply good practice for your pet’s health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil, a potent source of omega-3s, has got a lot of scientifically proven benefits for dogs. It may be helpful in preventing and shrinking lipomas through several modes of action. 

Omega-3s may help reduce inflammation and obesity, keep the joints well lubricated and the skin and coat lustrous. Emerging evidence even shows that fish oil may slow tumor growth and possibly even shrink lipomas —  but the evidence there is still pretty anecdotal.

Natural Remedies 

Natural and herbal remedies lack strong scientific justification, but there are purported success stories. Claims made about these alternative treatments include slowing lipoma growth, shrinking lipoma size, and preventing lipomas altogether. 

Herbs and plants asserted to hold medicinal properties, naturally support the immune system and help treat lipomas include:

Turmeric

Grape Seed Extract

Chamomile and Dandelion root

Thuja tree

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Violet 

Garlic

Milk Thistle

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Olive Extract

Blue-Green Algae and Phytoplankton

Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)

Many of these natural plants and herbs contain bioactive ingredients and phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and health protecting properties, which may just explain why they’re praised in support of lipoma treatment. 

Use caution however especially in regards to dose and source — we’d recommend you consult your veterinarian with all of the above. 

Acupressure & Blood Flow

Many licensed veterinarians practice acupuncture and acupressure to treat a variety of ailments. While lipomas aren’t exactly on the list of treated medical conditions, acupressure is thought to promote healing and some resources exist showing acupoints to encourage mass and lipoma reduction. There aren’t any published studies showing a benefit, and the traditional veterinary community views such interventions with skepticism.  Acupressure, massage and plain old exercise may also just be helping to improve circulation and reduce stress regardless of whether they truly have any effect on lipomas. 

One Last Consideration

It’s important to remember that many of the complementary treatments discussed in this article aren’t informed by evidence, but rather anecdotes. 

That doesn’t mean they’re not worth a shot — especially if lipomas frequent your pup's body. Even if you decide to try one of these more holistic treatments, your vet can still serve as a valuable resource, so keep them in the loop. And surgical removal is perhaps the only sure-fire way to remove a bothersome lipoma, and is typically very well tolerated by dogs.

Related articles