For the last 20 years or so we have all been learning about the dangers of sunbathing & burning your skin we should remember the same goes for our pets.
White animals and those that have a hair cut or naturally thin (or nonexistent) hair coats are particularly sensitive to the sun, and may suffer the same ills as humans: sunburn and skin cancers. This Quick Tip offers ideas and cautions for protecting your pet on those sunny days. The two most important tips to prevent sunburn: provide shade and sunblock.
Availability of shade and fresh water should be available at all times to keep your pet comfortable and prevent heat stoke. This is obvious, but for outdoor pets, if their quarters can be fully shaded (such as a kennel), risks of sun damage are greatly reduced. Consider a sun block top for outdoor housing.
Like humans, pets should have sunblock applied to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose the belly and groin areas that typically have sparse hair coverage and thinner skin. Cats love to sunbathe and some dogs will too, belly up. Additionally, many people get “summer cuts” for their cats and dogs to reduce matting and keep the pets comfortable in the summer heat. Sunburn is a definite possibility, and groomers should warn pet owners of this possibility.
What products are safe to use for pets? It should be remembered that dogs and especially cats are adept at licking off topical lotions, sprays and creams. These substances can be toxic for dogs and especially for cats. It was once recommended that anything safe for human babies would be OK to use on pets with supervision (let the lotion soak in before licking can occur), and that is a guideline, but with the following considerations in mind.
Using products on a species not covered by product usage guidelines is off-label usage. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to using any human products or medications on your pet. Toxicities resulting from off-label usage by pet owners was the number one pet health insurance claim in a survey by VPI. It is very important to read all instructions and directions before applying any product to your pet.