Does Your Dog Need Sunscreen for Summertime Fun
June 24, 2019
Dogs, especially those with short hair or very fair skin, can get sunburn with red skin that becomes tender to the touch. Your pet's most susceptible areas are their nose, ears and tummy. The areas with less hair are likely to show overexposure before more heavily fur-covered areas. Just like with people, if you dog soaks up too many rays, they appear to feel bad or even have a slight fever. So, the answer is yes your dog needs protection from the sun as it can lead to more serious problems like skin cancer.
Some breeds are more at risk for sunburn than others do. Hairless dogs, such as the Chinese Crested or American Hairless Terrier, need sun protection when they are outside for any length of time. Breeds with white or thin coats and dogs with light-pigmented noses and eyelids are also more at risk for sunburn and any dog with light or white pigment on his or her ears or near their nose burn more easily. It can also help to walk you dog early in the morning or in the evening after sunset to avoid the sun's hottest rays.
Not All Sunblocks Are Safe for Your Pet
When you think about sunscreen, you probably envision the white goop that a lifeguard uses to cover their nose and the tips of their ears. Although zinc oxide is a common ingredient in protective skin products for humans, it is TOXIC FOR DOGS. A problem with protecting your pet's skin from harmful sun rays lies in the fact that dogs love to lick and ingesting zinc oxide can damage your dog's blood cells causing them to explode. NEVER USE HUMAN SUNSCREENS THAT CONTAIN ZINC OXIDE ON YOUR DOG.
When humans with sun sensitive skin need to protect themselves from the outside, they often wear a hat and sleeves. Thanks to several creative manufacturers of pet products, your pet can work the same kind of fashion statements with ultraviolet protection that meets the recommendations for a quality sun block. Ultimately, the best protection is sun avoidance. Keeping your dog out of the sun between the peak UV hours of 10 am and 2 pm offers the ultimate in protection from harmful radiation.