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Goldorado Animal Hospital

Here Comes the Sun. What About Pet Sun Protection?

Older dog sitting in grass

Pet owners are incredibly thoughtful and considerate of their pet’s summertime needs, but most of the attention is placed on preventing dehydration and heat stroke (both very important aspects of summer pet safety). It’s also important to recognize that preventing skin damage is possible through pet sun protection.

Sun Protection for Pets?

It’s never been so easy to take care of a pet. There are tons of options for optimal nutrition, a heightened awareness of the importance of dental care, and loads of other ways to prevent illness or injury. 

Just like us, when a pet is exposed to the strong rays of sunlight they can burn. Irritation, pain, hair loss, and scaly skin are part of the long-term consequences of skin damage. Secondary skin infection, swollen skin, and wounds that won’t heal can also result.

Unfortunately, pet skin cancer is not uncommon, especially in dogs with active lifestyles. Avoiding malignant melanomas, hemangiomas or squamous cell carcinomas must become an essential priority for pet owners, especially in the summer months.

To that end, pet sun protection is a concept that cannot be ignored.

Defensive Acts

One of the best tactics of pet sun protection is to keep them indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Exercise before 10 am and after 4 pm, and try to avoid the heat at midday when the sun is at its peak. 

When your pet is outside, be sure that they always have access to cool shade (umbrella, sunshade, large tree, etc.), freshwater, and cross ventilation. 

Pet Sun Protection

Just like us, pets can benefit from specifically-formulated animal sunscreen (never use products formulated for humans). Even if your pet has thick fur, their nose, belly, and ears should be protected. White-coated pets, hairless breeds, and those with thinner coats are more susceptible to skin damage and cancer. 

Be sure to apply small amounts at first and distract them from licking it off. Re-apply throughout the day. 

Dress Up!

Many pets object to wearing clothing of any kind, but if you can encourage them to wear a sun shirt while outside you can save them a lot of pain. It may take some time and patience, but eventually, they will learn that it’s better than having pet sunscreen applied to their whole body. 

Pet sunglasses, also called Doggles, are also available to protect your pup’s eyes.

Always Prepared

Pet sun protection is just one of the many ways you can help your pet thrive. If you have additional questions or concerns about other ways to keep them safe, we’re always here for you at Goldorado Animal Hospital