You might spend a lot of time outdoors with your dog. You make sure he gets plenty of exercise, so you go on long walks together. You bring him with you to the beach, where he jumps in the waves. You take him to the dog park as often as you can. But every time you go outside with your dog, are you putting sunscreen on your pooch? If not, you're putting your pet at risk for skin cancer. Dogs need sunscreen too.
Did you know that dogs can get sunburned? Sunburns on a dog can be uncomfortable and can increase the animal's risk for some kinds of skin cancer. The first step to avoiding sun exposure for your dog is to keep him out of the sun as much as possible.
Just like humans, dogs should stay out of direct sunlight during peak hours--from 10am to 3pm. When you're outside, keep your furry friend in the shade, and encourage him to stay under a tent or umbrella while at the beach.
Don't think that your dog's fur will protect him from UV exposure. The sun can get through the fur. The lighter your dog's skin, the more at risk he is for skin cancer. The thing is, many dogs have lighter skin in certain areas. If your dog has white patches, the skin underneath those spots is usually light pink, whereas it may be darker underneath darker fur. The light areas of skin need to be protected from the sun.
In addition, any skin that's not covered by fur should be protected. These include the belly, groin, bridge of the nose and tips of the ears.
Does your dog need sunscreen? You can use a sunscreen product on your dog. Just make sure you use a product that's free of dyes and fragrances. You don't want your dog ingesting harmful chemicals when he cleans himself.
If you can't find a sunscreen product that's specific for dogs, choose a natural sunscreen that's formulated for infants. When you apply the sunscreen, move the fur to the side as much as possible so that you apply the lotion to your dog's skin and not to the exterior of the fur.
When you use sunscreen on your dog, you're helping him enjoy the outdoors with you for as long as possible.