Summer is finally here and you know what that means- SURF, SAND, and SUNscreen! Yes, even for your pets! Like humans, pets are susceptible to and can suffer from sun damage due to exposure and need protection from those harsh rays. Without proper precautions, your pet is at risk for changes in skin color or nails, sunburn, sun rash, and even tumors. Dogs and cats with pigmented skin or thick hair coats are usually less susceptible to UV radiation because their coats act as a protective barrier, while those with thinner hair coats or areas with less pigmentation are more susceptible. Areas that are particularly sensitive to sun exposure and sunburn include muzzle, tips of ears and bare bellies – especially in breeds such as Pit Bulls, Boxers, Whippets, Dalmatians and Bull Terriers. Surprising, thinly haired bellies are commonly sun-burned because the sun reflects off the concrete and many dogs also enjoy sunbathing belly-side up. Sphinx (a hairless kitty) and especially cats with white ears/noses are the ones commonly seen with solar damage among our feline friends. Also, don’t forget pets who have recently been clipped either for cooler summer hairdos, for surgical preparation or treatment of wounds/skin problems, are also at increased risk for sunburn.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet and the sun, please don’t hesitate to contact Kingsbrook Animal Hospital at 301-631-6900.