Updated: Feb 18
We all love the summer and the freedom of the outdoors that it brings into our lives. But…put
yourself in your dogs paws for a moment. When you’re out and about with them - you need to be
aware of a few dangers lurking. Here’s our guide to a safe summer with your furry friend.
It’s a little known fact that your dog could be as exposed to the affects of the sun as much as you
are. If you plan to spend your day in the outdoors, walking, playing at the beach, camping etc, then
there are ways you should consider protecting them.
Dogs can be known to get skin cancer - and certainly sunburn isn’t something that you want to risk
inflicting on them wither.
Pets who live outdoors for the majority of the time can suffer squamous cell carcinoma that affects
the tips of their ears and noses; ulcerated sores that have to be treated immediately before it
spreads and they lose their lives.
Dark-skinned, densely-coated dogs like many labradors or terriers, are usually alright. But a white,
light-coloured, sparse-coated dogs like a Bichon Frise are especially at risk. That’s why we do not
recommend that you shave their pets down during the height of the summer season unless you are
fully aware of the risks of sunburn.
If you think your dog has been sunburned then the one treatment is the most natural one; aloe
vera. However, if the situation looks more serious then it might entail a trip to the vet.
Prevention is better than cure however, and there are a section of sunscreens for dogs available
on the market. This comprehensive guide from Pet Life Today lists a lot of them and this article
from Good Housekeeping also has some good tips. There are also ideas in this article from All
Natural Pet Care for things you can feed your dog that will protect them from the inside out in the
most natural way.
However, you may pay through the nose for many specialist items! So its good to know that any
“natural” sunscreen meant for children should also work on your dog as they have the very same
skin as us. These creams tend to be lower in the more nasty-if-ingested chemicals, such as zinc
oxide, which your dog WILL lick off their nose.
Ensure that it is fragrance-free, non-staining and contains UVA and UVB barriers of SPF 50. Avoid
those with zinc or PABA as they are very toxic if ingested. Products containing titanium dioxide as
an active ingredient are okay to use for your pets. Apply the cream to their muzzle, tips of ears, top
of nose, groin, inside legs, and abdomen.
Epi-Pet sunscreen is pH-balanced for pets and designed for dogs and horses. It is a non-greasy,
quick-dry formula that is safe if licked after applied. It is water and sweat repellant. The sunscreen
is even virtually silent when sprayed.
But it isn’t just their skin that you should be aware of. Pad burns, which can happen to dogs walked
on hot asphalt or sand, can be very painful ending up in blistering burns that need to be see by the
vet. Just remember, if you couldn’t walk on it without shoes, then the dog probably can’t either.
When we are hot we sweat to expel heat. Our furry friends, however, only perspire around their
paws, so to cool down, they pant. This enables them to take air through their nasal passages,
picking up excess heat from the body, which is then expelled through the mouth.
Heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heatstroke and become an emergency situation. Be aware
of the signs:
Dog becomes anxious
Lack of response to commands