With the beautiful sunny weather we experience all year round, everyone who lives in Cairns is well aware of the skin cancer risk and the importance of ‘slipping, slopping and slapping’ every day.

But what about our pets?

As well as protecting your human family members, it’s equally important to protect your pets from sun damage. Even though most pets are covered in fur, which does act as a natural sunscreen, their skin can still be affected by harmful UV rays and skin cancers are not uncommon.

Many pets love to sunbathe and, as a result are at risk of sunburn and skin cancers such as carcinomas and melanomas. Whilst commonly seen in white cats and dogs around the thinly furred nose and ears, pets that sunbake on their backs are also prone to developing skin cancers on their tummies.

Ideally, limiting your pet’s exposure to the sun is best, but if your pets are sun lovers there are some ways to help protect them from damaging UV rays whilst they participate in their favourite activity.

SLIP into a Sun Shirt

If your pet loves to sunbathe on its back, a sun shirt is worth considering. With lots of different styles and designs available they not only provide excellent protection but look great too.

SLOP on (Zinc-free) Pet Sunscreen

Sunscreen is not only for humans. Applying sunscreen daily, particularly to the ears, nose and belly is a great way to protect the skin. There are sunscreens available which are specifically formulated for pet skin. When selecting a sunscreen, it’s important to ensure it does not contain zinc as this can be toxic to dogs and cats.

SLAP on Doggles

Whilst hats for pets are rarely seen, sunglasses are gaining popularity for dogs with white skin around their eyes. ‘Doggles’ are a popular brand available and have UV coating on the lens to protect the eyes.

Detection and Treatment of Skin Cancer

Early detection is the key to treating skin cancers. If you find a lump or notice changes in the colour of the skin, it’s important to have your pet examined by our veterinarians.

Whilst treatment depends on the type of skin cancer present, there are various options available to treat skin cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

If you are concerned about lumps or bumps on your pet it’s important to get them checked out sooner rather than later. Call Cairns Vet Clinic to make an appointment.