Dog Cancer Statistics & Facts That You Need to Know

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death among humans. It’s described as a disease in which the body cells start to go rogue, multiply and grow rapidly with no control over them from the body.

It happens when the body loses the ability to repair or cap the growth of certain cells, causing some old cells to grow out of control instead of dying. The formed extra cells may create a mass or a tissue known as a “tumor”.

So what about dogs? Do they suffer from the same disease? How different it is from human cancer, and is it curable?

In the following article, we’re going to discuss some of the recent findings and dog cancer statistics, so you can find answers to these questions.

How Reliable is the Data for Dog Cancer?

Before diving into the juicy details of this article, you should remember that this isn’t scientific research or a study by any means.

Instead, it’s just an article where we share recent scientific research and data regarding canine cancer, so you can have a better idea about the topic.

Keep in mind that unlike humans, it’s quite challenging for scientists to gather definitive information about dog cancer among all dogs.

This happens because not all dogs are domesticated, so no research conducted is able to claim that these findings can be applied to all dogs.

However, since a large group of pet dogs is included in many of the studies, it’s safe to assume that these studies can provide a reliable point of view for your pet dogs, as they both share a similar level of quality of life.

Cancer is a Leading Cause of Death Among Dogs

Just like humans, dogs also develop certain types of cancers due to various reasons. In fact, canine oncology is a huge sector of veterinary medicine in general, which is the department that studies, diagnoses, and attempts to treat cancer in dogs.

In November 1982, a large retrospective study of the mortality data of 2,002 dogs was published showing valuable data regarding the causes of death among dogs. In the study, they found that 39% of all the dog breeds that live a long life died from cancer. 

In fact, the same study mentioned that about 20% of the deaths of all dogs that were involved in the study and died at 5 years, regardless of their breed, were due to cancer.

However, the accountability for cancer increases from 20% all the way up to 40% or 50% among dogs that died at the age of 10 to 16 years.

Based on the reliable scale of this study, and that about 56 breeds and additional cross breeds were involved in the study, it’s safe to assume that dog cancer is the leading cause of death among dogs.

Dogs Are As Susceptible As Men to Have Cancer

Cancer is common in dogs. In fact, according to multiple studies, it’s estimated that 1 in every 3 domestic dogs will have cancer. 

Surprisingly, this is the same incidence of men with similar patterns of improved control of infectious disease to develop cancer.

This means that dogs are more likely than cats to develop cancer at some point in their life, as their ratio is 1 in 4 or 5 cats. 

However, cats are more likely to develop certain types of cancer than dogs, such as lymphomas.

While cancer mainly depends on malignant tumors, they can also be benign. In that case, they develop much slower, which affects the statistics regarding dog cancer at old age.

According to the previous study, about 25% of all dogs will develop a neoplasm (tumor) at some stage of their life. However, half of the tumors in dogs that are over 10 years old will develop into cancer.

Anal Sac Cancer is Among the Most Common Types of Dog Cancer

Dogs develop very similar types of cancers as humans get. However, they tend to have some additional types as well as certain ones that are more common than the other.

One of the most common types of cancer is “anal sac cancer”. This type of cancer affects the scent gland that is located on both sides of the dog’s anus, which they use to mark territory

Both female and male dogs are susceptible to this form of cancer, which is mostly found among old dogs that are past the 10-year-old mark. While it’s common among spaniels, almost all breeds of dogs can have it.

In addition to the anal sac cancer, here’s a brief list of the most common types of cancer in domesticated dogs:

  • Mast cell tumors (the most common type of skin cancers among dogs)
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia 
  • Brain cancer

The Dog Breeds with the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates

In a study of pedigree dogs, which is one of the highest levels of purity in terms of breeding, it was found that certain breeds will have a higher risk of developing cancer than others. 

Based on the findings, all dog breeds are susceptible to cancers at certain points in their life. However, there are certain breeds that have a noticeably higher or lower chance of developing cancer.

The list of dogs with the highest cancer rates includes:

  • Irish water spaniel (up to 65.8%)
  • Flat-Coated Retriever (up to 58.2%)
  • Bernese mountain dogs (up to 50.6%)
  • Rottweilers (up to 53.6)

The list of dogs with the lowest rates includes:

  • Shih Tzu (about 22%) 
  • Dachshund (about 21%)
  • Bulldogs (about 24%)
  • Dalmatian (about 24.6%)

Selective Canine Breeding Increases the Risk of Developing Cancers

Selective breeding limits the genetic variation and chances for dogs to improve their cell repairing system, which is responsible for fighting tumors and cancers.

This finding was also proven by the Department of Veterinary Medicine in Ohio State University’s research

The techniques used in selective breeding of domestic dogs and the selection of specific genes causes a lot of DNA problems that result in cancer.

Wrap Up

With that said, you have some evidence-backed dog cancer statistics that can give you a clearer understanding of the disease and its risk on dogs.