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Sunscreen for Fido?

Sunscreen for Fido?

The days are getting longer. The weather’s getting nicer. The sun is getting…more dangerous by the year, right?

We all know that sunscreen is crucial these days, but have you ever thought about offering some UV protection to your pet? Do pets get sunburned?

Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM, answers this question on the Dogster and Catster Vet Blog. Yes, the sun is damaging to your pet. (We’re of course talking about cats and dogs mainly, here. Maybe guinea pigs, if you take them to the park. We’re not quite sure, but it doesn't hurt to talk to your own vet about it.)

Dr. Barschas says that short haired or hairless pets like Sphynx cats and Dalmatians are most at risk, but that most dogs and cats have sparse hair on their bellies, so they’re also at risk if they’re lying on their back in the sun.

The sun poses other dangers for pets besides getting sunburned. Dogs may experience hair loss or color changes, and cats with white hair can develop a certain type of skin cancer.

The best way to protect your pet from the harmful rays of the sun is to keep them indoors or in the shade. If this is not an option, try using a non-toxic, water-resistant human sunscreen to areas most likely to burn (good luck with keeping them from licking it off), or dress them in some sort of lightweight animal clothing, like dog shirts.

If you’re adopting a pet during the summer, get things off to a good start by keeping them safe from the sun!

Posted: 5/29/08