In one of our previous blogs, we talked about making sure that while we enjoy the hot summer weather, we also need to keep our pets happy and cool!  We also need to let you know the best ways to reduce sun exposure and sunburns in our pets.

We all know that we are to use sunblock to cut down on the sunburns for ourselves, starting at infancy.  But what about our pets?  Do they really need to limit their exposure to the sun on a regular basis (especially on really sunny days when the UVA/UVB levels are high)?   The short answer is, yes!!  Taking a quick look at the web provided all the answers I needed to help protect my animal friends.

Animals that have had a ‘summer’ haircut, naturally thin hair coats or are white haired animals are those that are particularly sensitive to the sun.  These animals can suffer from sunburns and skin cancers (like their human counterparts).  Seeking shade and using sunblock work best for both humans and our animal friends.

In pets, sunburn can appear as red skin or hair loss. Sunburn can irritate or exacerbate existing conditions, such as allergies or hot spots.

Keeping shade and fresh water available at all times will definitely help keep our pets comfortable and also prevent any occurrence of heat stroke.  Of course, this is pretty obvious for our indoor pets.  But what if your pet has their ‘digs’ outside?  Consider placing them under a big shade tree or investing in a sun block covering.

Sunblock should be applied to all sun-sensitive areas of the body (i.e. tips of ears, nose and the belly/groin area which typically has spare hair coverage).  Cats and some dogs love to sunbathe with their belly up.

So then, what products are the best to use on our furry friends?  We need to remember that dogs and cats are likely to lick off any kind of lotion/sunblock that you may apply on them.  As well, what is good for humans is not necessarily good for our pets.  Some of the ingredients can be toxic for dogs and especially for cats.  A few years ago, it was recommended that anything safe for human babies would be okay to use on pets (making sure that the lotion has soaked in before any licking can occur).  Doing our research, we have been able to find a product from Doggles that makes a sunscreen spray that has a SPF 15 rating.  It can be ordered directly from their website at www.doggles.com.

Using products on any animal that don’t follow recommended guidelines for the product is called off-label usage and is unsafe.  Therefore it is always best to consult with your veterinarian prior to using any human product or medications on your furry friend.  It is always a good rule to read and follow all instructions and directions before applying any product either to yourself or your family pet.

Remember to enjoy the sun but to keep yourself and your pets protected against the harmful effects of the sun.