Protecting your pets from the sun

Author picture Jessica

Beach days, picnics in the park, long walks in the woods….isn’t summer in the UK just bliss? 

Just as we humans have to take care to not get burnt by harmful UVA and UVB rays when we’re catching some sun, we need to watch out for our pets too. 

Yes…it’s weird but true: cats and dogs can get sunburn!

This is super important for pet sitters to know this summer - be sure to take steps to protect your guest pets so that you have the same happy, healthy cat or dog returning to their human at the end of the stay.  

A white pet warning

If you are minding a white cat or dog, beware: these snowy furries are much more vulnerable to sunburn, which can lead to nasty skin cancers. 

The nose and ears are the most vulnerable spots, but rays can even penetrate fur.

Even if the pet you are caring for has darker fur, be careful: any pet can suffer from sunburn.

Ways to prevent sunburn

  • Use a sunscreen – it may sound odd but there are plenty of non-toxic, pet-friendly sunscreens out there! 

Don’t use a hardcore human sunscreen as they contain chemicals that are toxic to pets - your pet is more likely than not going to lick it off and ingest a bit at some point. Also bear in mind that water will wash it away if your dog goes for a swim.  

Be sure to spot test first on a patch of skin just to make sure your pet doesn’t have a nasty allergic reaction.

  • Avoid the hottest parts of the day – we might want to catch some rays and work on our tan, but pets don’t have a say in the matter! Do the right thing by them and avoid walking dogs or playing with pets outside during the morning to afternoon sunshine.
  • Stay in the shade – if you go for a midday walk, opt for a leafy park or woodland area rather than open, sunny spaces. Bring a beach umbrella to the beach and consider getting a sun-protecting t-shirt for your dog (wet it down first if it’s a very hot day, or shop around for a special cooling shirt).  Always make sure outdoor pets have a shady spot to chill out.
  • Keep your pets watered – this will help keep your fur-kids cool, comfy and safe from heatstroke. Always provide plenty of fresh water to drink and maybe even have a splash and paddle in. Ice cubes and cool packs are great too on extra hot days!

If your pet gets burnt in the sun

Be sure to keep them in a cool, shady space with plenty of water if this happens. Speak with your vet about some topical burn creams to soothe the pain and help with the healing process.

We’d love to see your summer snaps! Be sure to tag your pet pics on Instagram with the hashtag #pawshakeuk and we might feature your pet!