Skin Cancer in Dogs is a Common Problem
Skin cancer is not just a concern for humans. Animals can develop it too. We all know that UV radiation is highly dangerous and this is a leading cause of skin cancer in dogs. No pet owner wants to see their faithful friend deal with this type of cancer and the good news is that this can be successfully avoided in many cases. It is often wrongly believed that because animals have fur, they are not as susceptible to the effects of exposure to UV radiation. However, steps can be taken to protect your pet from UV rays.
Skin cancer ranks as the second most common cancer in cats while it is the first most common cancer in dogs. It is estimated that 450 dogs out of every 100,000 are diagnosed with this condition. In cats, it is estimated that 120 out of every 100,000 are diagnosed with the condition.
It is commonly believed that an animal’s fur coat protects them from developing skin cancer. However, this is often incorrect. The risk of developing this cancer is also dependent on the breed of the animal. Many breeds feature thin coats and they have light colored skin on their ears and bellies. These areas are the most susceptible to cancer development. Skin cancer in dogs is therefore not as unusual as people may think.
Overexposure to sun is not the only cause. Skin cancer in dogs can be attributed to viruses and hormones, vaccines, genetics and burns. Pet owners who have educated themselves about the risks of developing this kind of cancer are more likely to ensure that their pets are protected and hence, these animals are at a decreased risk of developing the disease.
It is recommended that an SPF 30 sun screen is applied to exposed areas of skin on both cats and dogs. Sun screen should always be applied regularly to any bare areas or any areas where the skin is hardly covered. This includes the belly and the ears. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep your pet indoors, out of the sun, between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the rays are at their strongest.
Clothing your pet is another way in which to protect your animal from developing skin cancer. When skin is covered up, it is protected. This goes for humans too. If you wish to spend time outdoors with your pet, you may wish to clothe your dog in a t-shirt or hat, if they are willing to wear these items. While your pet may not like wearing clothing, it will be protected from harmful UV rays.