Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fatty Tumors (Lipomas) in Dogs - Benign (Fatty) or Malignant (Mast Cell) – Cause, DIY Holistic Treatments, Remedies

In this Article...
  1. What, How, When and Why Fatty Tumors (Lipoma) forms
  2. DIY Holistic Treatments and Remedies for Fatty Tumors
  3. Signs of a Malignant Mast Cell Growth
PART 1.0 Fatty Tumors - What, How, When and Why

1.1 What is a Fatty Tumor and How Is It Formed…

A fatty tumor is a soft mass under the skin.

Fatty Tumors form when the body is unable to rid itself of toxins via the body’s natural systems for toxin elimination – the intestines, kidney and liver.  When a dog is constantly ingesting toxins the kidney and liver are forced to work overtime to clear out unwanted substances from the body. If the toxic load becomes too much for the kidney and liver to process affectively the toxins end-up remaining where they are not wanted -  in the blood stream, digestive tract, etc. The constant presence of contaminates in the body puts added stress on the endocrine (glands which secret various hormones to regulate metabolism, sleep, mood, etc.) and immune system in addition to the kidney and liver.

The body’s natural reaction – the next line of defence is to engage its largest excretory organ, the skin. The body ‘captures’ the toxins and shifts them out of the way by storing the material in fat deposits just under the surface of the skin.

1.2 Characteristics of a Fatty Tumor (Lipoma, Fatty Lump)

A soft mass under the skin that:

  • Does not cause *hair loss;
  • Does not cause *pain;
  • Does not cause *redness or *irritation of the skin on its own 
  • Is freely movable under the skin;
    • *The only time hair loss, pain or irritation occurs with these masses is, for example:
      • When the mass is located on the body of the dog, and;
      • The mass has increased in size, and;
      • As a result, is rubbing against the dog’s leg;
      • The mass may then cause hair loss or irritation as it rubs against the dog’s leg.

1.3 Fatty Deposits Are a Warning Sign

Fatty deposits are a warning sign – a red flag that tells you that:
  • That the body is under siege from constant ingestion of toxic, unwanted material;
  • The body’s system is out of balance and is not able to eliminate the toxic waste properly;
  • That the  immune system is weak and requires care to improve it's strength;
    • Diet, stress and exercise are huge factors in the health of the immune system;
    • A weak immune system leaves the body vulnerable to illness, infection and health problems..
1.4 How do These Unwanted Materials (Toxins) Get into the
      Dog’s System

There are several typical ways in which toxins enter the dog’s body…ingested, inhaled and absorbed through surface contact...
  • Ingredients in commercially manufactured highly processed dog food - dry dog food, wet dog food, treats – for example;
    • Refined cereal grains;
    • Food colouring;
    • Chemical-based preservatives i.e. ethoxyquin and TBHQ ;
    • Sugar;
    • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) found in corn, soy, canola, safflower, cottonseed oil, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sugar beets, etc.
    • Poor quality protein (dairy, eggs, meat and derivatives) derived from animals that were:
      • Raised on Factory Farms also known as concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFO (or other smaller farming operations that follow the CAFO methods);
      • Where animals are:
        •  Forced to consume GMO corn; 
          • GMO corn is high in pesticide residue;
          • This toxic pesticide residue enters your dog's body when your dog consumes the meat of animals fed GMO corn;
        •  Food is laced with and/or animals are injected with antibiotics, steroids (growth hormones);
  • You can read more about the above items here.
  • Toxins from inoculations,
  •  And chemical-based flea, tick, worm and heartworm preventatives;

Other Contributing Sources of Daily Toxic Loading
How many of the toxins listed above is your dog regularly exposed to? Do a quick analysis and then read on…

Part 2.0 - DIY Holistic Treatments, Remedies

2.1 Conventional Treatments Are Not a Remedy

Conventional practitioners of medicine (human and veterinary care) are oriented towards treating an acquired condition rather than treating the body as a whole entity.  As a result, when a conventional partitioning veterinarian sees a fatty tumor the typical advice provided is:
  • As long as the tumor is a) benign and b) not impeding physical function, just leave the tumor as is;
  • If the fatty tumor is in the way of proper function the following options may be offered;
    • Surgical removal;
    • Liposuction;
    • Salve and/or;
    • Steroid injections.
The fundamental problem with these conventional interventions is that they do not address the root cause of the condition. If the root cause is not addressed the tumors will:
  • Continue to exist and will in many cases grow;
  • If removed will re-grow;
  • May eventually escalate to a malignant mast cell growth.
Many practitioners of conventional veterinary medicine will tell you that there is nothing that you can do to:
  • Reduce the size of the existing fatty tumor;
  • Eliminate the existing fatty tumor.
  • And should you opt for one of those conventional interventions:
    • There is nothing you can do to prevent the reformation of the fatty tumors.
This is incorrect! You CAN reduce and even eliminate fatty tumors permanently.

Failure to take proper action can result in a worsening of your dog’s health and quality of life.

