Many pets enjoy spending time outdoors in warm weather. It is important to protect your dog’s or cat’s eyes and skin from overexposure to ultraviolet rays. Elderly pets or animals with chronic health conditions may also benefit from accessories that prevent overheating. Discover several ways to increase your pet’s comfort and protect against sunburn during the dog days of summer.
Cats and dogs have limited ability to sweat. Merocrine sweat glands located on your pet’s paw pads have a similar function to human sweat glands but are not as effective for heat regulation. Panting and vasodilation, or the expansion of blood vessels in the face and ears, help to regulate your pet’s body temperature.
Accessories designed to promote cooling can help any pet stay more comfortable outdoors in warm weather. Wet a cooling bandana, collar or towel to provide an evaporative cooling effect over an extended period of time. fouFIT makes two sizes of mesh Cooling Bandanas and three sizes of Cooling Dog Collars with gel beads that absorb water and remain cool for up to three days.
A full-body solution such as a Dog Core Cooling Vest can be a good option for warm weather or pets prone to heat stress. RuffWear harnesses or packs are compatible with the Core Cooler Dog Chest Panel .
Some pets are more sensitive to ultraviolet light than others. Cats and dogs with a thin coat of white or light-colored hair or fur are prone to sunburns. Any areas with light pigmentation, such as the ears or nose, may suffer sun damage without protection. You can reduce this risk with pet sunscreens and protective clothing.
Human sunscreen is not safe for pets. Ingredients such as octyl salicylate, PABA and zinc oxide can be toxic to animals. My Dog Nose It! Pet Sunscreen is available in water-resistant cream and non-aerosol spray formulas. Doggles Pet Sunscreen is another non-aerosol spray formula with unscented or tropical versions. Both of these formulas are safe to use on dogs and cats.
Apply sunscreen to the tips of ears, top of the muzzle, armpits, abdomen and groin about 20 minutes before sun exposure. Try to distract your pet immediately after application with food, treats or play to minimize licking prior to absorption. Reapply every two to four hours during continuous exposure. Pets that spend a lot of time near windows are also at risk for sunburn and require protection.
Pet clothing is also a good way to minimize sun exposure. Playa Pup Sun Protection Dog Tanks and Shirts are made of UPF 50+ fabric that dries quickly and stretches to allow your pet to move freely. The Solis UV Coverup Dog Shirt by RC Pets comes in a variety of UPF 40+ colors and features a leash portal on the back. If you plan to spend the day at the shore, your pet might prefer the EzyDog Rashies Dog Swim Shirt for active comfort with a UV 50+ protection rating. Dress your dog in the Hurtta Sun and Bug Blocker Dog Suit for full-body protection from insects and harmful rays.
Some dog breeds are more at risk than others for sun damage to the eyes. Some of the common conditions caused by overexposure to UV rays include cataracts, pannus or sunburn in the eye area. Putting protective eyewear or a visor on your dog may help to prevent these conditions.
Going on high-altitude excursions or spending time near reflective surfaces such as sand or water can increase the risk of eye damage. Dogs can also benefit from physical eye protection during activities such as venturing off-road into brushy or sandy areas or going for a ride on a motorcycle or in a vehicle with the windows down.
For a standard sunglasses style with a wraparound strap, check out Doggles K9 Optix Rubber Sunglasses . Doggles ILS and ILS2 goggles provide more complete protection and have interchangeable lenses. Rex Specs also makes protective Dog Goggles with interchangeable tinted and mirrored lenses.
Visors offer more casual protection from the sun by shading your pet’s eyes. Joyful Bling Reversible Dog Visors are handmade in eight sizes with playful patterned designs. Straps fasten under the chin for a secure fit and ear holes promote comfort.
You may want to limit the time your pet spends unprotected outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when sunlight is most intense. If your pet stays outside for most of the day, make sure shady retreats are available. Trees may provide shade at certain times of day, but access to a shelter or covered porch offers reliable protection. Cool, clean water should always be accessible.
Upgrade your pet’s outdoor relaxation options with the K&H Pet Products Pet Cot Canopy . An elevated bed with a sun-blocking canopy will keep a pet feeling cool and comfortable. As a general rule, your dog should only stay out in high temperatures for as long as you are comfortable staying outside. High humidity can also increase heat stress or heat stroke risks.
Whether you are looking for ways to help your pet stay cool or block UV rays, there are many options to make fun in the sun more comfortable and safe. Make sure any products you choose are sized or formulated for your pet and follow instructions to obtain the most effective sun and heat protection.