Vet’s urgent plea to put SPF on dogs before heading out in the sun

You may assume that dogs don’t need to wear SPF, and you aren’t alone.

According to new research by travel brand hoo, almost half of Brits are completely unaware that pooches need sun protection.

But our pets are susceptible to sunburn just like us, and suffer the painful symptoms that come with it.

If your dog appears to be itchy and red, has patches of dry, cracked skin or is tender to touch, it’s likely they’ve had too much sun.

Veterinary expert at Blue Cross, Dr Anna Ewers Clark, is urging owners to use canine-friendly sunscreen this week, as the UK awaits its hottest day to date.

Anna explains: “Fur is a really great natural sun protector. But there are areas where they won’t have a lot of fur and those are the key hotspots we worry about like their ears and the tip of their nose.

“A lot of dogs’ bellies are sparsely furred. If you have a pet who has a light, very thin coat they are a lot more sensitive to sun damage.”

Even on a day that’s not too hot, the sun’s rays can be strong and cause UV damage – so you still need to apply protection.

And it’s important that you purchase a dog-friendly bottle too.

“Human’s sunscreen has a number of additives in them and fragrances which can be an irritant to dogs’ skin. Using a pet-safe sunscreen is the best way forward,” Anna says.

“Make sure you are applying that before going into the sunshine so ideally 15 mins before giving it a chance to soak in.

“If you’re using SPF 30 on your dog, reapply every 30 to 45 minutes. It’s very difficult to over apply it so if in doubt, put on another layer.

“The minimum safe SPF for dogs is 30. But with any new cream, test it on your dog before you need it.

“Put some on the day before you go out in a little area and check they don’t have any irritation to it as pets can have sensitive skin just like we can.”

Her top tip is to distract your dog whilst you’re slathering them up.

“One of the things with pets which we don’t have to think about so much with people is making sure they don’t lick it straight off,” she says.

“I sometimes recommend that if you have a dog that quite likes a treat or a puzzle feeder, put sunscreen on them and give them the puzzle feeder to distract them for a few minutes while it soaks in because otherwise it will lick it straight off.

“It’s easier to reapply when you’re out because they’re distracted by everything else that’s going on.

“Reapplication is important so take it with you. When you’re putting some on yourself, make sure you put it on for your pet as well.”

In a bid to ensure the whole family is protected from harmful rays, hoo is giving away canine sunscreen for every dog-friendly hotel booking made through the site for the next two weeks.