To stop the formation and growth of these tumors you must treat the root cause – toxic loading which may have also progressed to glandular malfunction.

2.2 DIY Holistic Care Approach

Your Dog's Diet

Part One - Review What You Are Currently Feeding Your
                 Dog, Make Changes

Do a thorough review of what you are feeding your dog and remove all items that contain toxins and species inappropriate food stuffs.

Consider completely removing commercially manufactured dog food and treats from your dog’s diet and replace with:
If you want to keep your dog on commercially prepared dog food:
  • Make sure you know how to select a relatively toxic-free product;
  • Unfortunately when it comes to mass-produced commercially manufactured dog food, good and bad becomes a relative term.
  • Read this article to…
    • Ensure you can make informed decisions about the food you choose – don’t assume you are currently choosing a good product.
Statistics recorded by veterinary organizations from the 1950's up to present day are very telling...
  • The life-span of a companion dog in North America is now half of what it was in the 1950's;
  • In the 1950's the average life-span of a golden retriever was 15 to 16 years, today the average is in the range of 8 to12 years;
  • In 2005, 50% of older dogs dies from cancer, and the number is on the rise. 

Part Two -  Supplement Your Dog’s Diet

Turmeric – you need to get your dog on this herb ASAP read more about turmeric here; The curcumin which gives turmeric its bright yellow colour contains compounds that have been proven to reduce lipomas in dogs (and humans :>)

Other Recommended De-toxers and Immune System Boosters
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Coconut Oil
Garlic (no it is not bad for dogs, read the facts, don’t be fooled by unsubstantiated false rumors);
Lemon (fresh);
Whole fresh foods high in first quality antioxidants and nutrients.

Topical Treatment for Fatty Tumors (Lipomas)

Sage has a natural affinity to attract fat. You can apply sage extract topically to the lipoma on a daily basis.

In addition to supplementing your dog’s daily diet with Turmeric, this herb can also be used topically to treat lipoma.

Preparation and application
  • Combine:
    • 1 tsp of turmeric, with;
    • 1 tsp of olive oil, or grape seed oil or almond oil;
  • Mix:
    •  Mix until the ingredients form a soft, well blended paste;
  • Apply:
    • Apply the resulting paste directly to the skin surface of the fatty tumor;
  • Please note that the natural colour in turmeric will stain clothing, carpet etc. 
    • So after application you should restrict your dog to an area where the stain will not adhere to items that you value, or;
    • Put your dog outside for a while.
  • This treatment can be used once or more a day. 
  • Turmeric is safe for pregnant dogs.

3.0 Signs of Malignant Mast Cell Growth

If your dog does have a fatty tumor it is important to monitor that fatty lump for changes…
  • Sudden change in appearance, i.e.
  • The tumor suddenly hardens;
  • Begins to grow lumpy and nodular;
  • Has begun to bleed;
Get to your veterinarian and have the tumor tested for malignancy ASAP.

4.0 Holistic Support

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.


  1. I pinned this...thank you! My dogs each have a couple of lipomas and I figured it had something to do with their previously poor diet. They are 13 and 16 now and have yet to grow new ones. They're also on a MUCH better diet. It's awful to think about the horrible pet foods that people feed their pets! It's just junk and it makes them sick! I work at a vet so I see it alllll the time.

  2. Very welcome Catherine - wishing your 13 and 16 year old the best of health always ❀ᵔᴥᵔ❀ cheers, Karen

  3. Awesome article! One of my dogs has a small lipoma on his chest and I have switched him to a raw diet, adding organic virgin coconut oil, but I am going to add the turmeric now too!

  4. my 15 year old bearded collie has a lipomas of 10 cm. she had a fungal liver abscess that was treated with antifungals for two years. i stopped it and went the homeopathic route. i am so glad i came across this article and i am going to start the raw diet and supplements to reduce the lipomas.

  5. I'd love some more info on dosages of the supplements you suggest or at least an idea. I already add wild fish oil to their food but am looking to add tumeric as well.

    My oldest (11 year old) has one small (1inch) fatty lump that I don't want growing.

    1. You can find dosages for all of the items in the linked article for each item.

  6. Hi, just wondering what the recommended dosage for turmeric would be? Is there any special way to prepare it, or just add the powder to homemade food? Thanks so much, I love this website! So really have a gift :)

    1. Thank you :>) Add the turmeric to food at meal time. Dosage is by body weight. Turmeric should be given with coconut oil - this increases the bioavailablity of the turmeric allowing the body to better absorb the healthful properties. You can choose to add turmeric to just one meal a day or add it to both. Powder form or fresh minced root.

      I recommend that you read these two articles -


      My dogs and cats get double doses of turmeric daily - so when I make a batch of their food turmeric is one of the ingredients used and I also add additional turmeric to their food at meal time along with coconut oil.

      See the article on turmeric for information on how to choose turmeric and dosage.

      Cheers, Karen

  7. Would using a filter pitcher be acceptable for using tap water or would bottled be better? Purified or spring? I know not distilled.

