Sunburn Can Be A Risk For Our Pets
Full Circle Vet Care would like you to know:
Humans are not the only ones who need to monitor their exposure to UV rays: animals are at risk too.
Human or animal skin with little or no pigmentation is very sensitive to the sun in general.
Dogs and cats with white or thin coats are at particular risk, as are animals with very closely sheared fur or with certain pre-existing conditions. Hairless pets or pets with very short or thin fur can also be vulnerable.
For dogs and cats this applies in particular to those parts of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun. These include the ears, the bridge of the nose, the skin around the eyes, and the back. Some animals particularly enjoy lying on their backs to bask in the sun. This exposes the skin on their bellies, which is often hairless, to the rays of the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn.
In animals, sunburn results in an acute inflammation of the skin that can cause itching or even pain, depending on the individual animal. Frequent sunburns can lead to pre-cancerous conditions or even actual skin tumors.
Particularly vulnerable pets:
House pets with white or short fur are at particular risk of sunburn. The Dogo Argentino breed, white bulldogs, Dalmatians, boxers, whippets, beagles and white or multi-coloured cats with white patches have skin that is very sensitive to light, especially on their heads. Short hair allows UV rays to penetrate down to the sensitive skin and cause sunburn.
Hairless dogs and cats are naturally more sensitive to the sun, since they lack the natural sun protection fur affords. Here too though, skin pigmentation plays a role, and darker animals are less vulnerable to UV rays. Owners of vulnerable breeds should take particular care to protect their animals from the sun.
Sun protection for animals:
As a rule, animals should have a shady place to lie in, especially at midday, when the sun is at its strongest and presents the greatest risk, not just for the skin, but for the animal overall. Particularly sensitive animals require sun protection in the form of a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Call us for recommendations on types of sunscreen to use.
For longer hikes through the mountains where the sun’s rays are particularly aggressive, sensitive animals should wear a t-shirt, coat or hat for protection.
Not every white dog or white cat needs sunscreen or clothing to protect it from the sun. If sun damage has already occurred though, or if an animal is highly sensitive, it is up to us to protect it from further damage.
Treating sunburn in animals:
If sunburn is visible as reddened, warm or flaking skin, the animal should be moved to the shade as quickly as possible. Cool compresses and ointments to soothe the skin can help relieve the initial symptoms. If the burn is severe, a veterinarian should be consulted as treatment with a cortisone product or antibiotic may be indicated to prevent inflammation. The affected animal will need to be well protected from the sun in future to prevent permanent damage.
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Get Out Of The Doghouse Day
Monday, July 15, is “National Get Out of the Doghouse Day.” If you’re in trouble with a loved one, today is supposed to be your day for a reprieve. Get Out Of The Doghouse Day is like a get out of jail free card from the game Monopoly. Use it to apologize, mend hurts and get back to normal.
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National Mutt Day
July 31 is National Mutt Day, or National Mixed Breed Dog Day.
National Mutt Day was created in 2005 by Celebrity Pet Expert and Animal Welfare Advocate, Colleen Paige, and is celebrated on both July 31st and December 2nd. National Mutt Day was created to raise awareness of the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the nation and to educate the public about the many mixed breed dogs that desperately await new homes.
So if you are thinking about getting a dog, visit your local shelter and find a new friend today. If you can’t adopt a mixed breed friend, you can volunteer at a pet shelter, walk you dog, or simply donate to a pet charity in memory of a lost dog.
A day just for me!
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