It’s the time of year when owners and their pets are spending a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the hot sunshine that only lasts four months of the year. It’s the season to be out on the deck having a BBQ, absorbing the beautiful sun at the beach, or out hiking on your favourite trails. Regardless of the activity, getting sunburnt is the last thing we want. While we put on our Ray Bans, summer hats and SPF, we tend to forget, or perhaps may not even be aware, that our furry friends can suffer from sunburns just as easily as we can. Like humans, chronic sun exposure to our pets damages the tender architecture of the skin putting them as risk of developing skin cancer.
The best way to prevent pets from getting a sunburn is to avoid the sun altogether. While this solution may be possible for pets that don’t mind relaxing in the shade, it may be difficult for owners with pets that enjoy the sun as much as we do. There are other ways that you can protect your furry loved ones from the sun while still letting them have their summertime fun.
Apply sunscreen to unprotected areas such as the nose, ears and other exposed areas of the body. Our sunscreen may contain ingredients (zinc oxide, octyl salicylate, homosalate and ethylhexyl salicylate) that can be harmful to pets, so be sure to check with your veterinarian before using them. Ideally use a product that is specifically for UV protection in pets. Otherwise, sunscreen made for infants is often safe but be sure to contact your veterinarian prior to their use.
Yes, you read that right! There are suits for pets that protect them from getting burned. Often times pets love to lay on one side making them more likely to get burned on these areas, so bodysuits (or even a cotton t-shirt) are a great way to protect their skin from the harmful UV rays.
Avoid Intense Sun
Avoid going out if the sun is intense, especially in the middle of the day around noon. This also applies to going out on a boat. The reflective rays off the water are more intense and can lead to heatstroke and dehydration.
All of these tips are especially important to dogs with short, light-coloured coats (such as dalmations, pitbulls, white boxers and American bulldogs) and cats with white coats. Due to the lack of hair around the nose, paws, groin and around the eyes, as well as the lack of pigmentation, burns are more of a risk. Remember, just like us, pets can develop skin cancer due to chronic sun exposure. If you notice any changes to the pigmentation of your pet’s skin or new lumps or bumps developing, please be sure to contact your veterinarian for a thorough and comprehensive physical examination as soon as possible.
We hope that these tips can put your mind as a pet owner at ease. Always practice caution with regards to sun exposure and remember to keep yourself and your pet hydrated during the hot weather.
Resource: http://words.usask.ca/wcvm/2014/09/can-your-pet-get -burned/