Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Many of you know the sinking feeling you get when you find a lump or bump underneath your dog’s fur. Any kind of cyst-like bump can cause panic …

… But it helps to know that most are benign (non-cancerous) and are known as lipomas or fatty tumors in dogs.

Obviously, prevention is the best way to deal with fatty tumors in dogs. The trouble is that they can be elusive, appearing almost overnight.

What Are Lipomas?

Lipomas are a collection of fat cells found just beneath the skin. They have certain characteristics:

They range in size from small to large, sometimes growing bigger than a tennis ball.Most are found on the chest, flanks, legs, and neck.They’re soft and somewhat moveable.

This movability is the key difference between a benign fatty tumor and a liposarcoma.

Liposarcomas are a malignant form of fatty tissue tumors. These types of tumors don’t move under the skin and fortunately, they’re rare.

Benign tumors contain cancerous cells but they lack the ability to spread in the body.

Malignant tumors contain cancerous cells that can spread to other areas in the body.

Both types can sometimes be referred to as infiltrative, meaning they invade a tissue.

The good news is that lipomas aren’t painful unless they grow in a nerve-rich area. They really like the endocrine system, muscle tissue, and fascia.

In some cases, invasive lipomas impair movement and this can cause muscle pain. For cases like these, surgery is often recommended to offer comfort and mobility.

Weekly grooming can go a long way in early detection. Numerous holistic methods help soften and dissolve lipomas.  These methods stimulate the body to slowly absorb and process the contents of the lump … which causes them to shrink and disappear.

Yes, you read that correctly! Lipomas can be healed holistically especially when detected early.

Before we go into how to shrink lipomas, first let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog gets them in the first place.

What Causes Fatty Tumors In Dogs?

Allopathic medicine is baffled by the cause of fatty tumors in dogs. They are usually attributing them to random chance, age, and genetics. 

While age and genetics can contribute to the formation of lipomas, there’s something else that needs attention …


Toxic Overload

The build-up of toxins is often overlooked by mainstream veterinary medicine. From a holistic perspective, when lipomas form it’s a sign that the body is congested. The energy that isn’t flowing well becomes trapped

Toxins and fat get trapped and walled off by the body’s immune system as it pushes contaminants to the outside. This is the body’s attempt to protect and sustain internal organ function.

Your dog’s lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph ducts, nodes, and vessels.  They all work together to transport lymphatic fluids to the bloodstream.  The lymph system is a key player in your dog’s immune function … and it delivers nutrients to cells while removing wastes.

When your dog’s elimination systems become congested the transport system slows down. This stagnation can lead to blocked circulation causing lipomas and other chronic diseases. This build-up of wastes is sometimes referred to as a dog’s “toxic load.”

So where do these toxins come from? Your dog’s everyday environment. Toxins can include:

VaccinesEnvironmental contaminants like glyphosates, pesticides, and herbicidesWater contaminants like chlorine and fluorideHeavy metalsPharmaceuticalsFlea and tick medicationsGrooming products like chemically laden shampoos.


Another contributing factor to toxic load is diet. Everything you feed your dog either contributes to disease or fights it. The cleaner his diet, the less your dog’s body needs to process it.

When your dog eats, his liver, gallbladder, and pancreas decide how to react. This means they either release the enzymes needed to break down and assimilate nutrients … 

… Or they assume the body is under attack and issue an immune response. This leads to inflammation and slow digestive motility.  

When foods are left in the digestive tract for too long they aren’t properly broken down.  This causes toxins to build up in the digestive tract … and the vicious cycle of stagnation leads to chronic inflammation.

Too Much Fat?

One of the problems with fatty tumors in dogs is the belief that too much fat equals fatty tumor formation. This isn’t true if the body is breaking down the fats.

It’s actually the type of fat that’s the problem, like the rancid and oxidized oils found in kibble. Some examples are rendered animal fat, vegetable oil, and GMO soy and canola oils. Sadly, canola oils can be found even in higher-end and “all-natural” treats.

Your dog’s body sees these undigested oils as immune attackers and the body goes into defense mode. To protect itself it deposits and walls off fat mixed with toxins in the form of a lipoma.

If you suspect your dog isn’t breaking down his food properly you can make a few changes:

#1 Make sure he’s getting clean filtered water

#2 Feed pre and probiotics and digestive enzymes daily.  

#3 If you’re a kibble feeder, consider moving your dog to a fresh food diet.

If traditional raw isn’t in your realm of possibility you can try alternates such as: 

Commercial raw foodDehydrated dog foodsFreeze-dried dog foods 

Or you can home cook for your dog to add variety, especially if you have senior dogs.

Foods That Can Help Prevent Lipomas

There are also some natural foods that you can add to your dog’s food to help prevent lipomas. Here are some of my favorites:

Give a basic regimen of burdock, milk thistle and dandelion. These can help support liver function, circulation, and elimination. Pulse these herbs by giving them for six days on, one day off. Repeat for six weeks, then take one week off for six months. Take one month off and start again.Feed phytoplankton. It offers an excellent source of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.Feed antioxidants like vitamin C and amino acids. These help the body work more efficiently and support elimination and cell health.Add organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) to meals.  ACV can be a powerful ally in the prevention and treatment of lipomas. It assists in liver detoxification as it stimulates circulation and energy flow. ACV works with the body’s lymphatic system by cleaning out the lymph nodes. It also supports the body’s elimination channels. Give 1 tsp daily for dogs 15 pounds and under, 2 tsp for dogs between 15 and 30 pounds, 1 tbsp for dogs up to 80 pounds and 2 tbsp for giant breeds.

