Summer is a time to be out in the sun, and if we have a canine friend they are likely to be out in the sun with us. You take precautions to make sure you don’t burn, you get to the shade when you start to get exhausted, and you drink plenty of water. Right? Be aware that you need to do all of these things for your dog, too!
Because of their thick fur and sometimes tough skin, we don’t often think about a dog getting sunburn. But it happens every day. White dogs and dogs with thinner hair are more susceptible than others, and every dog is susceptible to sunburn on his ears and his little pink (or black, or brown…) nose! Sunburn appears on dogs as it would on humans, as red, dry skin that may become itchy and irritated, and in severe cases may form blisters and cause hair loss.
Luckily for dog owners there are many sunscreens available at your pet store. Many are of the spray-on variety, because yes it does seem kind of yucky to slather lotion all over a dog’s fur. But be sure you reapply spray-screen often and liberally if you are out in the sun for long periods, or if your dog is swimming. For noses and ears, lotion sunscreen works best. You can purchase the dog-specific brands, or you can simply use an all-natural baby sunblock. Baby sunblock may cost less and is much easier to come by if you end up at the beach without protection.
In addition to sunblocking your dog, you can also keep him under wraps from those nasty rays. Doggy swimsuits, light colored t-shirts, and even doggy sunglasses can help reduce your pup’s exposure. Bun in the hottest conditions, don’t forget that the best thing to do after a good round of fetch or a good dip in the waves is to simply get the dog out of the sun for awhile. On top of sunburn, heat exhaustion can set in and ruin your dog’s fun summer day.
Ask your vet about sunscreen options for your dog, especially if he has sensitive skin or is a less hairy breed. You local pet boutique may also be able to recommend a good sunscreen. But in a pinch, you are certainly a good dog parent even if you have to run to the drugstore for plain old Coppertone — protecting your dog with the same products you would use on your baby seems funny, but your furry babies need the same care in the summer sun.