Do you ever notice your pet lazily soaking up the sun’s rays in early in the morning or late in the afternoon? Our dogs and cats also enjoy getting their well-deserved sun soaking sessions. Unfortunately, as the summer season heats up even more, like humans, dogs and cats can also have too much fun under the sun and get painful skin-sizzling sunburns.
Can dogs and cats get sunburn?
Dogs and cats protect themselves from the sun by the natural cover of their fur, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sunburn. White and light-colored animals, shorthaired and hairless pets are particularly prone to UV damage from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunburn in dogs in cats occurs in areas with little to no hair. That’s why it’s important not to fully shave your pet’s fur. The shorter your pet’s fur, the greater the exposure they have to the harmful UV rays which can penetrate down to the sensitive skin and cause sunburn.
The sun may do more damage particularly where the hair is thinnest. The common sunburn danger zones are the nose, stomach, ears, eyelids, mouth, belly and paw pads.
Pet sunburns can be painful for your pet, and they can also increase your furbaby’s risk of cancer. Here are some tips and precautions for protecting your pet from sunburn:
1. Minimize exposure to harmful UV rays.
- Provide easy access to shade. If your pet has access outdoors, make sure there are plenty of places where your dog or cat is completely shielded from direct sunlight.
- Limit the amount of sun exposure during times when sunshine is at its harmful peak, from roughly from 10 am to 3 pm.
- Use UV protection window film. This product is quite easy to apply and it will allow your dog or cat to enjoy an indoor sunbathing session without the risk of exposure to harmful UV rays. It will also increase your home’s energy efficiency and keep the sun from fading your carpets and furniture, so it’s a win-win situation for both you and your pet.
2. Apply pet-safe sunscreen.
- Apply sunscreen on areas that are exposed to the sun, on their ear tips and noses. Cats and dogs should not be allowed to lick the product as well.
- Make sure that the sunscreen doesn’t contain zinc-containing ingredients (such as zinc oxide), which are toxic to pets. Specifically for cats, don’t use products with octyl salicylate, ethylhexyl salicylate, and homosalate as these are poisonous to your furry feline.
- Pet parents should apply sunscreen to their pets before heading out for some outdoor fun, and always after swimming.
- For dogs that love being outdoors, use Aroma Paws Fur Conditioning Treatment with Sunscreen as a leave in conditioner daily for a shiny, healthy & brighter coat. It contains natural zinc which provides protection from the sun. This is readily available in all bow & wow pet stores in the Philippines.
How to relieve sunburn in dogs and cats
- Monitor your pet’s coats after every sun exposure. Look for any signs of skin irritation like redness, swelling, scabbing, flaking or sores, and other signs of discomfort.
- If a dog or cat has mild symptoms, a natural sunburn cure to help relieve pain is to give them a gentle oatmeal bath and apply aloe vera.
- For a natural home remedy for dog and cat sunburns, bathe them with Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Dog and Cat Shampoo. This soap-free shampoo with oatmeal and organic aloe vera is made specifically for dry, itchy skin. Its natural formula provides plenty of relief and deodorizes your furbaby without irritating his skin or washing off topical flea applications. The oatmeal and aloe combination work to re-moisturize and heal scratched skin while reducing itching, keeping him from scratching himself again.
- You can also apply natural witch hazel to minor dog and cat sunburns. Witch hazel is a natural astringent with antiseptic properties, which can help cool down burned, inflamed skin without the sting of alcohol. Use a cotton ball and apply the witch hazel to affected areas several times a day.
- If the sunburn symptoms are more severe, or if your pet has a fever or is in pain, seek medical attention right away and consult your veterinarian for a full physical exam. Your vet will be able to evaluate the severity of the injury a provide an appropriate treatment plan.