June 17, 2015

Here Comes The Sun(block)!

Author: Celeste Glassman


How To Keep Your Pets Sunburn Free This Summer.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. The warm weather brings everyone outside, sometimes from dawn to dusk on beautiful sunny days. Pet parents want to include their floofins in outdoor activities. While the majority of us will apply sunscreen or wear protective clothing before heading out for the day, many don’t realize dogs can get sunburned just like we can. Before you frantically start lathering your pet up with sunscreen, consider these conditions on sun protection for your floofin.

Are certain breeds more susceptible to sunburn than others? Breeds such as the Dalmatian, Whippet, Chinese Crested, Greyhound, Boxer, and Pit Bulls seem to be more at risk for sunburn due to their thin hair and pink skin. Dogs that have their fur trimmed short in the summer months may also be at a high risk for sunburn. Labradors, German Shepherds, and other dogs with shedding coats should NOT be shaved. While you may think you are doing your dog a favor during warm weather, shaving a dog’s coat exposes their skin to sun damage. A dog’s coat acts as a protective barrier against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Instead, thin out their coat using a FURminator or similar brushing tool.

Are there areas on our dogs bodies that are more susceptible to sunburn? Dogs with white fur around their muzzle and eyes and dogs with pink noses may need extra protection from the sun. For the extreme sun bather the inguinal area, or the groin, is a part on any dog that should be protected from the sun as it is typically a hairless area. Severe sun expose often leads to pain, itching, and even tumors!

Should sunscreen be used? It is important to use a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for dogs. Sunscreens designed for babies and children may also be used. DO NOT apply sunscreen to your dog if it contains Zinc Oxide. This ingredient is found in many human sunscreens but it is very toxic for dogs. If ingested it can damage red blood cells resulting in anemia. In addition to sunscreen, some pet parents put Doggles (dog goggles) on their pups. Doggles offer 100% UV protection! Sun protective clothing is also a good alternative if spending long hours in the sun with your pooch. Protective gear specially designed for dogs are best. A normal human t-shirt may cause your dog to overheat.

It is always important to look over your floofin for any lumps, bumps, or signs of irritation. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian if you notice anything odd on their body. The best way to avoid sunburn completely would be to stay out of the sun, but that’s just about impossible in the summer. Providing shaded areas and protecting your dog’s skin while out in the sun allows for long, fun, and sun-safe summer days with your furry companion.

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