Should your pet be wearing sunscreen?

White cat up close

Whether you love to tan or prefer the shade, most humans take precautions when the sun shines and protect our skin from burn or damage with sunscreen. However, should we being doing the same for our furry friends? Are our pets prone to sunburn? According to many pet health experts, the answer is yes.

Dogs are prone to sunburn and to other complications and diseases associated with sun exposure such as certain types of skin cancer. Sunburn can also exacerbate certain other conditions such as dermatitis.

Some dog breeds are more at risk than others. Dogs with white or thin coats and those with light-pigmented noses and eyelids are also at higher risk of sunburn such as Whippets or Dalmatians.

Cats are notorious sun worshippers, but are also at risk according to International Cat Care. They explain that any cat can be at risk of sunburn but particularly cats with white, thin or no hair, who can suffer from severe sunburn due to the nature of their skin.

As with dogs and humans, repeated sun exposure can lead to sore and damaged skin, which can in turn develop into certain types of skin cancer.

Read our blog on Sunburn in Cats on our site.

So should your pet wear sunscreen?

For dogs or cats that are most at risk, the answer is yes. Applying a sunscreen intended for pets to more vulnerable areas (such as noses, tips of the ears and the belly!) will offer protection and prevent serious sun damage.

It’s really important that you only use formulas that are specifically intended for your pet as some that are considered safe for dogs, may not be safe for cats. You should be able to buy this at a pet store, or your vet might be able to recommend a brand.

If you’re using a new product then you should also monitor your pet for any adverse reactions to the sunscreen. You could also test it out on a small area of skin and check for any redness or irritation before applying elsewhere.

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