Is Skin Cancer in Dogs Caused by the Sun?

by Naomi Millburn
    "Time for me to go back indoors."

    "Time for me to go back indoors."

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    The possibility of getting skin cancer puts a damper on extended sun time for human beings and dogs alike. The sun is a trigger of cancer, after all. Not only does skin cancer appear in canines, it's actually the most prevalent type of it for the furry guys.

    Risk

    If you relax and bask in the sun for inordinate amounts of time, skin cancer becomes a serious risk to you. This danger also applies to dogs -- think skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and hemangiosarcoma. Skin cancer appears in many dogs and also pops up a lot in the feline world.

    Clues of Sunburn

    If your pet spends too much time under the sun's rays, it usually becomes apparent quickly. People can get painful sunburns, and so can dogs. If your poor pooch indeed has a sunburn, his skin will look uncharacteristically pink. It might also appear inflamed.

    Susceptible Pooches

    Certain types of dogs are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of skin cancer -- specifically those with white fur. Light-colored dogs often experience squamous cell carcinoma. Skin cancer tends to pop up on parts of their physiques with particularly fine hair. Although cancer can show up in any dog, some breeds have predispositions to specific varieties. Squamous cell carcinomas are particularly common in standard schnauzers, border collies and bull terriers. Such skin cancers routinely affect dogs who sport markedly short fur.

    Other Potential Causes

    The sun isn't the sole culprit for skin cancer in pooches. A lot of other factors are frequently linked to these diseases in canines, such as hormones, immunizations and viruses. Skin cancer is thought to have hereditary components.

    Halting Skin Cancer

    You'll keep your dog protected from some skin cancers by limiting his exposure to the sun. In particular, cuties with short, pale fur. Keep time under the sun to a minimum, and try to remain under shade as much as possible during outdoor jaunts. Morning and evening walks can help protect against the harshness of the sun at other points in the day. Some doggie attire even aims to keep your pet's skin concealed from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sun protection ointment made for canine use can be helpful, too, as long as your pet never consumes it -- it can be harmful. Ask the vet for any appropriate recommendations for canine sunblocks, and take the perils of the sun seriously. It's your precious dog's life, after all.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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