It's 82 degrees and sunny in North Andover, MA, which is common in July and August, but did I mention it is March? Spring officially began two days ago, and the temps have been incredible. I love the heat, so for me I'm fine rolling right into Summer.
Don't forget to get the sunscreen out for both you and your dog. Although they do not sunburn as easily as people, dogs can suffer from sunburn. Most often, dogs sustain a superficial partial thickness burn. Only the top layer of skin is involved. The skin appears red and no blisters are seen. White animals and those that have a hair cut or naturally thin (or nonexistent) hair coats are particularly sensitive to the sun, and may suffer the same ills as humans: sunburn and skin cancers. This Quick Tip offers ideas and cautions for protecting your pet on those sunny days. The two most important tips to prevent sunburn: provide shade and sunblock. If you suspect your dog has a sunburn of any degree, veterinary care is recommended.
Apply sunscreen to your dog before spending time outdoors. Like humans, pets should have sunblock applied to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose the belly and groin areas that typically have sparse hair coverage and thinner skin. Some dogs will sunbathe belly up. Additionally, many people get "summer cuts" for their dogs to reduce matting and keep the pets comfortable in the summer heat. Sunburn is a definite possibility, and groomers should warn pet owners of this possibility.
What products are safe to use for dogs? Remember that dogs are adept at licking off topical lotions, sprays and creams. These substances can be toxic for dogs. It was once recommended that anything safe for human babies would be OK to use on pets with supervision (let the lotion soak in before licking can occur), and that is a guideline, but with the following considerations in mind.
Using products on a species not covered by product usage guidelines is off-label usage. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to using any human products or medications on your pet. Toxicities resulting from off-label usage by pet owners was the number one pet health insurance claim in a survey by VPI. It is very important to read all instructions and directions before applying any product to your pet.
Epi-Pet Sun Protector has FDA approval for use on pets and will soon be available for purchase at theboatingdog.