Catching the summer rays while enjoying time in the backyard is something we all crave, especially after a long winter. Our dog companions love to get out with us on hikes, beach vacations, walks to the park, and all other outdoor activities that involve them.
With warm weather fun, though, comes the risk of sunburn and other complications when you don’t protect your skin. But what about Fido? Does my dog need sunscreen, you may ask. The team at Evendale-Blue Ash Pet Hospital is here to answer that question and provide more information to keep your pet safe this season.
Which Dogs Need Sun Protection?
If your dog is the sun worshipping type (like most canines), one of the big risks is sunburn. Like us, dogs are susceptible to burns, blistering, and other complications from too much time in the intense ultraviolet rays. It’s safe to say that all dogs can benefit from sunblock that is designed specifically for dogs. Never use your own sunscreen because it contains the toxic chemicals, zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA.
Certain dogs are more at risk of becoming burned than others. These include dogs with no hair or short fur, light colored dogs, and those who already have medical conditions. Dogs who are frequently in the sun are at higher risk of developing skin cancer, which is why sun protection is a must when your dog spends time outdoors.
Applying Sunscreen to Your Pup
Rather than slather on a ton of sunscreen, take your dog’s sunblock and apply it to areas that are furless, paying attention to the torso, inside of thighs, around the mouth, tips of the ears, and groin. Distract your dog by giving them a Kong filled with peanut butter or the equivalent, waiting 20 minutes before going out. This gives the sunscreen time to be absorbed.
Supervise your pet during use, discouraging them from licking off the sunscreen. If you swim with your pet, reapply the sunscreen after you towel them off.
Other Sun Protection
Along with your pet’s sunblock, there are other ways to protect the skin when out and about.
- Take plenty of shade with you, if there aren’t any shade trees around. Use a big umbrella or portable sail-type shades.
- Dehydration is a big risk to pets who play outdoors throughout the summer, so make sure there is water available to your dog, even during travel.
- Some pets benefit from sun protection clothing that is designed to keep the body cool, wicking away moisture and heat from the skin, while providing UV protection.
- Doggles are a type of goggles for dogs who have light and/or sensitive eyes.
- Limit your outdoor time to cooler hours, such as before 9-10am and after 4pm.
If you have more questions about the question of does my dog need sunscreen, we are your go-to veterinary partner. Simply give us a call or ask about the right sunscreen for your dog when you visit us with your furry friend.