Cancer is complicated. The reasons some pets (and people) get cancer while others don’t is still a mystery. We know that genetics, environment, hormones, and viruses play a role to varying degrees. And while there are no guarantees, there are steps we can take to decrease the risk that our pets will get cancer.
Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Some studies suggest that obesity may be a risk factor for cancer. Make sure your pet is eating a proper (no table scraps!) and balanced diet to avoid an increased cancer risk.
Exercise your pet regularly
Regular exercise is good for you and your pet and will help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
As with people, evidence suggests that cancer risk is increased in pets exposed to second-hand smoke. Keep your home smoke-free to decrease the risk for everyone.
Limit sun exposure
Just like people, light skin coloring and lots of time in the sun can increase the risk for some cancers. If you pet spends a lot of time outside, make sure there’s a shady spot available. Try to avoid the midday sun when the harmful rays are the strongest.
Avoid contact with lawn chemicals/pesticides
Keep your pet away from pesticides and other outdoor chemicals when possible. There is some evidence for an increased cancer risk in pets exposed to applied lawn chemicals.
Schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian
Regular checkups allow your veterinarian to perform a complete physical examination, which can help identify concerns and establish a baseline that can be used for later comparisons.
In addition to taking steps to prevent cancer, you can also watch for warning signs – early detection can make a difference. Read Top 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Pets to learn more.