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Dog Skin Cancer and How to Prevent it

Updated on February 23, 2010

Dog skin cancer is one of the leading cancers in dogs and the top cause of death in dogs over ten years old.  While it’s scary to think about and you doubt that it could happen to your beloved pooch but it’s important to realize that it’s a real danger and that you need to be aware of how to prevent it.  In fact being aware of the symptoms of dog cancer and checking for it can increase the chances of survival.  But of course it’s better to prevent skin cancer from ever occurring and knowing how to prevent dog skin cancer will mean a longer happier life with your dog.

There are many different forms of skin cancer commonly found in dogs.  Some cancers are benign (such as fatty tumors, dog warts and most forms of melanoma) and don’t necessarily require any treatment whatsoever.  Other forms of cancer are malignant which can include squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma which can be deadly if left untreated.  The difficult thing is that many of these cancerous tumors look identical and the only way to tell if they’re malignant or benign is to get them tested.  That’s why it’s important to make sure that you don’t ignore any abnormal skin spots and get them checked out quickly.

The best way to avoid any of these issues is to do your best to prevent skin cancer in your dog.  There are several things you can do to help prevent cancer in dogs.  For instance, with skin cancer it’s important to be aware of environmental factors as well as your type of dog.  The sun is probably the leading cause of skin cancer in dogs (as it is with people too).  Certain breeds are predisposed to getting sun cancer in large part due to their coat (or lack their of); breeds like the Chinese crested and other hairless dogs have their skin exposed to the sun all the time and require lots of sun block lotion and/or a sweater to keep the sun’s rays from hurting their skin.  Other shorthaired dogs with light coats such as the Chihuahua, Whippets, Pit Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, etc. are also prone to different types of skin cancer.  No matter what breed of dog you have it’s important to keep track of how long the dog is out in the sun as every dog has certain areas that such as the nose, ears, eyes and underbelly that are not protected by their coat.  If you plan on being out in the sun for a long time make sure to apply sun block to the exposed areas and try to get into the shade frequently. 

While getting skin cancer isn’t the end of the world for your dog, it’s important as well as simple to take steps to prevent dog skin cancer.  If you do discover melanoma or any type of skin cancer it’s important to seek treatments and act fast.  Over 60% of cancer that’s caught early can be treated and your dog will live a full, healthy life.  There are plenty of resources online that will provide excellent information on how to treat skin cancer.  Doing a little bit of research will go a long way in formulating a game plan for treating dog cancer.

Other Dog Resources

Cancer in Dogs and How to Treat it - A simple guide to understanding what types of cancer dogs have and how you can treat it.

Jobs for dog lovers - Find the best jobs for working with your best friend

Cure Bad Dog Breath - a quick article on how to cure bad dog breath so you don't have to deal with it anymore


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      Señor Garrapata 7 years ago

      Very clear information.

      We live in Cancún so we have sunny days almost all year long. We also run a blog and we thought this will be very helpful for our readers.