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Heat Stroke In Dogs & Sunburn

Spring has sprung and you are probably looking forward to enjoying the warm sunny days that are on the horizon. We all love a little sunshine and so do our pets. But, just like us, animals can get burnt and suffer heatstroke. The incidence of these conditions is increasing and can result in extremely expensive veterinary treatment. Skin cancer can cost up to £2000 to treat. Prevention is far better than cure both for your animal and your bank balance!

Fur Provides Insufficient Protection

It might come as a surprise to learn that furry animals can get burnt in the sun. But the truth is that their fur offers only minimal protection. White pets are at most risk as they lack the pigmentation which helps to block out the harmful UV rays. Areas with minimal fur like the tips of the ears and the nose are very vulnerable.

Sensible Precautions

It is best to keep your animals indoors on hotter days or to limit their time outdoors, especially around the middle of the day. Failing that, do ensure that they have shady areas in which to rest. Provide plenty of clean, cool water and refresh it regularly. Clip pets with long coats to lower the risk of overheating and avoid walking a dog between 8am and 5pm.

Pets and Cars

You should never leave your pet locked in your car. The temperature in the cabin will rise quickly and dramatically and pets will soon succumb to heat stroke. You may think that you will only be a couple of minutes but you could be unexpectedly delayed, lose your keys or have issues finding your car in the car park. This may sound silly but we have all had the occasional incident with car keys and busy car parks!

Use Sunscreen

You should also apply sunscreen to areas of exposed skin and to pets with very fine coats or short hair. It is best to use a product formulated for pets but fragrance free human products offering protection greater than SPF15 are also suitable. Do ensure that the sunscreen does not contain zinc oxide as this is toxic to pets.

Check Your Pet

If your pet does spend time outdoors, examine them regularly to look for signs of trouble. Consult your vet if you see ulcers, sores or a sudden discoloration of their skin. There may be a benign reason for these but you need to know. The earlier cancer is detected, the greater the chance that your pet will be treatable.


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