It is the fear of melanoma that makes most people use sunscreen religiously. Skin cancer is known to be potentially fatal, and people are very careful about the sun’s rays. It may seem rather odd but sunscreen is also extremely important for pets, especially those who are outdoors most of the time.
Animals are susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Those that are most vulnerable are animals with either light or nonexistent coats of hair and those who have naturally white coats. It may seem peculiar that animals which were once wild would have sensitivity to the sun, but even normally outdoor animals like cats can get sunburned. Pet owners have to be aware of this and take precautions to avoid not just severe discomfort, but health risks to their pets.
When cats are not outside they have a habit of sleeping by the windowsill and may stay in the sunlight for hours at a time. Even though they are indoors, ultraviolet light can penetrate through the window glass and pose a threat. Windows with film on them are one way of keeping the pet safe, but white-haired cats that spend a lot of time near regular window glass risk developing squamous cell carcinoma. The sunscreen used on cats has to be a specific brand design for feline use. The primary reason is that cats are constantly grooming themselves and ingesting certain sunscreens can make them seriously ill.
Dog spent a lot of time outdoors with their owners and those breeds that are hairless or have white coats are very susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun. Owners should look for those areas on the dog’s skin that have pink color. These have less protection from the sun and will require sunscreen to protect the animal. Other areas include the bridge of the nose, the belly, and ear tips. The sunscreen ought to be applied every several hours if the dog will be outside for extended periods. Being near shady areas is going to be helpful because the foliage will block the sun.
In looking for the proper sunscreen, the pet owner has to shop for the
animal equivalent of an ultraviolet ray blocker. These commonly have the ingredients SPF 15 or SPF 30 properly displayed on the labels. Any sunblock that contains zinc oxide or Octyl Salicylate should not be used at all. Zinc oxide in particular can cause serious gastrointestinal problems in the animal if ingested. The animal may have an allergic reaction to the sunblock and if a rash develops veterinarians should be contacted immediately for appropriate treatment. It is still important to make sure the dog gets plenty of exercise to avoid heart problems or becoming overweight. What the pet owner ought to do is schedule walks with the dog in the early morning, or in the early evening when the sun is not as much of a problem. Often simply moving the cat from the windowsill to some other place will keep exposure to the sun at a minimum level. The rays of the sun are yet another reason not to keep a dog or cat locked up in a car. Besides becoming dangerously warm, ultraviolet rays will penetrate through untended glass of the car.
The various breeds of cats and dogs are highly susceptible to sunburn or skin cancer. The veterinarians should be consulted to better determine the amount of risk a pet has to sun damage. May to September are the months to be particularly careful, and checking the daily weather can be a gauge of how long a pet should be out in the sun on the given day. If the pet owners bring his or her little friend along on summer vacation the sunscreen should be packed for the animal as well.
Sunscreen for animals has ingredients that are safe for the dog or cat. They also are great precaution to protect the animal’s health. Again, most people don’t realize that their pets are just as prone to skin cancer from sun exposure as any human. Any sign of sunburn should be dealt with as soon as possible. The irritation may cause the animal to scratch sunburn area and can lead to sores. A pet should be able to enjoy the summer as much as its owner. A little bit of sunscreen can see to it that those hot days are more bearable with no chance of sunburn spoiling the day.