Sunburns.. they're not just for humansNo family leaves on a sunny day outing without sunscreen for grownups and for kids.
But did you know that your pet is susceptible to being sunburned, too?

Believe it or not, as in humans, a pet with too much sun exposure over an extended time can lead to aggressive skin cancers and tumor development. And if they stay out in the sun too long at a stretch, dogs and cats can get a sunburn!

WHAT PETS ARE VULNERABLE? Cats with white ears and facial areas are commonly affected. Although not an exhaustive list, dog breeds that are susceptible are white boxers, bull terriers, dalmatians and German short-haired pointers.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY PETS? Limiting a pet’s time outside during peak sunny hours can protect delicate skin, but what if your cat loves to lie in the sun? What if your dog gravitates to the sunny side of the yard? Consider the following:

1. Dog-friendly sunscreen. A specially formulated sunscreen for pets should be applied according to the product’s directions. A spray applicator may be the simplest to use.

2. Sunscreen dangers for cats. Unfortunately, cats can quickly groom away sunscreen, and many sunscreens have ingredients that are toxic to cats. Avoid products with octyl salicylate, homosalate and elthylhexyl salicylate, which would break down in cats to salicylic acid, or aspirin.

3. Cat suits and other superhero solutions. Lightweight shirts or visors can allow your pet to frolic in the sun without sunscreen.

YOUR PET AND SUN SAFETY Sun protection doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few precautions, your beach walking, sunshine-loving, boating, surfing, working, playing-hard-in-the-sun pet can enjoy sunny days.

SO HOW CAN I TELL IF MY PET HAS A SUNBURN? Your pet’s sun burned skin can look red, scaly and may have lost hair. This condition is known as solar dermatosis. When sun exposure continues, the skin can thicken and develop red bumps and nodules that might become crusty.

WHERE DO I LOOK? Cats may commonly have sun burn on ear tips, nose, lips and eyelids. For dogs, trouble spots are the stomach, inner thighs, armpits and the top of the nose.

If you think your pet may have a sunburn, or if you have questions about your pet’s skin, give us a call. If we smell a bit like coconut oil, it’s because we’ve been poolside with our pets!

Photo Credit: L’eau Bleue via Compfight cc