Hot Tips on Sun Protection For Dogs

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The dog days of summer are coming and it’s getting hot out there. But did you know that your dog needs protection from the sun just like you do? It’s true – the sun’s exposure can be dangerous and deadly for your pets. If you’re armed with the right information, you can make the summer safe and enjoyable for your pup.

Just because a dog has a coat of fur, it doesn’t mean that it is protected from the sun’s rays. Even a thick fur coat isn’t enough protection. Constant sun exposure can result in painful sunburns, skin ulcers, cancer and permanent skin damage. Some breeds are more susceptible to sunburn, like those that are fair skinned, white haired, short haired and have light colored noses.

Here are a few things you can do when it comes to sun protection for dogs:

1. There is sunscreen that’s made just for your dog. If your dog is outside during peak sunlight hours, use a non-toxic dog specific sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher. Be sure to apply it to sunburn-prone areas such as the tips of ears, the bridge of the nose, groin area, inside the legs and underbelly. As with any product you apply to your dog’s skin, read the ingredient label carefully. If you’re using a sunscreen made for humans (which we do not recommend), avoid ones with  PABA or zinc – these ingredients are  toxic to your dog if ingested or licked. However, baby sunscreen is a safe alternative for your dog (as long as it doesn’t have zinc in it). Remember to reapply sunscreen to your dog every 4 to 6 hours or after a long time in the water.

2. Get some shade. Whether you’re on the beach, in the backyard or out in the park, make sure there’s enough shade available when it’s time to take a break from the sun. During peak direct sunlight hours (10 am and 3 pm), having a shaded area is vital for both dogs and humans.

3. UV Sun suits. Yep, there are such things available for your dog. These sun suits come with UV protection bodysuit and block out the harmful rays. Available in a variety of sizes,  there’s a perfect fit for all types of dogs. If you don’t have a suit, a white t-shirt will do in a pinch. Adult sizes fit bigger dogs, while a child’s sizes work for smaller dogs.

Do you have sun protection for dogs this summer?

If your dog gets too much sun, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain:

  1. A cool bath will cool your dog down. If your dog gets too much sun, give it a 20-minute cool water bath. Try adding oatmeal or baking soda to the bath water to ease the itching and pain that can be caused by sunburn.
  2. Treat sunburns with an all-natural remedy. After a cool bath, apply Witchhazel to the sunburned areas. A natural antioxidant and astringent, Witchhazel cools down sunburn and inflamed areas.  Simply use a cotton ball and apply witch hazel to affected areas several times a day. Or you can use a 100% pure Aloe Vera gel to sunburn spots, since it is non-toxic. For sunburned noses, break open a vitamin E capsule, squeeze out the oil, and dab it onto your dog’s sunburned snout once or twice a day. An antioxidant with healing properties, vitamin E also prevents scarring.
  3. For severe burns, you’ll need antibiotics. Open sores and bad burns need an antibiotic ointment, so visit your vet immediately if this occurs.

Do you have any tips on sun protection for dogs? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.