Pets and Skin Cancer

By Lynn Stacy-Smith

Summer is in full swing through the majority of locations in which our readers reside, with the sun blaring brightly to make for some of the longest days of the year. It is also a time when most of us humans flock to the outdoors, bringing our furry best friends with us for walks, swims and other activities outside. And while we usually are aware of our own exposed arms and legs and the risk of sun damage and skin cancer it is not always on our minds that our dogs can also be at risk.

photo credit: nhanusek via photopin cc - skin cancer
photo credit: nhanusek via photopin cc

According to PetMD, skin cancer makes up 14 percent of cancer in dogs, with dogs with short coats and light colored coats are believed to be at greater risk than those dogs with darker and heavier coats. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that skin cancer in dogs can arise on the toes, in the mouth, in the eyes and on the nose.

photo credit: Product of Newfoundland via photopin cc - skin cancer
photo credit: Product of Newfoundland via photopin cc

It is a good practice to keep your dogs inside during the middle of the day when the sun is the strongest. Also provide shade such as a canopy to dogs who are outdoors for long periods of time. Keep indoor kennels, crates, dog beds away from windows because UVA rays can pass through glass. You can also consider adding shade to dog carriers when you are in the car with your pet, although make sure you do not block airflow that allows cool air from air conditioning or open windows to circulate through your pet’s area in your vehicle.

There are also sun protection products for dogs available on the market although you should do thorough research before using any product on your pets. Feeding a quality diet like Canine Caviar holistic pet food and implementing protein rotation will also help boost your dog’s overall immune system.

And although we suggest using caution and being aware of perils like sun damage and skin cancer, we also know that a beautiful summer day is a precious gift, so don’t be afraid to get out and enjoy it with your dog. Most dog lovers know there are few things as enjoyable as a gorgeous summer morning or evening on a hike with your dog to watch the sun rise or set with an unspoken bond between you.