prevent + detect

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. Learn how to reduce your pet’s risk — and which warning signs to look for.

how can I prevent my pet from getting cancer?

There’s no surefire way to prevent cancer 100% — but there is plenty you can do to reduce your dog or cat’s risk.

  • 1 spay or neuter your pet

    Breast cancer is far more common in unsprayed female dogs and cats, and can be especially aggressive. Spaying them before their first heat cycle dramatically lowers their risk dramatically.

    As for males? They can’t develop testicular cancer if they’ve been neutered!

  • 2 clean up their environment

    Environmental toxins are not only bad for people — they’re bad for pets! Avoid tobacco smoke and exposure to chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers.

  • 3 manage their weight

    Obesity is a known risk factor for pets. Start them off with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. And if they’ve put on a few pounds over the years, talk to your vet about how best to shed the extra weight.

  • 4 focus on good nutrition

    The relationship between food and cancer is important! Limit your pets’ consumption of foods (and treats!) that are high in sugar and low in nutrients, and make sure they’re getting enough fiber, healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

  • 5 be proactive

    Visit your veterinarian regularly to establish a baseline of health and identify any potential problems early on. And if you have a specific concern (no matter how small), don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment!

know the warning signs

Pets (especially cats!) can be super stoic about their pain or discomfort — and they can’t use words to tell us what’s wrong. Talk to your vet if you notice any of these signs and symptoms. They don’t necessarily indicate a cancer diagnosis, but the sooner you know, the better for you both!

warning signs

  • strange odors
  • lumps/bumps on or under the skin
  • loss of appetite
  • rapid weight loss
  • lethargy
  • breathing problems
  • general behavior changes
  • open sores
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Petplan supports pet cancer research

Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in science to advance animal health. Since its founding in 1948, it has invested more than $100 million toward 2,400 studies, like its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. These efforts have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, preventions and cures to benefit animals worldwide.

Petplan has proudly supported Morris Animal Foundation since 2011 through sponsorship of the K9 Cancer Walk series, educational articles in fetch! magazine, and thousands of dollars in donations — including a $12 donation in honor of every insured pet who passes away.