Animal Friends Pet Insurance has released figures that show a 35.7 percent rise on last year in skin cancer cases in cats and dogs.
The insurance company warned owners that the cost of treating skin cancer in animals can cost over £400. Vet charity PDSA has urged owners to keep their animals sheltered and cool during the hottest parts of the day to protect them from heatstroke and cancer.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Although we might be aware of the risks of the sun to ourselves, many owners are unaware that our pets face the same dangers of sunburn, heatstroke and even skin cancer. Heatstroke, for example, can have devastating consequences.
“Bear in mind on a hot day that dogs can’t control their body temperature the way we can. They are wearing a fur coat, and as they only have sweat glands in their paws they mainly cool down through panting, which isn’t very effective.
“One of the most dangerous causes of heatstroke or hyperthermia is leaving pets inside a vehicle during warm or hot weather. But leaving them in the garden for too long without shade, or taking them for a walk during the hottest part of the day, can also be very dangerous. Any dog can get heatstroke, but this is especially important for owners of flat-faced, overweight or chronically ill dogs to consider, as they will be at even greater risk.”
The PDSA warned that common measures to keep animals cool such as parking in the shade and leaving windows open do not work, as temperatures can still sore in these conditions.
The figures were released as part of Sun Awareness Week, which highlights issues caused by overexposure to the sun.