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Pet Sunburn Care and Prevention

t’s summer and the sun is ablazen. Hopefully you apply sunscreen whenever you go outside.  Well what about your pets? Animals are also at risk of excessive exposure to UV rays.

Dogs and cats with white or thin coats, those with little or no skin pigmentation are at particular risk. This applies in particular to those parts of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun. These areas include ears, bridge of the nose, eyelids and the back. Some pets love lying on their backs thus exposing their bellies. Cats with non healing scabs on eyelids , noses or ear margins may be showing signs of sun related lesions.

What to do. As a rule pets should have a shady place to lay in, especially at midday when the sun is at its strongest. Sensitive animals require sun protection in the form of a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of a least 30 or a sunblock containing zinc oxide. For long hikes through the mountains where the sun’s rays are strongest, sensitive animals should wear a t-shirt or hat for protection. 

Sunburn results in acute inflammation of the skin that can cause itching or pain. If sunburn is visible as reddened, warm or flaking skin, the animal should be moved to the shade as quickly as possible. Cool compresses may help soothe the skin. Frequent sunburns can lead to pre-cancerous conditions and even skin cancer.

Next time you go outside for a hike be sure to apply sunscreen to yourself and your trusted companions.

If you are concerned about the health of your pet’s skin then a checkup by Dr. Shaw is a good idea. He offers a full range of pet dermatology care.

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