Are you and your dog planning on some big outdoor adventures this summer? Or, are you more inclined to chill outdoors or poolside?

Either way, if your pet is involved, heat and harsh UV rays need to be factored in for their safety and fun. Many pet owners wonder if they should apply sunscreen to their furry friends, or why they need it at all. 

Your friends at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital are here to give you the lowdown on those sunny days with your pet, and why you should definitely choose dog sunscreen for their skin safety.

Why Does My Pet Need Dog Sunscreen?

Pets, like us, are susceptible to sunburn and skin related conditions and cancers. Intense IV rays on bare skin sets your pet up for these risks. Dogs naturally want to hang outdoors with us in the summer. There are so many warm weather activities and recreation opportunities, what’s not to like! The trouble is, when a pet is outside under the sun without sunscreen, shade, and water, this is a recipe for an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital.

Dogs that are particularly sensitive to the sun include hairless breeds, those with fair or white fur, short-haired dogs, older pets, and those with skin conditions that cause fur loss. Any dog, though, can develop sunburn on the exposed areas of the body, such as the bridge of the nose and belly.

What Sunscreen Should You Use?

When we say sunscreen, we don’t want to imply the kind you use on yourself. In fact, don’t use human sunscreen or lotion on your dog because most contain zinc oxide and PABA which are toxic. If ingested these ingredients can cause vomiting, tiredness, dehydration, diarrhea, and can lead to liver damage. 

Instead, there are some great choice in dog sunscreens on the market, including:

How to Apply the Sunscreen to Your Dog

Before you head out for a day in the great outdoors, don’t forget some simple ways to keep your pet cool and burn-free. Make sure you apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you leave, giving it time to fully be absorbed.

Focus your attention on the exposed areas, including groin, inner thighs, ears, nose, lips, and belly. Give your pet something to chew on, like a Kong toy, while you wait for the product to seep into the skin layers. Make sure to keep your pet from licking their skin, so they don’t accidentally lick away the sunscreen. After 20 minutes is up, head on out!

If you swim with your four-legged, make sure to reapply the sunscreen after you towel them off.

Keeping Your Pet Cool in the Sun

Don’t forget that sunscreen only protects your dog from sunburn but not from heatstroke or heat related conditions. Sunscreen is the first step to keeping your pet summer safe, but you should consider some of the following tips for a great outing.

  • Always bring plenty of water and a collapsible dog bowl when you are outside recreating with Fido
  • If there won’t be any trees where you go, such as along the ocean, bring plenty of shade, like big umbrellas and pop-up tents
  • Consider using cooling clothing that is designed to prevent UV rays from going through the fabric
  • For pets with sensitive eyes, opt for some doggles, a type of goggle fitted for your pup
  • Use a form-fitted hat for your dog who needs extra head and face protection

Stay inside and play games with your pet, if it is a scorcher outside, to prevent dangerous temperatures from causing heatstroke. 
For more information on dog sunscreen or to schedule an appointment, please call us!