Background Accurate early diagnosis of lung metastases is important for establishing therapeutic measures. Therefore, the present study aimed to compare survey thoracic radiographs and computerized tomography (CT) scans to specifically identify lung metastases in female dogs with mammary tumors. Methods Twenty-one female dogs, weighing 3 to 34 kg and aged from 5 years to 14 years and 10 months, with mammary tumors were studied. In all dogs before the imaging examinations, fine-needle aspiration cytology of the mammary tumors was performed to confirm the diagnosis. Three-view thoracic radiographs were accomplished: right lateral, left lateral and ventrodorsal views. Sequential transverse images of the thorax were acquired on a spiral Scanner, before and after intravenous bolus injection of nonionic iodine contrast. Soft-tissue and lung windows were applied. All the mammary tumors were surgically removed and examined histologically. Results The correlation between the cytological and histological results regarding presence of malignancy was observed in only 17 cases. In radiographic examinations, no dog displayed signs of lung metastases or thorax chest lesions. CT detected lung metastasis in two cases, while small areas of lung atelectasis located peripherally were found in 28.57% of the dogs. Conclusion In this study population, spiral CT showed higher sensitivity than chest radiographies to detect lung metastasis; this indicates that CT should be performed on all female dogs with malignant mammary tumors.