The month of May is “Pet Cancer Awareness Month,” a time dedicated to spreading the word about pet cancer and ways to prevent it and further research. There are many facts pet owners may not realize about cancer in canines, so this is a month where many organizations spread awareness and offer ways to help donate towards canine cancer research. Here are five things to know about pet cancer, and what you can do for your dog.
Facts About Pet Cancer
According to PetCancerAwareness.org…
- Nearly 50 percent of all disease-related pet deaths each year are from cancer
- Cancer is the #1 cause in older dogs
- Dogs get cancer roughly the same rate as humans
- One in four dogs die of cancer
Causes of Pet Cancer
Although cancer cannot be pinpointed by one particular cause, there are three areas that have been linked to dogs obtaining cancer.
- Genetics: Breeds such as the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever,Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog & Boxers are prone to cancer
- Environmental Factors/Food Toxins: Exposure to hazardous chemicals inside/outside your home, and even your dog’s food
- Over-Vaccination: Over vaccinating your dog can weaken their immune system leaving them prone to disease
Symptoms of Pet Cancer
Early detection is the key to finding cancer treating it as quickly as possible. Some symptoms your dog may display are:
- Persistant, abnormal sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Difficulty breathing, eating or swallowing
- Bleeding or sores that will not heal
Similar to humans, some cancer treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancer tumor.
Preventing Pet Cancer
Although we may not be able to prevent cancer altogether, there are ways pet owners can help their dogs. You can prevent your dog from getting cancer caused by environmental factors by using pet-friendly products in your home and garden. Lawn products and household cleaners are very dangerous for animals, so try using cleaners and products with more natural ingredients such as those with grain, white vinegar, and those that are fragrance-free.
You can also help prevent cancer by making sure your dog is spayed/neutered and have good oral care throughout their life.
How to Help Spread the Word
In order for pet owners to realize the causes of cancer and its preventative methods, organizations around the country are raising awareness and collecting donations to help develop new researches and treatments. Groups like American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation have funded nearly $9 million to contribute to various researchers helping pets with cancer.