Keeping Your Dog Cool and Safe From UV Rays
There is no doubt that one of the most dangerous summer threats to dogs is overheating. This is relevant to all kinds of dogs, small, medium and large, they all can suffer from heat in the summer which may result in fatal incidents.
These tragic events can be prevented, by simple means:
- Make sure the dog has a shaded place to rest during the day.
- Make sure the dog has plenty of fresh water.
- Make sure the place the dog is staying is well ventilated and cool.
- Avoid direct sun light during midday hot hours.
Dogs natural cooling system is not suitable for domestic living. In the ‘wild’ dogs like wolves search for a cool place to rest. It could be under trees or bushes and away from direct sun light. Dogs need constant water, because their heavy breathing and panting requires their tongue and nose to be wet.
When a pet owner locks their dog in a patio with glass doors which collects direct sun light, the heat inside can rise up to dangerous levels. Other dog owners tie their dogs to a post in the yard, which has no shade during noon hours. In both cases the dog may suffer from overheating and exhaustion.
Why Dogs Skin is Vulnerable to UV
Over heating is not the only danger for dogs at summer. Dog’s skin like human skin is vulnerable to UV sunlight.
Since the dogs skin is covered with hair, it is usually pale white underneath. If you ever took your dog to a haircut, you probably notice they return trimmed and pink. This means that their skin has very little melanin. Melanin cells, are the ‘color cells’ that turn our skin tan when exposed to sun light.
Dogs have very little melanin on their skin because they are covered with their natural coat of hair (in nature they do not get haircuts) and usually they stay away from the sun and lay down under a shade.
UV Treats To Dogs
Many people take their dog to get a hair cut in the summer. This means that when the UV radiation is at its peak, the dogs is trimmed from its natural UV protection, and the soft pink skin is exposed to UV.
Though we think that our dogs are covered by hair all around most of the dogs abdominal area has thinner hair coverage. So when we are outdoors with them, and they are laying on their side, they are actually absorbing UV light on the skin.
What can you do to reduce the UV risks for your dog?
Get the hair cut done earlier during the spring (April, May) so the hair manages to grow longer until mid summer (July-August). A “pink” dog has no protection from cancerous UV light when outside.
Keep the dog away from direct sunlight during summer. This may be difficult to implement in some places. Note that if you are going to the beach or park, the dog will be under direct sunlight most of this time.
Cover your dog with a cooling jacket!
There are cooling jackets for dogs, which were designed to cool the back of the dog. These are great to prevent over heating and dogs love them. These cooling jackets can block some of the UV too, so it is recommended to cover short hair breed dogs with these. Click here to check which cooling jacket size will fit your dog.
There are UV jackets designed for dogs! Use them!
Dog owners in Minnesota dress up their dogs to protect them from the freezing weather dangers. Dog owners in warm climates should protect their dogs from their relevant dangers.
There are also UV creams for protecting dog noses. The skin on the dog’s nose is delicate and the hair is very short.
Applying a dog SPF cream will reduce the risk for skin burns. Getting a sunburn on the nose is painful to the dog just like it hurts a human.