Is your pet protected from the sun?
Humans aren’t the only creatures who can feel the sting of a bad burn. Our pets are affected, too, perhaps even more so for animals that enjoy playing outdoors in the summer.
It doesn’t matter if you’re covered in pale skin or bronzed, fur, feathers, or a woolen coat, ultraviolet rays from the sun can lead to accelerated signs of aging, and even skin cancer. UVB rays are what turn us tan, while radiation from UVA rays penetrates deeper, causing much more harmful effects. And, while we most commonly associate sunburns with summer, both UVB and UVA rays buffet our bodies all year long.
If the sun is too bright for you to play around in without protection, chances are it’s also too much for your pet. But, that’s no reason to stay inside, of course. There are plenty of ways to have worry-free fun in the sun.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you both cool this season, and beat the burn.
CHOOSING A SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen on a dog may seem silly to some, but it’s an effective way of keeping them happy and healthy. That’s sure to please any owner.
“It’s actually very important to put sunscreen on dogs, especially those with light skin and white fur or hair,” Richard Goldstein, DVM, and chief medical officer of the Animal Medical Center in New York City told PetMD. “A dog’s skin can be damaged by the sun just like our own, so they require the same protection against the development of sunburn and skin cancer.”
When picking out a proper protectant for your pet, make sure you’ve got the full spectrum covered. That means protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
As Vet Street reports, the ideal products will be labled “broad spectrum” protection, have an SPF factor greater than 15, and mitigate skin cancer and early aging effects.
Some sunscreens are formulated specifically for dogs. A fragrance-free option will prove the least offensive to both you and your pet. It’s also important to look for products that are free of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) or zinc oxide, which can cause severe health issues if ingested.
The FDA has approved a single sunscreen for pets, Epi-Pet Sun Protector, which boasts a 30-40 SPF, UVA and UVB blocking capability, and vitamin E for skin health. If you can get your hands on some, your dog or horse (the only animals for which the product is approved for use) will thank you.
For the best results, always consult your veterinarian.
Click the button below to learn how sunscreen should be applied
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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