The facts about cancer and our pets are alarming. According to PetCancerAwarness.org, cancer is the cause of nearly half of all disease-related pet deaths. Nearly 25 percent of all dogs will develop a tumor in their lifetime — in fact, dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans. And while cats are less likely to be afflicted with cancer than dogs, feline cancer tends to be even more aggressive and deadly than the canine versions.
Unfortunately, humans can unwittingly contribute to the onset of cancer in our pets by exposing them to carcinogens found in pesticides, tobacco smoke and even the sun’s UV rays. No one wants to watch their pets suffer with and possibly die from this insidious disease.
With May being Pet Cancer Awareness Month, there’s no better time to support the worthy cause of eradicating pet cancer. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Make a donation. There are many organizations that provide funding for pet cancer research. One example is the American Kennel Club Cancer Canine Health Foundation, which has funded nearly $11 million in cancer research over the past two decades. If you’d like to make a donation to pet cancer research but aren’t sure where to send your money, use this list as a source of ideas.
- Add your deceased pet to the Celebration Wall. If you have lost a pet to cancer, the American Kennel Club enables you to honor and memorialize him by adding his photo to its online Celebration Wall. You will be asked to submit a $50 donation with your photo, with the money going to canine cancer research.
- Set up a fundraising site. If you’re active on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, you can set up a pet cancer awareness page. Include lots of pet photos, and encourage your friends and followers to make a donation to their favorite pet cancer charity.
- Get involved in fundraising events. Organizations such as the ASPCA often sponsor pet cancer awareness walks or similar events that bring attention to and raise money for the cause. Check with your local ASPCA chapter for any events in your area, and find out how you can participate. The staff can also be a valuable source of ideas regarding how you can advance the cause of pet cancer awareness.
- Check for signs of cancer in your pet. While you’re helping to get the word out to the public regarding pet cancer, don’t forget to check for cancer symptoms in your own pet. Early detection is the key to effectively treating and possibly curing cancer. Common signs include significant changes in appetite or weight, offensive odors coming from your pet, any unusual discharges or bleeding, problems with swallowing or chewing, or generally lethargic behavior.
The battle against pet cancer requires a strong, unified effort put forth by humans. Taking steps to raise awareness can go a long way toward preventing cancer in our cherished pets.