The best part of summer is all of the great outdoor activities you can do with your friends…especially man’s best friend, your dog. Whether it’s planning trips to the lake or outdoor summer barbecues make sure you keep your canine protected and healthy. No matter what your plans are for enjoying the great Boise, ID weather with your four legged best friend keep your dog safe from the scalding sun’s rays.
Is your dog at risk for sunburn?
Like people, dogs exposed to too much sun can end up with a sunburn and like yourself it’s best to protect your dog from the scorching sun’s rays than to deal with the aftermath of a day of sun exposure without proper protection. A sunburn will appear on your furry four legged family member as a bright pink or reddish tone on the skin and can also include hair loss in the affected area.
What areas on your dog are vulnerable to the sun’s rays?
The ear tips, bridge of the nose, around the eyes and abdomen are all sensitive areas on a dog’s skin. These areas have thinner hair and are more exposed. If your sun-worshiping Fido loves to catch a nap or lay out with their tummy basking in the rays be sure to apply sunscreen to their exposed underside areas. Other areas to be aware of are their noses, earflaps, and any shaved or bare batches.
Block the Sun?
Believe it or not there are sunscreens out there that were specifically created for your pooch! However, if you’re in a pinch you can also use Baby Sunscreen (That does not contain Zinc Oxide). No matter the brand of Sunscreen it should be fragrance free, non-staining, and contain UVA and UVB Barriers similar to SPF 15 or SPF 30. (Sun Protection Factor (SPF) has not been rated for animals, and because of this, SPS of animal-specific products should be labeled as “comparable to” their human counterparts, according to FDA requirements.) It is recommended to use at least 1 tablespoon of SPF for each body area treated and remember to reapply sunscreen to your dog every 4 to 6 hours or after a long time in the water.
Bottom line: Never use sunscreens that contain zinc oxide on your dog.
*Important: Zinc oxide is effective as a sunscreen for humans, but it’s toxic for dogs. If ingested, it can damage your dog’s delicate red blood cells, causing them to explode. The resulting anemia can be severe and require a blood transfusion.
How do you treat your Dog if a Sunburn Does Occur?
Treat sunburns with an all-natural remedy. After a cool bath, apply Witch-hazel to the sunburned areas. A natural antioxidant and astringent, Witch-hazel cools down sunburn and inflamed areas. Simply use a cotton ball and apply witch hazel to affected areas several times a day. Or you can use a 100% pure Aloe Vera gel to sunburn spots, since it is non-toxic. For sunburned noses, break open a vitamin E capsule, squeeze out the oil, and dab it onto your dog’s sunburned snout once or twice a day. An antioxidant with healing properties, vitamin E also prevents scarring. For severe burns, you’ll need antibiotics. Open sores and bad burns need an antibiotic ointment, so visit your vet immediately if this occurs.
Bask in the rays with your knowledge!
Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the heat. With summer, dog owners are excited to take their Fido along during their summer jaunts by taking a few simple precautions, you will help protect your dog and you will both have a lot more fun under the strong summer sun’s rays!