I am sure you are already thinking about the hot days of summer, about ways to protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and is planning on stocking up on sunscreen lotion/spray. But how about your dog? Should your furry friend be protected against the sun's UV rays as well? You bet! Just like us humans, dogs can experience sunburns, which not only can be painful but also increase the risk of certain types of skin cancer, so it is highly recommended the use of sunscreen on them.
You might be asking yourself: where and when and how should I apply sunscreen on my dog?
Let’s consider some of these cases:
Light skin dogs: if you look carefully, you will notice how the skin in dogs with white hair is pink. This ‘pink skin’ is also known as non-pigmented skin and it needs extra care, as well as areas where there is little hair or no hair at all such as the bridge of the nose, tips of the ears, belly, and groins areas.
Swimmer dogs: maybe you have one of those pooches that can not see a puddle to jump right in it! If this is your dog, then there is not doubt: he/she is a ‘summer dog’ who enjoys spend as much time as possible outside and in the water. If so, make sure to protect the space between their back legs and the snout.
Alopecic dogs: dogs can suffer from baldness, it can be caused by allergies, hormonal changes, or treatments such as chemotherapy, causing areas of their body to become hairless and without protection. These areas are vulnerable like human skin and need sunscreen protection. It is wise to mention that some dogs are naturally bald, such as the American Hairless Terrier, and need extra protection and care during the summer.
Ready to give your dog a coat of sunscreen? Here are a few best practices you can follow:
Long hair, don’t care: that long hair is protecting the dog's skin from UV rays, and if you have it shaved, it will leave the skin more exposed. Instead, keeping brushing it regularly to get rid of dead hairs.
Sunscreen choices: search for sunscreens that are designed specifically for dogs, I personally like this one: http://www.epi-pet.com/sunscreen.aspx, or ask your veterinarian for recommendations. STAY AWAY from sunscreens containing zinc oxide, if ingested, it can damage your dog’s red blood cells causing serious health issues.
You are now aware of the importance of applying sunscreen on your four-legged friends, the areas of their body that need sunscreen applied to and what to look for when searching for dog-friendly sunscreen; and if you pair them with a place that provides shade so your dog can scape to and free access to fresh water, you are promoting your loved furry friend a great, safe, and fun summer time!