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Keeping your pet safe in summer: Sun burn special

Did you know pets can also suffer from sun burn? Many pet owners are unaware of the skin risks pets can suffer when out in the sun.

If you’re planning an outdoor trip with your dog, or if your cat regularly spends time outside, make sure to protect them from the harsh UV rays of the sun.

Just like humans, canines and felines are susceptible to painful burns and potential skin cancer. 

Which pets get sunburned?

Some animals are more susceptible to getting burned by the sun. White dogs and cats, for instance, tend to have fair skin underneath their fur — and a greater potential for sun damage. 

Pets with naturally thin hair, and especially hairless breeds, are also at risk for sunburn and skin cancer. All cats and dogs, regardless of the thickness of their coats, have vulnerable areas of the body with less fur or none at all. 

The belly and the ears have delicate skin, and even a nose’s can become dried out and sore.

Watch out for paws on hot roads and paths

As well as sunburn, hot roads and paths are also something important to consider during summer as paws can get burnt.

Avoid going for walks during the middle of hot days and make sure to test the temperature of the paths you are walking on. Take precautions to walk in the shade or carry your dog if you need to cross hot paths and roads.

Prevention

1. Shade

Always provide shade for your pet. Cats are slightly trickier to keep out of the sun, as many of them enjoy a warm patch – however it’s very common for cats to suffer sunburn to their ears. 

This can result in skin cancer and an operation will be required to take the tips of their ears off.

Princess at our Somerset centre is an example of how cancer can harm lighter coloured cats – despite being semi-long haired.

Above: Princess had her ears operated on after being diagnosed with skin cancer 

Monitor your cat’s activity and provide a space for them to enjoy the warm, but not in direct sunlight.

As for dogs, a big umbrella at the beach, a shady tree at a park, a roof for your backyard patio, or a sun-block top for an outdoor kennel could help prevent them being under the UV. 

2. Sun block 

You can access pet-friendly sun block in most pet retailers. It is important this is applied to areas that has little to no fur coverage and may be more exposed such as ears, groin, nose and stomach.

It’s vital you purchase a pet-friendly brand to prevent potential harm caused by licking and ingestion.

3. Treatment

If you suspect your pet has sunburn, veterinary care is recommended immediately. 

Treatment of sunburn is based on the severity of the burn. After diagnosis and initial treatment, continued treatment medication may be necessary.

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