We all know the dangers of prolonged exposure to the sun to ourselves but did you know your pets are at risk as well? With Sun Awareness Week coming up from 14th – 20th May, we wanted to warn pet owners to take precautions this summer, to ensure the safety of their furry friends.
Many owners assume that fur protects their pets from skin complications,including cancers, however this is not always the case especially for animals with lighter fur and exposed skin. It is increasingly important for owners to know and recognise the dangers of excessive sun exposure on pets as our data shows a 35.7% increase in incidences of melanoma in cats and dogs in the UK since 2015.
As well as the risk to your animal’s health, treatment for this condition can be very expensive, costing on average £380.48, but in more serious cases vet bills can run into the thousands. Ensuring your pet has insurance can help guard against such high treatment costs.
Does my pet need sunscreen?
There are a few factors that determine whether your pet will need extra protection from the sun.
- Light coloured fur
- Short or fine fur
- Exposed skin (such as on the belly or around the muzzle)
If your pet has dark, thick fur, they will be much more protected. However, you should still pay close attention to how much time they are exposed to the sun each day.
What type of sunscreen can you use on pets?
We recommend the use of sunscreen made especially for pets, which can be purchased online or in leading pet stores – and should especially be used on those with short, fine fur or areas of exposed skin.
If owners are unable to find pet sunscreen, sunscreen designed for human babies or children can also be used – provided it is fragrance free and above SPF 15, and does not contain zinc oxide, which can be toxic to pets.
Skin cancer is not the only risk to pets from excessive exposure to sunshine. Heatstroke can also be a problem for animals if they are kept out in the sun for prolonged periods with no access to shade. Apart from being a traumatic experience for our pets, if they come down with a severe case of it then vet bills will have to be reckoned with also.
Top tips for keeping your animals safe in the sun
- Limit the amount of time pets spend in the sun, especially during the peak of the day.
- Use special pet sun cream on light or thin fur, the nose, ears or other exposed patches.
- Give them plenty of cool, clean water, refreshed regularly.
- Clip long-haired pets to prevent them from overheating.
- Never leave animals locked in cars, even for a few minutes.
- Avoid walking dogs between 8am and 5pm on hot summer days to avoid the main heat of the day.
- Consult a vet immediately if you notice ulcers, sores or sudden discolouration on your pet’s skin.
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