What Is Skin Cancer in Dogs?

2 comments Jul 6, 2020by Denise Lessard


Cancer. Nobody likes to hear that word, and our pets aren’t immune to it either


Not surprisingly, then, it is a concern for many pet owners. Of all types of cancers, skin tumors are the most common tumors found in dogs


Are you worried that your beloved pet is suffering from skin cancer? Naturally, you’re most likely anxious and have lots of questions. After all, the very word “tumor” is a scary thing to think about. 



In this article, we are going to examine types of skin cancer in dogs, how to identify them, their causes, as well as treatments available. I hope you find the information you need to be better informed and able to protect your pet!


And you can also refer to our complete guide to dog cancer for more details on the disease.



What Types of Skin Cancer Affect Dogs?


As with in people, there are many types of skin cancer that affect dogs. Some of the most common are: 


Mast Cell Tumors in dogs


Mast cell tumors are the most common type of skin cancer found in dogs. As the name suggests, they affect the mast cells (a type of blood cell found in the immune system). While they can occur in any dog breed, they are most commonly found in Boxers, Boston Terriers, and Golden Retrievers. 


Squamous Cell Carcinoma in dogs


Squamous cell carcinomas are a cancerous tumor that affects the squamous cells of the epidermal layer (top layer) of the skin. While they can occur in any breed, they are most commonly found in Dalmatians, Standard Poodles, and Basset Hounds. 


Malignant Melanoma in dogs


Malignant melanomas are cancerous tumors that affect the pigmented cells called melanocytes. They are often found on mucous membranes (ocular melanoma), mouth (oral melanoma), or nail beds (subungual melanoma). While they can occur in any breed, Miniature and Standard Schnauzers and Scottish Terriers are considered more at risk. 



Benign vs Malignant


If you’ve found a tumor on your dog, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean cancer! Between 60-80% of skin tumors in dogs are benign - which means that they are considered non-cancerous, and they don’t spread to other parts of the body. 




What Does Skin Cancer in Dogs Look Like?


Although there are different types of skin cancer with varying symptoms, there are some signs you can be alert to. Look out for anything out of the ordinary, for example: unexplained lumps in the skin; a firm, raised nodule that resembles a wart; a solitary black or brown mass; or grey/pink lumps in the mouth and bad breath. 


The time you spend regularly washing and grooming your dog gives you a perfect opportunity to check up on your pup - in between snuggles, of course! The earlier you can detect and treat any cancer found in your pup, the better.



What Causes Skin Cancer in Dogs?


Generally, genetics are viewed as the leading causes of cancer in dogs. Environmental factors have their effects as well.


Squamous cell carcinomas in particular are thought to be caused by prolonged exposure to the sun, however, connections have also been made to papilloma virus (oral warts). 


Some believe that excessive licking due to itchiness or irritation can also increase risk of skin cancer, as it causes skin cells to reproduce more often, increasing the chances of cancerous mutations. 


Unfortunately, older dogs are at a higher risk of developing any form of cancer, including skin cancer. 



Can Skin Cancer in Dogs Be Treated Naturally? 


If you’ve noticed an abnormal lump, and your veterinarian has confirmed a skin cancer diagnosis, you want to start treatment right away. Of course, you want to do anything you can to help your companion. Here at Zumalka, we share your desire to provide natural products to support your dog's health during his fight against cancer.


PIPTOPET is a broadband antiviral and antibiotic mother tincture designed as a natural aid. With undeniable anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, it help the body in his fight to targets unhealthy cells while leaving healthy ones intact. It’s also an incredible immune system booster, better equipping your dog’s ability to fight the disease.


While a cancer diagnosis for your pup can be hard to hear, hopefully this information helps you be informed and able to care for your dog, no matter the circumstances!




About the author

Denise Lessard
Denise Lessard


Denyse Lessard is deemed as the “mother” of Zumalka, which was established more than ten years ago to provide easily accessible natural products for pet wellness worldwide.

Besides being a trained alternative medicine therapist, Denyse also has expertise in homeopathy, naturopathy and iridology, reflexology, as well as Chinese medicine. She is a long-standing member of the Professional Union of Homeopaths of Quebec, as well as the Association of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists of Quebec.

Denyse’s philosophy as regards pet wellness is not just about only dealing with disease and illness when they get in the picture, but keeping animals in ideal health each and every day.

Find out more about Denyse when you click HERE.


  • Zumalka November 1, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Anji,

    Thank you for your comment! I’m very sorry to hear about your dog’s case. I will reach out by email to answer your questions about the excellent benefits of the Piptopet!

  • Anji Consolini November 1, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    Trying to find an answer to my labrador’s squamous cell on his leg. Reading your website and came across a confusing sentence your marketing manager would want to rectify.
    anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, it help the body in his fight to targets unhealthy cells while leaving

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