Movement Is A Must

Circulation is the key to the continuous elimination of toxins from the body. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the circulatory system, the heart. Instead, it needs movement to efficiently work. 

Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and acupressure help support energy flow … but don’t forget about walking! The average American dog gets less than 15 minutes of exercise per day. That also means 15 minutes or less of breathing fresh air!

For any dog with lipomas or prone to forming fatty tumors, walking and fresh air are a must.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your dog to stay healthy is walking outside. Walking helps circulate energy throughout the body and keep the lymphatic system moving. As a bonus, it also stimulates motility in the digestive system.

6 Herbs To Help Shrink Fatty Tumors In Dogs

Along with exercise, the following herbal remedies can help the body expel toxins. They also support:

The liver, The kidney, The digestive system, And shrink and eliminate fatty tumors.

1. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).

These bitter herbs can help break down fats in the body by stimulating the digestive system. They’re able to clear heat (inflammation) from the body … and they decrease the stagnation of fluids and energy.

Dandelion increases circulation by thinning fluids and supports the lining of the gut. It stimulates the release of bile by the gallbladder to help digest fats. Dandelion is a potent lipoma fighter. This is due to its ability to facilitate the removal of toxins through the kidneys and liver.

You can add dandelions to your dog’s diet or use a tincture of dandelion. Give 1/2 drop of tincture for every pound of weight twice daily. Chamomile makes an effective infusion (a tea steeped 20-30 minutes) added to your dog’s food. Add 1 Tablespoon for every 30 pounds of body weight.

2. Burdock root (Arctium lappa)

Burdock supports the lymphatic system, the liver, and the kidneys. Burdock root, combined with milk thistle (Silybum marianum) makes a great duo.

They help the body rid itself of pharmaceuticals and move heat through the liver. Burdock root helps the gall bladder release bile to support the digestion of fats. Burdock root also cools the inflammatory conditions of the liver and digestive system.

Give as a tincture, 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.

3. Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed moves fluids through the body. It’s good for reducing inflammation and removing toxins from tissues.

As a bonus, chickweed can be used internally and externally, for lipomas. 

Caution: Chickeweek is diuretic in nature. It helps export toxins through the kidneys … especially when combined with a lymphatic stimulant like cleavers (Galium aparine).

Give as a tincture, 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.

4. Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)

This herb is often overlooked for preventing and treating tumors. Like dandelion, self-heal is common in yards and treated like a weed.  It’s known as a superlative lymphatic herb. 

It’s great at moving fluids in and out of tissues downward through the kidneys. Self-heal removes heat in the liver moving stagnant fluids and improving circulation. 

Self-heal is safe to use internally and externally to redistribute and break up fatty tissue.

Give as a tincture. 1/2 drop of tincture for every pound of weight twice daily.

5. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory that increases blood flow with its warming nature. It improves digestion and soothes intestinal muscles. It also protects the liver and stimulates bile secretions from the gallbladder. 

Turmeric caution: Use cautiously with dogs that can’t control their body temperature.

Give 150 mg per 30 pounds of your dog’s weight twice a day.

6. Violet (Viola odorata)

Violet is one of the best lipoma herbs and it’s also safe for long-term use. Violets dissolve hard and soft accumulations in the body using the lymphatic system. 

They’re cooling so they work especially well for hot conditions like fatty tumors. You can use violets internally and externally. 

Herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy uses violet leaf as a poultice … along with an infusion of the leaf and flower to remove any type of cyst or lipoma.

To make a Violet infusion:

Use 1 tsp for small dogs in a half-cup of water. Divide this volume into morning and evening doses.For medium dogs use 1 tbspFor Large dogs use 2 tbsp

Or you can use a tincture and give 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.

Note: General guidelines for using these herbal dosages is …

Give them for six days.Then one day off.Repeat this cycle for six weeks.Then take one week off and repeat until six months.At 6 months take one month off and start the cycles again. 

Easy Lipoma Salve Recipe

Here’s a an easy DIY recipe that you can make at home for topical lipoma support.

What you need:

36 dry violet flowers with leaves14 dry sage leaves1/4 ounce of dry chickweed8 ounces olive oilOrganic vitamin E1 ounce of beeswax10 drops frankincense essential oil (optional)

It’s easy to make:

Add olive oil to small crockpot and place herbs in and stir.Cover and let warm for 12 hours at 100 degrees. The oil should take on some of the color and odor of the herbs when infused.When your oil is ready, pour through a strainer into a glass pitcher.Add the essential oil and 10 ml of vitamin E and stir for two minutes.When you’re ready to make your salve, use a double boiler to melt the beeswax (approx. 145 degrees). Pour the wax into the infused oil and stir, then pour into containers and cap when cool.Apply salve to lipomas twice daily.

BONUS: This salve is safe to lick.

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Using herbal remedies patiently and consistently can support the body’s elimination channels. Recovery from lipomas is individual and some dogs will respond at a faster pace than others.

The goal is to slowly dissolve fatty tumors. This ensures the body isn’t overwhelmed with toxins.

These herbs and healing methods … along with homeopathy offer effective ways to support the body’s elimination channels. Your goal is to help the body back into a  balanced state. 

Be ready to accept that working with these methods will not show success quickly. However, with patience and consistency, you’ll see these fatty lumps get smaller … and in many cases disappear!


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