PET owners are being advised to use suncream on their animals.

Many people know about the dangers of sun exposure to the skin, but some are not aware that our pets are also at risk.

A pet insurance company, Animal Friends has shown that there has been a 35.7 per cent increase in reported claims for skin cancer in cats, dogs and horses in the UK since 2015.

Stroud News and Journal:

Claire Atchison and her horse in the garden

PDSA vet, Rebecca Ashman, said: "It often comes as a surprise to owners when they hear pets can suffer from skin cancer, sometimes assuming that fur will protect them from the sun.

"White-furred pets are at highest risk because their skin lacks natural pigmentation which helps to block out the harmful UV rays."

Does my pet need sunscreen?

Usually pets with light coloured, short or fine fur need extra protection as well as those with exposed skin.

If your pet has dark, thick fur, they will be much more protected, but you should still pay close attention to how much time they are exposed to the sun.

What type of sunscreen can you use on pets?

It is recommended to use special pet sunscreen, which can be purchased online or in leading pet stores.

If owners are unable to find pet sunscreen, sun lotion designed for human babies or children can be used, provided it is fragrance free and above SPF 15, as long as it not contain zinc oxide which can be toxic to pets.

Here are the top tips for keeping your animals safe in the sun

1. Limit the amount of time pets spend in the sun, especially during the peak of the day.

2. Use special pet sun cream on light or thin fur, the nose, ears or other exposed patches.

3. Give them plenty of cool, clean water, refreshed regularly.

4. Clip long-haired pets to prevent them from overheating.

5. Never leave animals locked in cars, even for a few minutes.

6. Avoid walking dogs between 10am and 5pm on hot summer days to avoid the main heat of the day.

7. Consult a vet immediately if you notice ulcers, sores or sudden discolouration on your pet's skin.