Enjoying a warm summer day outdoors is indeed a delightful experience for you as well as your pet. But have you ever wondered how your pet will manage to cope with the glare and heat? While you stretch on a beach, dabbing generous amounts of sunscreen lotion on your body and looking through your tinted glasses, your pet will simply whimper and look for shady corners.
If you assumed that the fur of your dog is capable of protecting him from all sorts of weather, you are completely wrong. Your dog is as vulnerable to sunburn as you are. A good quality dog sunscreen can protect the delicate skin of your dog.
Why Do You Need a Sunscreen for Dogs?
Sunburns are more visible on the human body, as our skin changes its appearance. First, there is tanning, then you get blisters and eventually, there is damage to the underlying tissue. The stages of sunburn occur in a similar way in dogs, except there is no blistering. The dog's skin gets red and inflamed if exposed to the sun for a long time.
Dogs with very thin coat are more susceptible to sunburns. Similarly, dogs with pale fur color are also more likely to get sunburns. Dogs with thick, long hair are better protected from sun damage as compared to other dogs. However, this does not ensure that they are safe from sunburns. The fur does not cover the mouth, nose, tips of ear, belly, and groin area, thereby exposing these delicate parts to the sun. Hence, sunscreen for dog's nose, ear tips, and belly is a must.
Even the glare reflecting from pavements and other such surfaces is capable of inducing sunburn in these canines. Besides, some dogs have a habit of lying down on their back with legs up in the air. This can expose the belly to sun damage even in dog breeds with a thick fur coat. Too much of sun exposure may put your pet dog at the risk of skin cancer.
Can't You Use Human Sunscreen Instead?
No, you can't, as it contains many ingredients that are potentially harmful for your dog. It is highly unlikely that your pet will understand why you are dabbing sunscreen on his body and therefore, he is very likely to lick it off. The ingestion of human sunscreen can be harmful for dogs; even fatal at times. Even small amount of harmful substances like para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and silicone can prove to be detrimental for their health. As for sunscreens meant for dogs, they are formulated without these ingredients.
What to Look for When Buying a Sunscreen for Your Pet?
While buying dog sunscreen, it's important that you keep an eye for its contents. It should be capable of protecting the dog from UVA and UVB radiation. Hence, a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more is your best bet. Opting for a waterproof sunscreen is also a good idea, as the chances of your dog getting wet exist in plenty. Sunscreen free from PABA, silicone, and zinc oxide, is generally considered safe for pets. Additionally, some pet supply stores sell what they claim to be a natural sunscreen. You will come across several products, especially on the Internet, but experts recommend that you should settle for Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen Spray, as it is the only product approved by the FDA.
If you do not find a good sunscreen for your dog, you may as well go for sunscreens formulated especially for babies. These sunscreens are mild and have no harmful ingredients, which makes them ideal for dogs. While applying or spraying sunscreen, make sure the dog does not inhale it. Also, make sure that it doesn't enter his eyes, nose, or ears. Ideally, after applying the sunscreen, you should keep an eye on the dog until it gets absorbed by the skin.
Dog sunscreen is the best way to protect your pooch from torturous heat. If you are unable to find a suitable sunscreen for him, make sure you wrap him in clothes while taking him outdoors.