Although education about sun protection and the number of sunscreen options have developed significantly over the past few decades, little attention has been paid to the other victims of the scorching summer sun – pets. Your furry friends are not spared from sunburn and, in the worst-case scenario, cancer. Here are a few tips to keeping your pets healthy and happy under the summer sun.
Dogs and cats love to sunbathe – the sun is soothing for them just as it is for humans, but too much can take its toll on their health and sense of comfort. Pets often have little choice when it comes to keeping cool and burn-free, so the responsibility is on you to provide them with the necessary care.
First things first: always provide your pet the option to sit or lie in a shaded area as well as to drink water. This way, your pet can avoid excess heat and keep hydrated. This will prevent heat stroke and sun damage.
It may seem like a strange concept at first – pets with sunblock – but just like humans, they need it too. They especially need sunscreen on sensitive areas such as the tips of ears, nose, belly and groin areas with little to no hair and thinner skin. However, don’t apply human sunscreen. Cats and dogs are prone to lick off any cream applied to them and the ingredients in the cream you use can be toxic to them. Generally speaking, sunscreens that are safe for babies will likely be safe for pets too, but please consult your veterinarian first before usage. Epi-Pet is a broad-spectrum sunscreen made for dogs (not cats!). Currently, there is no sunscreen specifically made for cats, so please consult your veterinarian to discuss options. For cats, avoid products with octyl salicylate, homosalate and ethylhexyl salicylate. Products with titanium dioxide as the active agent are generally okay to apply on sensitive areas, like the tips of the ears and nose.
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