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Sun Protection For Your Pets


Just when you had the whole sunscreen thing figured out, here comes Sarah to give you one more thing to think about. Maybe you’ve ditched the sunblocks that contain harmful chemicals in favor of less toxic formulas so you can protect everbody’s skin without poisoning them in the process. You’ve bought the sun hats and SPF-rated beach cover-ups. But have you thought about your pets?

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Association) just released a report stating that pets can suffer the same effects of overexposure to sun as humans: heat-stroke, sunburn and skin cancer. How can you protect your horses, cats and dogs?

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as lathering them up as they finish their morning bowl of kibble. While the four-legged crowd may not wriggle and complain while you lube them up, they will—almost immediately—begin the process of licking it all off right after you finish. Aside from removing the protection, many sunscreens contain chemicals that are non-digestible and potentially toxic.

Happily, the FDA has approved a safe sunblock for dogs and horses — though it’s not safe for cats. Cat lovers are left waiting in the wings while scientists work on a cat-safe sunscreen. Don’t you love that image? I do.

Whether you choose to apply sunscreen or not, use common sense in the summer. Always provide shade and water, never leave your dog in a closed car—not even for five minutes—and keep them in during the heat of the day.

About this column: When dogs talk, Sarah Hodgson listens. A professional dog trainer for over twenty-five years, Sarah shares her expertise as a bestselling author, syndicated columnist and print media contributor. Additionally, she has appeared as a guest expert on network and cable television. Visit Sarah online at WhenDogsTalk.com or call 914-241-1111.