    1. Filtered tap water is a good choice.
      40% of bottled water is simply tap water and if bottled in plastic non-BPA-free bottles makes bottles water a poor choice.

  8. Glad I found this. Just got off the phone with the vet as our 6 year old Lab/Weim has another one of these Lipomas. I will try to make her some food, since the expensive commercial food she is on is not helping her. Thanks for the info.

  9. We have a 12 year old Golden Retriever who has had a history of lipomas. We feed him rice and chicken for dinner, and chicken alone for breakfast. Is it possible the rice is contributing to the lipomas? Thanks!

    1. Rice is an inappropriate food for a dog - in addition his diet is nutritionally incomplete and his health care regimen likely contributes to the sustaining of the lipomas

  10. i will have to give the turmeric a try. my dog has been on raw food for years, gets healthy supplements (salmon oil etc) gets no chemicals ie. flea/tick meds, and gets lots of healthy outdoor time so i can't really figure out why she got this fatty lump. From everything i've read we've done everything right. turmeric is the first thing i've seen that we don't do so we will give it a try internally and topically.

    1. Just becasue a diet is raw does not mean that it is low in toxins and carcinogens and the vast majority of supplements contain multiple toxins and carcinogens. When I do diet nutrition wellness plans for my clients 99% I eliminate and replace 99% of the current supplements they are using for that very reason.

  11. My dog has a mass in his paw. The vet said he could remove it but it's high risk. But not removing it is also bad. Any advice?

    1. Yes - I would advise you to have me do a cancer fighting custom holistic diet nutrition wellness plan for your dog to address the mass.

  12. Turmeric is my new favorite herb. My 9 year old lab has had a fatty lipoma (2 in.) for months. I switched her food to be grain-free and healthier, gave her some herbal supplements, and tried several topical things as well. It wasn't until I added turmeric a couple weeks ago that I really started to notice a difference. It started oozing a lot and swelling, and finally yesterday it popped. It is now much smaller and still draining. I'm so relieved to see some improvement. I'm also noticing she is moving better and seems to be more alert and happy. I love your website --you offer such helpful information on behalf of our furry friends.

  13. Our Border Collie Strider has a large lympoma on the inside of his back leg. I will try this. Do you have recipes for holistic diets I can make at home? I currently cook up batches of stew and give pumpkin and yogurt along with immune support supplements. I was wanting to try to apply an oil based medication to the lump externally.

    1. I offer custom designed holistic diet nutrition wellness plans

  14. My 10 year old bichon poodle has a lump under one of his back legs. We got it checked by a vet in August. She recommended getting it removed but it was too expensive so we just monitored it. It pretty much disappeared but now it is back and seems to be bigger. I can wrap my fingers around it. Is this normal for just a fatty tumor?

    1. Yes, this can occur if you have a) not eliminated the root-cause, even more so if you have otherwise increased toxic load. Recommended course of action is this

  15. My dog was diagnosed with a malignant mast cell tumor today. She having another surgery on her toe to have as much of the mass removed tomorrow but I'm kind of lost on where to start. Any advice on how to start a new diet?


  16. My dig has 3 large fatty fumors. 2weeks ago I started making him 1 cooked egg with 2 tsp if tumeric whisked in with coconut oil served on top. He has since developed a severe itching problem. Could this be an initial reaction to the detox?

  17. AWESOME article. We have rescue yellow lab (maybe 6-9 years old) and she has diabetes. Also thyroid problems. She takes insulin and thyroid pills and has 3-4 fatty tumors. She is on Hills Science Diet (RX) for diabetes. Has helped in getting sugar levels to normal. Still has ups and downs tho. Any suggestion regarding homemade meals? Again-GREAT article.

    1. Yes I do Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Plans for dogs with lipomas for clients all over the world.

  18. Thank you so much for bringing this to the many concerned holistic dog owners. There isn't enough of this knowledge out there. I just switched my dog from extruded dog food to baked dog food but she still has occ. foot allergies and also has a couple of those fatty tumors. I am going to do the sauerkraut and put the sage extract on them. Can't wait. Thank you again for sharing.

  19. Thank you! It worked. My 10 month old Labbe developed a knot on her back that looked like she had a golf ball under the skin. but it was soft and didn't hurt. I added tumeric, probiotics and fish oil to her food. Then applied the tumeric, olive oil and sage extract paste to the lump. to wash off the yellow i applied a paste of epson salt, coconut oil and lime juice and washed with water. The knot has reduced to the size of a pea. I was so worried at first, but now am confident my sweet girl will be much healthier now. Thanks again.

  20. Thank you for the information!

    My dog Teddy is 9 years old and developed a small lipoma on his chest.

    He has been on a raw diet since he's 3 months old; I've been adding turmeric to his food for 3 years; he gets salmon oil and veggies every day. Yet he still developed a lipoma!

    I do feed human-grade (factory-farmed) food from the supermarket, which is probably why he developed it.

    I'm going to massage the lipoma with sage extract to see how it goes.

    Thanks a million for the information!


Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

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