The answer to this is yes! Just like some people are more prone to getting sunburnt there are certain colours of cats and dogs, even horses that are at risk of getting burnt if they spend a lot of time in the sun.
We often see lesions develop on the ears of white cats who spend a lot of time out in the sun during the summer months. This called solar dermatitis where the energy from the suns rays can damage the cells in their skin. If this is not addressed this can progress to the cells becoming cancerous and a type of tumour called squamous cell carcinoma.
As a result of these lesions unfortunately we often have to amputate the ear tips of the cats to prevent these lesions from becoming too painful and progressing. These lesions do not respond very well to chemotherapy and left untreated can become ulcerated and very uncomfortable for the cat.
If you own a cat with a pink nose and white ears we often recommend applying sun cream to these areas, if the cat will allow this. Or considering trying to encourage them to stay in on particularly sunny days between 10am – 4pm, or perhaps providing plenty of shade in the garden if they do want to venture out. Unfortunately indoor cats are also not safe from the sun, often they enjoy lying in particularly sunny areas on the floor, even with the sun coming in through the window it doesn’t necessarily filter out the harmful UV rays.
When choosing a sun cream for your pet there are many pet safe sun creams, ensure it is non-toxic and a product that can be sued on pets. Lots of cats try to groom themselves after they get any ointment on their fur or skin.
White dogs or dogs with white ears and faces, just like cats can also suffer from sun burn. We always think that cats are the more sensible ones, but when it comes to sun exposure we think the dogs win this one. They lounge in the sun but often know when they’ve had enough and hopefully seek shade – but as fur mamas and papas we have to look out for them! Firstly to ensure they don’t over heat in the sun with their thick coats, and secondly ensure they don’t get sun burn.
Providing plenty of shade for your pup in the garden is important, perhaps an umbrella, a doggie paddling pool also would be a good addition to any garden!
We always advise our clients to walk their dogs early in the morning or later in then evening to avoid the hottest part of the day and always check the pavements before you go out. If you can’t walk on it neither can they with their paws! If you use a sunscreen ensure it is pet friendly, applying to the exposed areas including the nose, ears, groin areas and any pink bellies!
If you are worried your dog maybe sun burnt always check the skin isn’t red or tender to the touch. Sometimes they may scratch an area and show discomfort when doing this. If you are worried contact your nearest Swaynes’ branch and we can advise you on what is best to treat the sunburn depending on the location and severity.
Even horses suffer from sun burn, often those with white face markings i.e. a blaze or stripe especially between their nostrils on their nose.
The same applies for these larger four legged friends ensure you apply a pet safe, non toxic suncream daily, there is plenty of shade of even consider a sun mask that can easily attach to the headcollar to provide some much needed shade for their sensitive areas.