rutger-geleijnse-630385-unsplashThe temps are roasting hot! Let’s make sure it isn’t us and our pets that are roasting!

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.

Damage caused by sun exposure:

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-colored 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.

Read more about pets and sunburn protection in this month’s V.E.T. News
Please call us at 970-587-5140 to ask about possible sunburn issues with your pet.