“More SPF, please!” – Mesa (l.) and Pashmina (r.)
To close out Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I thought we’d talk about protecting pets from the sun. Pets are important family members. At least mine are. (I am also over the sunscreen and wide-brimmed hat song and dance, although sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats are important.)
I asked Dr. Kim Smyth, staff veterinarian at Petplan Pet Insurance for some easy-to-follow tips. She was happy to oblige. “A lot of pet parents don’t realize that sunburn can be a summer scorcher for their furry friends, too!,” she told me in an email.
Dogs are susceptible to sunburn, especially those with short, white coats, light-colored skin, sparse tummy fur, or those that get a summer haircut. To keep dogs protected, Smyth suggests applying an SPF 40 to 45 sunscreen to the bridge of the nose, ear tips, belly, skin surrounding the lips, and any area with little pigmentation is low.
Sunscreens formulated for kids or sports tend to have less perfume, which may help prevent an allergic reaction, said Smyth, However, check with your veterinarian before applying sunscreen to your pet. You can also pick up pet sunscreen specifically for dogs. A quick Google search turned up Epi-Pet SPF 30 for dogs and horses.
It is important protect cats from sunburn, too, especially white cats or cats with sparse fur, Smyth said. The tips of the ears are a common place for squamous cell carcinoma to develop, and this cancer is directly related to sun exposure.
Finding a cat-safe sunscreen can be a challenge, so ask your veterinarian where to find it locally, said Smyth. And don’t forget about indoor cats who love basking in the sun. Smyth said one option is installing UV-blocking window film to protect indoor cats from harmful UV rays. I guess I need to go to Home Depot.
Do you put sunscreen on your pet? Let me know in the comments!
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. As a beauty blogger, I feel like I should devote a few posts to this important issue. So I am going to do a skin cancer-related post every week or so throughout the month. You can read my first three posts here, here, and here.
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