Your pets could also be at risk for skin cancer this summer

- With summer officially underway, many people will be focused on protecting their skin. Now, veterinarians are warning pet owners to take steps to protect the skin of their pets.

While being exposed the summer heat can be unbearable for people at times, the same goes for our furry friends.

A misconception some people may have is that a dog's fur can protect their skin from the sun, but along with heat-related illnesses, skin cancer is a disease that can also affect animals.

"Oftentimes, the lighter coated dogs, they love to sit out and sunbathe, they love the sun on their belly, but we got to moderate that, or we have to protect them with sunblock or cream, because we do see higher rates of skin cancer in those pups," Dr. Leo Egar of Maricopa County Animal Care & Control told FOX 10.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can put our pets at higher risk.

"The early symptoms are often very, very subtle. If we think about that dog playing ball it may be as simple as they have a little less of a spring in their step," said Dr. Egar. He went on to say that diseases like skin cancer and heat-related illnesses could be increasing, due to the active outdoor lifestyle.

"The emergency rooms, you see one or two heat injuries a day easily, and that's not taking into account all the ones that the family practitioners are seeing, and all the other heat exposures we have out there," said Dr. Egar.

People should keep an eye on warning signs. It's good to often check on your dogs for any lumps on their bodies, and if you find something unusual, it's best to always consult with a doctor.

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