Posted Thu 17 Nov 2022 at 12:14pm
With summer just around the corner, here are the top pet sun safety tips you need to know to prevent heatstroke and keep your pets safe.
The dog days of summer are nearly here! While we’re excited to get out and about in the sun with our furry friends, make sure you’ve got your pet sun safety tips in check before venturing off. Too much sun exposure can cause heatstroke in pets and increase your pet’s risk of melanoma. We’ve listed our top 7 sun safety tips so your four-legged friend has the safest summer paw-ssible.
Cancer Council’s renowned ‘Slip-Slop-Slap’ slogan doesn’t just apply to humans but pets too! Prolonged sun exposure can put your furry friend at risk of melanoma, carcinoma and mast cell tumours. Melanoma accounts for 17.3% of pet cancer, so regularly applying sunscreen on your pet is one of the best pet sun safety tips! Most skin cancers in pets are found in areas without fur. Make sure you don’t use human-grade sunscreen on your pet, as it can contain toxic ingredients. Try PetKin Doggy Sunmist instead; it’s SPF 15 and made specifically for dogs! If you’re looking for a quicker option, pack PetKin Doggy Sun Wipes in your bag and whip them out on those scorching summer days. Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially if your dog or cat is older or has a white coat.
#2 Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Pets may love the warm feeling of the sun on their fur, but too much sun exposure can cause heatstroke. Heatstroke in pets occurs when your pet’s body temperature exceeds its normal body temperature. Cool your dog down when their body temperature exceeds their average body temperature of 38.89 celsius. Immediately take your dog to the vet if their body temperature reaches 39.44 celsius or if you can’t cool them down.
Our pets can’t tell us when they’re feeling unwell, they can only show us through their actions. Here are the signs of heatstroke in pets that you’ll need to look out for:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling
- Bright red tongue
- Pale or red gums
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
If your pet is experiencing the above symptoms, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Seize any form of activity immediately
- Carry your pet
- Take your pet to a well-ventilated area
- Spray or sponge your pet with lucid water. Don’t dunk your pet in cold water
- Use a fan to blow cool air on them
- Take your pet to a vet immediately if you’re unable to cool them down
- Even after your pet has cooled down, it’s still recommended to take them to the veterinarian to check for complications or damages.
#3 Choose a Cooler Time to Walk and Train your Dog
Aussie summers can reach anywhere between 35-40-degree days, so aim for morning or evening walks instead. Before walking your dog, use the ‘5-second rule’. Place the back of your hand on the pavement; if you can’t hold it for longer than five seconds, then it’s too hot to walk your dog. When out and about, stick to grassy areas where possible, as concrete and tarmac absorbs and holds heat. Keep training sessions shorter and monitor your dog’s time outside, so they don’t develop heatstroke.
#4 Use Protective Clothing
Protective clothing will keep your pet sun-safe, and they’ll also look cute doing so! Dog boots will be your dog’s summer essentials as they’re great for athletic pups who love outdoor adventures. The AFP Outdoor Road Boots from Pet Circle will protect your dog’s paws from getting burnt on hot pavements. Although, if your dog hates clothing, paw wax will also protect your dog’s paws from hot surfaces.
A cooling dog vest will help keep your pet cool and fashionable! Fuzzyard’s range is lightweight and has mesh fabric for ventilation, water evaporation, and outside heat resistance. To activate the cooling process, just wet, wring out and wear. Not a fan of the vest? Chuck on a cooling bandana on your pet, and they’re good to go for walkies! Last but not least, a sun hat will help protect your dog’s eyes, head and face. The Tailup Dog Hat from The Pampered Pet is a great option!
#5 Stick to the Shade
We know your pup is dying to frolic around at the beach! Beach umbrellas are a great way to keep your pet out of the sun without staying home. The same goes for Sunday picnics at the dog park – opt for the shaded areas and put up a tent if needed. There are plenty of sun tents on the market, but if you want to catch some rays and keep your dog cool, it may be worth investing in the Afp Outdoor Dog Pop-Up Tent so your dog can still enjoy outdoor family picnics while avoiding the harsh rays.
#6 Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
While your dog may be begging you to take them everywhere, it’s not worth the risk if they have to stay in the car, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Your car can heat up extremely quickly, putting your pet at risk of heatstroke even if you’ve parked in the shade and let the window down.
#7 Get Regular Checkups
Scheduling an appointment with your vet at the end of the summer will help you detect any signs of skin cancer early on. Pets can be susceptible to sunburn, particularly pets without hair. The signs of pet sunburn are the exact same in humans – the impacted skin will appear red, dry and cracked. A minor sunburn will heal on its own but if symptoms persist, see your vet immediately.
You don’t always have to wait until your visit to the vet to check if your dog has skin cancer. You can perform routine checks at home. Here’s what to look for:
- Tumours, areas of colour change or scaly, crusty lesions
- Tumours that bleed easily
- New growths
- Change in colour or size of an existing growth
- An area the dog is continually licking or scratching