July 28, 2010

Protect Pets From the Sun

Too much exposure to sunlight can be harmful to animals. 

Animals' hair coats protect their skin from harmful ultra-violet light.  Many animals also have heavily pigmented skin with an abundance of the cells that help to protect the skin from the sun's damaging rays. 

For sun damage to occur in dogs, a combination of factors must happen.  If the skin is poorly pigmented or lacks pigmentation, it is at high risk.  A sparse hair coat or areas of the body that are hairless are more susceptible.  These sensitive areas must be regularly and frequently exposed to the sun to cause skin diseases.  

Certain breeds of dogs (such as Dalmatians and white bull terriers) are highly susceptible. All dogs' noses and ears are also very sensitive.  Dogs that have been recently groomed have a thinner and less protective hair coat and are more susceptible. 

Repeated sunburns can eventually lead to malignant skin cancers. 

You can take safety precautions: 
*  Apply a sunscreen to those parts of your pet's skin that are at risk.  This may be a problem since the pet will immediately lick it off, especially the nose. 
*  Keep your dog out of direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day when the sun is strongest - 10:00 a. m. to 4:00 p. m. 
*  Provide shade.
*  Do not clip your pet's hair coat too close to the skin, especially for the summer. 
*  Remember that the hair coat acts as insulation, keeping cold out during the winter and cooling the pet in the summer. The hair also protects the skin from the sun.

If you suspect that your pet has a skin problem, consult your veterinarian.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

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