It’s a gorgeous time of year, perfect for spending time outdoors in the fresh air with a dog by your side. I’m picturing long walks, beach-days and lazy picnics – bliss!
But with rising temperatures and bright sunshine comes the risk of sunburn both for you AND your beloved dog.
We humans may sometimes turn a blind eye to sun exposure, but our dogs, unfortunately, don’t have a say in the matter – so as a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your doggo well protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Avoid taking your dog out in the sun during the hottest part of the day. Between 10am and 4pm is usually a safe bet, but keep an eye on the UV index. When the UV index reaches 3, stay under cover.
Remember – even on a cloudy day, you and your dog can still suffer from nasty sun damage! If the UV index is high, shade is great - but indoors is best.
If you are planning on being outside and there isn’t a lot of shade available, say in a park or at the beach, purchase a generous-sized beach umbrella or foldable sunshade. And check the sun-protection rating of the material so that you know it will do the job.
Consider a doggy sunscreen. Do be sure to track down a veterinary recommended product and don’t use a strong human sunscreen – your dog will potentially lick their fur at some point and ingest some of the product. Always patch test your dog beforehand, and reapply every few hours or after swimming.
Purchase a doggy sun-shirt. There are some super cute shirts on the market that provide UVA and UVB protection, which can really help avoid sunburn through fur.
Does your dog have a new sunspot or mole on their skin? Inform your vet and keep a close eye on it. Take a picture on your smartphone just to keep track of the spot, and if you see any changes let your vet know immediately.
If your dog is unfortunate enough to suffer from sunburn, keep them in a cool, quiet place with plenty of water. Chat with your vet who may be able to recommend a soothing ointment.
Please note that if your dog has white fur, pink skin under their fur, white tips or a pale nose, be extra mindful. These pale puppers are far more susceptible to sunburn than other dogs and are at a much higher risk of developing sunspots that can lead to skin cancers.
With a bit of planning, care and awareness, you can be sure your dog can have a great summer without the discomfort and pain of sunburn.
Be safe and have fun!
Jess is a pet fanatic and blog writer for Pawshake, an online service connecting pet owners with local pet sitters. She has always been a dog owner, but currently is the proud parent of a shelter cat called Benjamin. She has experience as a pet sitter herself and loves finding ways to make the pet sitting process smooth, safe and fun for everyone involved.