Summer is coming this month and we all know how and why we, as humans, should avoid excessive time in the sun. It’s just as important to protect our dogs from excessive time in the sun as it is for us. Many of us are not aware that even though a dog doesn’t have to be slathered with sunscreen as we may do to ourselves, certain key dog areas should be protected and a dog’s overall time in the sun should be taken into consideration.
Hairless breeds (such as a Chinese Crested) or dogs who’ve recently been shaved run a greater risk of being sunburned and possibly developing sun-induced tumors. Even hairy dogs dozing on their backs in the sun run the risk of getting burned on that vulnerable stretch of exposed skin between their hind legs which, in most breeds, is unprotected by hair. Also, a dog’s nose and snout are prone to sun-induced tumors–especially dogs with pink or pink-spotted snouts. So, be sure to provide ample shade for dogs–especially at midday–and don’t let any dog who loves being out in the sun stay out there too long.
Never apply zinc oxide to any part of your dog as it is toxic if licked off. Use any natural sunscreen labeled for animals with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Be aware that many popular brands of sunscreen we are familiar with may contain harmful chemicals and the ingestion of such may result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy in pets.
If your dog does sustain a sunburn, give him or her a soothing, healing bath in cool water with some sort of therapeutic dog shampoo designed for that purpose. It’s a good idea to add a few drops of therapeutic oil to the bath water too. Consult your vet or a reputable pet store owner for further information regarding anything mentioned above.
What else can you do to protect your pet from some summer activities such as barbecuing and pool parties?
Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and oil products out of your pet’s reach. If ingested, these products can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression.
Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pet’s reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates which if swallowed could result in difficulty breathing or, in severe cases, kidney disease.
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages can be poisonous to pets and your dog could become extremely weak, severely depressed, or possibly go into a coma if too much alcohol is ingested.
As with most things in life, being responsible, knowledgeable, and using common sense are some of the best defenses against any problems with pets or humans!