One of my former clients has a cat, whose name is Johny Cash – Mr Cash loves the sun.
Unfortunately, white cats, have very little pigment and are prone to sunburns, and skin cancer.
Sunburn is common in pale and short-haired dogs, usually on the bridge of the nose, the abdomen, groin, and insides of the legs.
The belly is prone to sunburn because of sunlight that reflects up from the sidewalk.
Similarly, dogs that spend a lot of time at beaches can get sunburn from sun reflecting up from the hot sand.
Sunburn and repeated, excessive exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma, in dogs and cats as it does in humans.
Therefore, breeds that are predisposed to cancer, such as boxers and Weimaraners, need extra protection from the sun.
Sunburn can also cause skin ulceration, leaving the skin susceptible to opportunistic bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infectio ns.
Sun exposure may also exacerbate autoimmune skin diseases in which the immune system attacks skin cells, such as pemphigus and lupus.
So what is a pet owner to do??
To protect pets from sunburn and its consequences, apply sunblock on the small susceptible areas of skin, such as the bridge of the nose and the ear tips.
You can also apply a line of sunblock along any part in the fur along the head or back.
For cats, sunblock is usually sufficient.
For dogs, sunblock is usually not effective on the abdomen, since it can rub off in tall grass, wash off at the beach, or be easily licked off by the dog or its playmates.
There are spandex-type bodysuits on the market designed to block UV radiation.
I highly recommend these for dogs who spend a lot of time outside, especially dogs who visit the beach.
Although the idea of bringing a bodysuit-clad dog to the park or beach may sound ridiculous or embarrassing, it may be the most effective and important sun protection you can provide for your pet.
Doggie bodysuits are common at some beaches, and they don’t look ridiculous if all the other dogs are wearing one.
You can find sunscreen made for pets at pet supply stores, or you can apply zinc oxide or PABA-free sunscreen.
Be careful not to get the sunblock it in your pet’s eyes.
My last word of advice is to feed your dog or cat ingredients that can protect against disease- such as cancer.
Here is what I a feeding my own pets to protect them:
Now that you’re prepared, enjoy the dog (and cat) days of summer!!