Does Your Dog Need Sun Protection?

Summer is many dog’s (and human’s) favorite season.  It’s a time for sunbathing on the patio (tongues out of course) and really working on that summer bod with some good outdoor activities.  However, what many dog owners may not know is the same way us humans need protection when enjoying the sun, our furry friends do too. Yes, you heard it right.  Not only should you be protecting yourself against sunburn this summer, but you should take protective measures for your furry friend as well! 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs are prone to sunburn and the health risks associated with it – just like humans.  And just like humans, there are certain dogs that are more at risk for sunburn depending on their features including hairless breeds, dogs with white or light coats/thin coats, and dogs with light pigmented noses or eyes such as Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Dalmatians. 

Even if your dog has a thick coat, you may notice excessive shedding or bald patches that can be a sign of sunburn. 

Fortunately, sunscreen options for dogs are out there and are specially designed to be safe for your pet!  When choosing a sunscreen for your dog, it is important to ensure that it does NOT contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) as these ingredients are toxic to dogs when ingested (and as we know, dogs love to lick themselves).  

When you find a good sunscreen, you might be thinking, “How the heck do I apply this?”.  The answer is simple: apply the sunscreen where skin is most exposed to sunlight and least protected by hair.  These areas include: the ears, bridge of the nose, skin around lips, paw pads, groin, inner thighs and lower belly.  Make sure your dog does not lick him/herself for 15-20 minutes or until the sunscreen is fully absorbed! 

If your dog is already experiencing sunburn, showing signs such as reddened, warm, or flaking skin, move your dog inside or in the shade as soon as possible.  Using cool compresses and ointments can soothe these initial symptoms and ease pain for your dog.  If your dog’s burn is severe, call your veterinarian. 

Keep your dog safe and happy this summer by checking out some dog-friendly sunscreens on Amazon or your local pet supply store! 

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