Sharp rise in reported skin cancers among pets in the UK

In line with Sun Awareness Week, Animal Friends Pet Insurance are raising awareness of the importance of sun protection for pets.

Sun Awareness Week starts today and runs until 20th May and many pet owners assume that fur protects their pets from skin complications, which is not always the case.

Animal Friends data reveals that a 35.7% increase in reported claims for melanoma, a form of cancer, in cats, dogs and horses in the UK since 2015.

As well as the risk to your furry friends health, treatment for those condition can be very expensive, costing on average £390.04, but in more serous cases vet bills can run into the thousands.

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said that most people who sought treatment for their pets were not even aware that animals could get cancer.

She said: “It often comes as a surprise to owners when they hear that pets can suffer from skin cancer, sometimes assuming that fur will protect them from the sun. Unfortunately this is not an effective barrier, and white-furred pets re at the highest risk because their skin lacks natural pigmentation, which helps to block out the armful UV rays.”

Skin cancer is not the only risk from excessive exposure to sunshine, heatstroke can also cause problems for animals that are kept out in the sun for prolonged periods.

To help pet owners keep their pets safe in the sunshine, Animal Friends have highlighted some tips to follow:

  1. Limit the amount of time that pets spend in the sun, especially during the peak of the day.
  2. Use special pet sun cream on light or thin fur, the nose, ears or other exposed patches.
  3. Give them plenty of cool, clean water, refreshed regularly.
  4. Clip long-haired pets to prevent them from overheating.
  5. Never leave animals locked in cars, even for a few minutes.
  6. Avoid walking dogs between 10am and 5pm on hot summer days to avoid the main heat of the day.
  7. Consult a vet immediately if you notice ulcers, sores or sudden discoloration on your pet’s skin.