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10 Facts about Pet Cancer

10 Facts about Pet Cancer

By Dr. Kelly Diehl
Scientific Communications Adviser
Morris Animal Foundation

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May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to learn about the risks of cancer, and what that means for your beloved pet. Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in older dogs and cats, and affects one in four pets in their lifetime. Our pets share many of the same types of cancer that affect humans, as well as the same diagnostic tests and therapeutics. Here are 10 facts you should know about pet cancer:

  • An estimated 6 million dogs and 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year
  • 50 percent of dogs over 10 years of age develop cancer
  • Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in both dogs and cats
  • Second-hand smoke increases cancer risk in dogs and cats
  • Obesity has been linked to the development of certain forms of cancer in animals
  • Spaying a dog or cat before their first heat cycle significantly reduces a dog or cat’s chances of developing breast cancer
  • Skin cancers are more common in white-haired cats than in cats of other colors
  • There are more than 100 different types of pet cancer
  • Dog breeds with a higher risk for cancer include golden retrievers, Bernese mountain dogs, Scottish terriers and boxers
  • Dog breeds with decreased cancer risk include Chihuahuas, toy poodles, Yorkshire terriers and dachshunds

You can help protect your pet from cancer by checking out these Pet Cancer Prevention Tips.

Morris Animal Foundation has been funding pet cancer studies since 1962, and we’ve invested almost $7 million dollars to study cancer in not only dogs and cats, but in horses and wildlife, too. Read about our current cancer studies, and learn how you can join our fight against pet cancer.

Nighttime Walk Safety

As the nights grow warmer, dusk and nighttime walks become more common. Our dogs love to be outside chasing fireflies and enjoying the outdoors with us. Walking and adventuring in the evening can pose a safety concern for you and your pet. Unfortunately the light of the moon is not enough visibility to keep you and your dog safe while taking late walks. There are products that have reflective features that will help ensure your furry night owl stays safe.

Lazer Brite® Reflective Collars and Leashes 


Do you want your pup to rock the sidewalk streetlight like it’s a spotlight on the runway?

Lazer Brite® collar and leashes come in fun colors and unique laser cut designs that are sure to fit any fashionable pup. They are made with the reflective material safety professionals use and are reflective up to 600 feet away.   

Coastal® Reflective Wrap Harnesses


Are you unwilling to part from your favorite collar and leash, but want to make sure your dog is safe during your evening walks?

The Reflective Wrap Harnesses are available in six vivid colors that will pair perfectly with your pooch’s favorite collar and leash set. Harnesses are made from soft, breathable mesh and feature reflective piping and patch for nighttime safety.

Coastal® Reflective Safety Vests

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Are you and your dog on the go all day and night with no time for an outfit change?

The Reflective Safety Vest ensures your dog is visible during the day and night with fluorescent colors and reflective material. The adjustable design and lightweight material offer a comfortable fit for all-day use.

K9 Explorer® Reflective Collars, Leashes and Harnesses


Do you and your four-legged explorer lose track of time while on the trail and find yourself getting back later than intended?

The K9 Explorer® collection combines outdoor fashion and reflective safety with quality to withstand the elements.

Using products that have built-in reflective properties will help keep you and your pup visible during all of your favorite nighttime activities.

Spring Has Sprung: What to Watch for this Season

April Blog 2017Headache? Take an Advil. Stomach ache? Take Pepto. Not sure what is wrong? Talk to a doctor. Being sick is a hassle but our voice allows us to communicate exactly what we need during those moments. As soon as I feel a migraine coming I am able to tell my family that I need Advil and a cold cloth, but what about your canine companion? I don’t speak in barks so figuring out when they are feeling ill is a little more challenging. This is especially true if their sickness leaves no physical evidence behind.

Instead of playing the guessing game, I make sure to stay up-to-date on all of my dog’s shots and prevention medications. Spring is here, so it is time to make sure you are taking all the precautions this season to ensure your pup stays happy and healthy. With the flowers blooming, Lyme disease is a big factor to consider this season.

Lyme disease

Our canine companions are itching to enjoy the sunshine just as much as we are. Whether it is rolling in the grass or walking down to the park your dog is encountering the great outdoors. These sunny moments bring the risk of being exposed to ticks. Make sure you are checking your dog daily, especially during warmer months. To check your dog for ticks run your hands through their fur being mindful of any small bumps along the way. These bumps could potentially be ticks hiding. It is in good practice to check any of your pets that venture outdoors for ticks. Ticks like cool, wet places so make sure you are checking the following areas thoroughly, in addition to the rest of their coat:

  • Between the toes
  • Behind the ears
  • Around the tail
  • Around the head
  • Under the legs

Keep in mind that ticks vary in size. When you are checking your dog, a tick could feel as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape depending on how long it has been attached. Make sure you remove the tick within 48 hours or less. According to, a tick will not transmit disease to your dog if detached in under 48 hours.

If your dog has been bitten by a tick watch for the following:

  • Fever
    • Your dog’s normal temperature ranges from 99.5-102.5F.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy
  • Swelling of joints
  • Discomfort or pain

These are all signs that your dog may have contracted Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs versus humans is much different. Lyme disease symptoms will not occur until much later after a tick bite in dogs. Dogs will also not develop a rash or a circular area of redness around the bite like humans who have been affected.  

If you think your pet has contracted Lyme disease consult with your veterinarian for testing and treatment plans.

To reduce the risk of Lyme disease in your dog consider the following:

  • Flea/tick topical medication that is applied periodically, as instructed.
  • Cut back any shrubbery around the house and clear the area of any fallen leaves or debris that could serve as hiding spots for ticks.
  • Since the common deer is an essential part of the lifecycle of a tick, try to stay away from planting any plants/flowers that deer are fond of in the vicinity of your pets play areas.

For questions about Lyme disease consult your veterinarian. For more information consult the following websites: