Should Your Dog Be Wearing Sunscreen?
Even with storms in the forecast, Lubbock managed to reach a scorching 98 degrees yesterday with more 90s in the forecast this afternoon. With the summer heat setting in a bit earlier this year, we're quickly reminded of the importance of lathering up with sunscreen to avoid sunburn. While we make a valiant effort to prioritize our skin safety, what about our pups?
Can dogs get sunburned? Can they get skin cancer? The answer to both questions is 'yes.' While most dogs' fur coats protect them from some of the sun's UV rays, their faces and bellies do not have that natural layer of protection. Moreover, many breeds like Chinese Crested Dogs and American Hairless Terriers have little to no hair whatsoever.
Additionally, just like humans, animals with less pigment in their skin are more susceptible to sunburn. Thus, dogs with pink noses and eyelids, as well as those with light colored coats, need some added protection.
Just like with humans, sunscreen is a fantastic solution. However, you can't just grab the same bottle that you would use on yourself.
Since our pets like to stick their mouths where they don't belong, we don't want to expose them to compounds that could be toxic, such as zinc oxide. (IMPORTANT: That sunscreen ingredient is perfectly safe for humans because we don't lick our skin after sunscreen is applied.) Instead, look for sunscreens that are specifically formulated for our pups.
Banana Boat has sunscreen sticks, aerosol sprays and wipes available for purchase. Epi-Pet, Lucky Pup and Petkin also have sun safety products on the market. While both PetSmart locations in Lubbock have the stick varieties of the ever popular Banana Boat brand, if you want more options, check out Chewy.com.
Finally, it's also imperative that your pups get plenty of time in the shade and in air conditioning to remain cool in the extreme heat that we see across the South Plains each summer. They also need plenty of liquids to help them regulate their temperatures and stay hydrated.
And don't forget about their paws. The pads of their feet can also burn when they're exposed to hot surfaces. Paw waxes can help to diminish the impact of these areas, but you also need to avoid walking your pups on hot pavement when it's too toasty outside.