Playing safe in the sun isn’t news for most Australian and New Zealanders, but how often do we consider those harmful UV rays when it comes to our pet? By Katie Cincotta.
Just like humans, our cats and dogs can get sunburnt, and in the worst cases, can even get dangerous skin cancers. So, it’s important to play it safe over summer and protect them from those harsh rays – especially if you’ve got a dog who loves to hit the waves, bask on the lawn, or play cricket on the sand.
Veterinary dermatologist Dr David Robson at the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre has been a skin specialist for 10 years, and says dogs and cats with light-coloured skin and a short coat are the most at risk of sun damage. “The risk is where you have dogs with pale skin and short hair, irrespective of breed.”
That said, there are breeds which do fit this criteria, who often crop up at the specialist vet clinic: white Staffies, white Boxers, and white cats tend to present with sun damage on their nose, tips of their ears and stomachs.
Take these easy steps and be sun smart with your pets this summer:
- Try to minimize exposure during the harshest times of the summer sun – between 10am and 3pm or protect the face and skin during that peak dose of harmful UV.
- Some companies are now producing pet sunscreens with Bitrex as an ingredient, which is supposed to dissuade your pet from licking it off.
- Yes, we like to keep our pets perfectly groomed, but the animal’s fur also serves as an important barrier against the sun so it’s important not to clip their fur too close to the skin.