Did you know that dogs are susceptible to sunburn just as much as humans are? Most people assume that just because dogs have long coats and fur they are exempt from the harmful rays of the sun. Well, there are partly right but also partly wrong.
Yes, dog fur provide some level of protection for dogs against sunburns, but that protection doesn’t necessarily extend to their whole bodies. After all, there are parts of their bodies that are exposed like their noses, ear tips, bellies, armpits, etc.
Which dogs are most at risk of sun damage?
The types of dogs to watch out for the most, are those dogs with thin, light skin/fur and the hairless ones. These are the most high-risk breeds that need to be protected the most when going outside.
This is because, if they were to spend too much time out in the sun without any form of protection, there is a high risk of them ending up with serious skin conditions like skin cancer. It could even further aggravate any pre-existing conditions such as atopy and dermatitis.
Some of the dog breeds that are the most at risk include; Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, French Bulldogs, Chinese Crested Dogs, among others.
Do dogs need sunscreen?
Absolutely! Although, you should avoid using human sunscreen because some of these products are made using toxic chemicals like zinc oxide and artificial perfumes. So, if your pooch ends up licking themselves, they could accidentally ingest it, which you want to avoid.
You should try to use dog sunscreen, as there are several brands out in the market to choose from, and those are formulated to be completely safe and toxin-free.
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When Should I Apply Dog Sunscreen?
As a given rule, it should be applied whenever you are stepping outside of the house in the daytime, particularly when the sun’s rays are at their peak between 10 am and 2 pm. You should also apply it liberally from the coat, down to the skin, and make sure to do it before leaving the house and every two or so hours that you spend outside.
Don’t forget to apply it to their most sensitive areas. This means applying sunscreen around their belly, nose, ears, etc. The most exposed area to watch out for though is the back, so make sure to apply a little extra there too.
If you plan on spending more time outside, then consider keeping your dog protected under a shaded area, especially during peak hours. Try to keep your outside excursions and walks limited to the early hours of the morning or early evenings too.
Finally, always make sure that they stay hydrated and that the pavement is not too hot for their paws. If you place your hand down on the pavement and it still feels hot after five seconds, then that is definitely too hot. To combat this, you can always purchase some dog boots for your pet to keep them safe during walks.