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The Importance of Sunscreen For Pets

The Importance of Sunscreen For Pets

We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen...but what about our pets? 

Maybe the most neglected preventative medical treatment and least public awareness for pet health care is the regular use of sunscreen to protect the pet from solar dermatitis and skin cancer. Pet sun protection should be discussed in the same conversation with other preventative medical programs, like annual vaccines, heart-worm testing and preventatives, flea and tick prevention, dental and oral care. Dogs need to wear sunscreen to protect against intense and dangerous sun rays. The susceptibility of developing sunburn and potentially skin cancer not only exists for the canine but all pets and livestock including cats, pigs, sheep and cattle.

The following are common questions you may have about the importance of pets wearing sunscreen.

1. Does your dog need sunscreen, too?

Your dog needs sunscreen, as do you to protect against deadly UVA and UCB sun rays. The canine's coat and dark pigmentation help shield some dangerous sun rays, but the more intense UVB sun rays have the ability to penetrate the coat and skin pigment, resulting in sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer. The canines most susceptible to excessive sun rays are, the short hair, pink and white skin, and some breeds like boxers and doberman pinchers, but all breeds have some degree of susceptibility. No human deeply covered with body hair with white, black, or brown skin can avoid sun damage without sunscreen application. Thick coated and multi-colored canines are equally susceptible to sun damage and also require sunscreen protection. Sun rays, therefore, are an equal opportunity influencer for skin damage in all.

2. Do dogs need sunscreen just like people to protect against excessive and penetrative sun rays?
It is just as important for us to protect dogs against excessive penetrating sun rays as people do. Dogs experience sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer similar to people when exposed to the excessives of the sun. Sunscreen is considered to be a drug by the FDA and must meet critical standards to be authorized for use on humans and/or pets. There are many brands of human sunscreen authorized by the FDA for use in humans exclusively, but only one brand of sunscreen, Epi-Pet sunscreen, which is effective and safe and the only pet sunscreen exclusively authorized by the FDA to be used on dogs and horses.

3. Can your dog get a sunburn?

Dogs get sunburn and skin cancer to the same degree experienced by people. Repeated sunburns age the skin-creating pre-existing skin conditions leading to permanent dermatitis and over time deadly skin cancer. Both sunburn and skin cancer require medical attention from your veterinarian.

4. How do you know your dog has a sunburn and how to treat it?

Sunburn skin on the canine will be dark black or red, thickened, painful to the touch and often pussy with sores. Treatment includes topical anti-inflammatory shampoos and skin sprays, antibiotics and painkillers, avoidance of sun exposure until recovered is essential. Skin cancers are elevated growths on the skin or face and require surgical removal followed occasionally by chemo and/or radiation therapy.

5. Is sunscreen a must for pets? 

Sunscreen is a must for humans and for pets. Because of the high incidence of pet sunburn and skin cancer caused by the excess of sun. Regular use of sunscreen on a daily basis us as important as other pet preventative programs, including vaccines, parasite protection and dental and oral care. The most deadly skin cancer in humans is melanoma and is caused by the excess of the sun and can be fatal if untreated. There are at least three malignant skin cancers in pets caused by the; excess of the sun; squamos cells, basal cells, and hemangiosarcomas. Hemangiosarcomas mimic melanomas in humans and are deadly for the pet if untreated. The frequency of these pet skin cancers occurs as frequently as seen in humans. Emphasizing sunscreen use for pets should receive the same importance as in humans. How many pet lives can be saved?

Below are tips and tricks and product suggestions (EPI-PET) on how and when to apply.

Topical sunscreen should be applied daily to your pet. Epi-Pet canine sunscreen is safe and effective and the only pet sunscreen authorized by the FDA for use on pets. It is an environmentally friendly spray bottle. All canines, like all humans, should use sunscreen protection daily, but some dogs require more attention than others, such as short hair, pink and white skin and some sensitive breeds like boxers and dobermans. A nice rule of thumb is if your dog has a pink or irritated muzzle is already is becoming sunburned, it requires sunscreen protection at least once daily.
Although the entire dog should be covered with sunscreen, at least the face, muzzle, ears and underbelly should be covered. If walking on the beach, on sidewalks or hard surfaces, swimming or out in the sun for an extended time, sunscreen product should be reapplied every 2 hours. The Epi-Pet vanilla scented non-oily slick sunscreen product comes in a sporty spray bottle and can be sprayed on, pet in any direction, remembering to hand rub the product on face and muzzle, not spraying the face and muzzle. 


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