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Summer pet care: Protecting dogs from skin cancer

Written By | Jul 26, 2016

SAN DIEGO, July 26, 2016 – Sunscreen is not just for people. Believe it or not, the family dog needs protection from sun and heat all summer long!

Part of what makes summer enjoyable and fun is sharing it in a variety of ways with our beloved companions, whether traveling, going to the beach, swimming and playing games in the family pool or playing outdoor games of throw and catch.

What is not widely known is that dogs are prone to sun-related skin cancer.

According to Dr. Horvath-Ungerboeck, veterinary dermatologist from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, animals like dogs that enjoy lying on their backs and exposing their bellies to the sun are particularly susceptible to sunburn.




suscreenDogs who have little or no hair, who have  pink or white skin pigmentation or who are thin skinned are more highly susceptible.

However, no dog is exempt from skin cancer, and it can also be found in breeds with substantial coats.

The most common forms of skin cancer in dogs may be found on the body, face, nose, muzzles, ears, toes and mucous membranes.

There are three major forms of skin cancer in dogs, according to WebMD:

1.  Malignant melanoma.

2.  Squamous cell carcinoma, which is most commonly associated with sun-related cancer.

3.  Mast cell tumors

Finding a dog friendly sunscreen which is approved by a veterinarian, which might include child safe sunscreen for humans,  is a major step in the right direction for protecting a best-friend throughout the summer months.

Be careful to choose a sunscreen with does not contain zinc oxide, PABA or other ingredients which are known to be toxic to dogs is necessary for ensuring  health and safety.



Simple lifestyle changes throughout the summer, such as taking walks and engaging in 0utdoor activities before noon or after 3:00 pm when the sun is at its lowest point provides automatic sun protection for both dogs and humans.

Stylish canines might enjoy wearing fashion-forward protective eyewear, rashguard shirts and cool visors.

Ensuring a best-friend has an ample supply of water and a shady area forest is critical for sun protection and heat exposure.

Taking the family dog for an annual examination with a qualified veterinarian to be examined for overall health and skin condition is highly recommended as a preventive measure.

Our four-legged companion is ready and eager for the next great summer adventure, even if it is as simple as a walk in the neighborhood park.

Always willing to please its people, the family dog needs to be loved and protected from everyday elements and exposures, especially from the intensity of summertime sun.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.