These days most people are aware of the importance of applying a sunscreen to block the sun’s UVA and UVB rays that can cause everything from sunburn to wrinkles to skin cancer, but what about sunscreen for pets? Just like humans, dogs and cats can get painful sunburns and even skin cancers. Pets with light skin/fur or a thin or shaved coat are especially susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun. Certain areas on your pet are especially vulnerable such as the nose, ears, around the lips and areas with less fur like the abdomen and inside the legs. A sunscreen is especially important for pets that spend extended time outside. Some ways you can you help your pet avoid the damaging rays of the sun while still having fun in the sun:
– If you trim your pet’s fur for the summer, try not to the fur too close because fur provides some protection from the sun’s rays.
– Make sure your pet always has access to a shady spot.
– If your dog will wear them, you can try a pet visor or shirt to help provide some sun protection.
– Limit your pet’s exposure to the sun during the peak mid-day sunny hours of 10 am to 4 pm.
Keep in mind that the FDA has not established SPF values in pets. Pets often lick off topically applied products and certain ingredients in sunscreen (such as zinc oxide, PABA, and salicylates) can be toxic for pets; therefore, be safe and choose sunscreen formulated specifically for pets or labeled as safe for pets. If you are unsure about the safety of a particular sunscreen, check with your veterinarian or 1800PetMeds pharmacist. If your pet is likely to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, re-apply the sunscreen after 3 to 4 hours or even more frequently if your dog is swimming.
Now go out and enjoy the warmer weather with your four-legged friends!