Beware! The Sun Can Be Harmful to Your Pets!
The Spirit of Bo, returning to enlighten our fans with some helpful late summertime tips for your pets:
Summer time is a fun time for pets and owners alike. They get to romp and play in the sun…and so do the pets! However, did you know that some pets that get out in the sun or nap in its glorious rays are at risk of sunburn and solar-induced cancer?
Skin cancer in pets is not a well-known issue but 33% of tumors in dogs have their origin in the skin and about a third of those are malignant. Roughly 25% of feline cancers are skin cancers and, not including basal cell cancers, it is estimated that 75% of feline skin tumors are malignant.
Dogs with pale skin and thin hair, such as Italian greyhounds, white pit bulls and white boxers, as well as cats with pink or pale noses, are highly susceptible to damage from the sun. Even reflected sun exposure can contribute to solar-induced cancers. This may include the sunlight that is reflected off of a sandy beach or a hot sidewalk, which in turn strikes the belly of your pet, which is a key area where tumors are discovered.
So…what to do? Turn off the sun? Lock the pets inside at all times except midnight? No, but you can take your dog for his walk in the early morning or in the cooler evening hours and limit his outdoor play during the peak hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Consider tinting the windows in your home, too. If you pet loves to nap under sunny windows, install glare-reducing insulating or privacy films with UV-filtering protection. Choose a protection level of at least 90%.
You may also want to purchase some sun-protective apparel for your pet to wear which can block those harmful ultraviolet rays from hitting his skin. Look for a protection factor rating of at least 30. Consider coats, visors and belly bands.
Although pets are cooler with less fur in the hot summer months, avoid those close shaves and maintain at least a half inch of fur on your pet. This protects his skin from sun damage.
There are also vet-approved sunscreen lotions for dogs. Please DO NOT use sunscreen lotions made for humans, as some contain ingredients highly toxic to cats.
If your pet sustains a sunburn, bring him inside to a cool area; wrap him in a cool, wet towel and then seek treatment at your veterinarian’s office.
It’s hot! Stay cool!
Thanks to Prevention Magazine (August 2013 issue) for this helpful information