11 Jul Does My Dog Need Sunscreen?
If you think you’re the only one in need of sun protection this summer, think again. Sun protection isn’t just for humans! While you and your pooch are out enjoying the summer rays of sunshine, don’t forget to keep your dog protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Here is what you need to know.
If your dog is a sunbather, even the furriest dogs are at risk of developing a sun burn. If you notice they are laying out in the sun for an extended period of time, take them back inside. Long term exposure to the sun can lead to painful, sore skin and tumors. According to the Dogster Magazine, “dogs who worship the sun while lying on their backs risk developing tumors on the inguinal area, that vulnerable stretch of skin where the belly and hind legs meet; this area is unprotected by hair even on furry breeds.”
So, yes, dogs can get sunburned, just like people. The less furry, lighter skin breeds are more at risk of developing a painful sunburn, but all dogs are at risk.
So, apply that sunscreen! A sunscreen specified for dog use is the best option, but if you don’t have doggy-approved sunscreen, you can find other options. Pet MD states, “pet parents can purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen for babies and children with an SPF of 15 or higher at the local drugstore. But it’s EXTREMELY important for pet parents to read the labels on baby sunscreen before applying it to their pets, since dogs may lick their skin and accidentally ingest the sunscreen.”
Another important factor is choosing a sunscreen without zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (also known as PABA) as an ingredient. Both of these can be toxic to pets. If zinc oxide is ingested, it can lead to hemolytic anemia. Tanning lotion and oils should also be avoided.
When applying sunscreen for the first time, test a small area on your dog to make sure he doesn’t experience an allergic reaction. If no reaction is triggered, you can go ahead and apply to any sun exposed skin where you dog may sunburn. Remember to avoid the eyes. Watch that your dog doesn’t try to lick the sunscreen off, and after any water activity, another sunscreen application will be necessary.
The best protection for your pet is avoiding any outside activities during peak sunlight hours from 10 AM-4 PM. But if you prefer your dog’s company while outside, use sunscreen. If you plan to enjoy an entire day outside, additional sun protection for dogs is available. Shirts, hats and even goggles can provide necessary sun protection for the complete outdoor enthusiast!
What other summer necessities does your pet need in the warmer weather? Be sure to provide your pets with fresh, cool water, and shade while they are outside. If you notice excessive panting, your dog should go back inside where it is cooler. And although you may be tempted to shave your thick coated dog, the Dogster Magazine advises against this. “When you shave your dog’s coat, it exposes his skin to sun damage. The hair coat acts as a protective barrier against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and shaved skin is much more vulnerable to sunburn.” Instead, use a rake or special de-shedding tool to help thin your dog’s coat out.
Above all else: Have fun! With proper sun protection and heat awareness, you and your dog can enjoy the summer sun and any outdoor activity you desire!
* If your dog develops a sunburn or heat stress, contact your veterinarian about proper care and treatment.*
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