The serious warnings surrounding the danger posed by the harshness of the Australian sun is one we know all too well, so why don't we extend that same sun protection to dogs?
It's a lost-in-translation, or perhaps species, message Central West Animal Rescue's Jasmine Smart is desperate to get out ahead of the hotter months.
After taking on three white dogs with very aggressive skin cancers in the past year, it became startling clear to the Orange-based rescue group there was a lack of awareness about the issue.
"A commonality for our serious vet work in the last year has been skin cancers. .. We've had three older white dogs present to us with the same cancer. All these dogs have been kept outside all their life," Ms Smart said.
"It's a message we need to get out there that, like humans, dogs and cats need sun protection as well. Specifically (dogs with) light or white or short coats. They're the ones who need it most."
Of the three dogs who had been surrendered to them with skin cancers so aggressive they had "exploded into bleeding sores", only one has survived.
While the sudden influx of white dogs with the terminal skin diseases has been a quite recent event for Central West Animal Rescue, for Orange vet Dr. Nikki Burns, it was extremely common in both cats and dogs.
The predominant spots on the animals' bodies which were affected tended to be around the eyes and nose and on the bellies, she said.
"Even if they're not pigmented (or light skinned), we see sun cancer develop in these areas," she added.
"We recommend using dog-specific sunscreen, being out of direct sunlight in the peak daylight hours and providing them with enough shade in the backyard."
Animal rescuer, Ms Smart added that often just a kennel in a backyard was not enough shade to protect dogs from the sun.
"If you have to keep them outside, make sure they have shade. Often we go to houses and there's no shade," she said.
"With these animals, when they get to us, they either cost us a fortune to help or it's too late and we can't do anything."
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