Starting to catch yourself turning the AC on more than usual? Or perhaps, heading to the fridge for a glass of ice-cold water every 5 minutes? Yep, we’re all feeling it. Summer is here and everyone’s doing their best to keep cool and stay protected from the scorching heat of the sun!
Speaking of sun protection, today marks another day to celebrate National Sunscreen Day. And in observance, we’re here to remind you to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays. That’s not all, though. We’re also here to tell you that you’re not the only one who’ll be needing sunscreen during these hotter seasons; your canine buddy will be, too!
Why Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?
Did you know that our four-legged friends can get a sunburn, too? While they’re covered with fur, their skin is just as vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun as ours. Bringing your dog outside under the summer heat, especially between 10 AM and 4 Pm, without any kind of sun protection can lead to their skin becoming irritated and painful, sometimes even leading to hair loss.
In dogs, continuous sun exposure is known to cause skin cancers, including carcinoma, malignant melanomas, and hemangiomas. It can also worsen certain conditions, like dermatitis and auto-immune diseases, as well as pain in areas where surgery was recently done. According to Dr. Richard Goldstein, chief medical officer of the Animal Medical Center in New York City, in an article from PetMD, dogs with light skin and light-colored fur are more vulnerable to sun damage.
What Kind of Sunscreen Do You Use on Dogs?
The safest and most effective kind of sunscreen to use on your furry friend is one that’s specifically formulated for dogs. Since they’re designed for canine use, you can rest assured that they won’t contain ingredients that will harm your pooch.
However, if dog-specific sunscreen isn’t available, you can purchase an unscented broad-spectrum sunscreen for babies or children with SPF 30 or higher, preferably one that’s also waterproof. Always read the label carefully and stay away from sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) because these ingredients are toxic to dogs when ingested.
How Do You Apply Sunscreen to Dogs?
Before slathering your newly bought sunscreen all over your canine friend, it’s best to put a little bit on one spot and let it sit for a few minutes to see if they get an allergic reaction. If they don’t, then you can go ahead and carefully apply sunscreen to the areas on your dog’s body that’s most exposed to sunlight, like the lips, the bridge of the nose, the groin, and the inner thighs—anywhere that doesn’t have much fur or pigmentation.
When applying sunscreen on your dog’s face and head, it’s very important to make sure not to get it in their eyes. After applying it, let the sunscreen absorb and watch that they don’t try to lick any of it off. Once you’re out and about, reapply the sunscreen every 4 hours to 6 hours.