UV Can Endanger Your Dog With Cancer
During summer pets like their owners are exposed to excessive UV. In some cases our dogs get twice as much UV than we do. They are allowed to play outdoor while we are indoors, they find a warm spot to sit while waiting for us to get back from work.
Dog’s fur can reduce some levels of UV, it can reduce the short UV radiation which cause in humans skin burns. That’s why their skin is always pink. Dogs do not have the same melanin protection system in their skin like we do. Dogs don’t tan.
So our dogs and puppies do not tan and do not get UV skin burns on the body when in the sun. But the tricky part abut UV is that it’s not all about tanning and skin burns.
The long UV rays (UVA) have high penetration abilities. UVA can penetrate clouds and most fabrics. Especially the natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk. For some short fur breeds like Boxers or Pointers this means excessive UV without external filtering.
Is Skin Cancer a Common Disease For Dogs?
Apparently yes, many types of cancer begin at the skin and develop further to other organs. See these facts about dog’s skin cancer and tumors, from Prevention.com:
About 33% of tumors in dogs start in the skin, and about one-third of those are malignant. Some 25% of all feline cancers are skin cancers, says Brenda Phillips, DVM, an oncologist at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego. Not counting basal cell tumors, it’s estimated that 75% of feline skin tumors are malignant.
Dogs get their skin cancer from their belly!
As you may have noticed, your pets belly is pink and exposed, not as furry as it’s back. This is twice as true for female dogs. These areas are totally unprotected.
UV is similar to visible light, it reflects from surfaces like sand, water, snow & sidewalks. An hour stroll in the sun can expose your dog to UV from the all sides including underneath.
White breeds are more vulnerable to skin cancer than dark breeds. White dogs develop more skin cancer than other types. Watching your Labrador retriever lay on it’s back at a sunny spot in the house. Means his pale white belly is getting UV.
How To Reduce UV Exposure For Dogs
First of all you need to be aware of this risk. Do not lock your pet in a sunny white balcony, even if they find a shaded spot, the UV will reflect from all around them. Avoid being with them in the sun for hours especially during noon hours.
Apply dog-SPF-creams. These UV protection creams (usually come in spray) need to be applied on their stomach, nose, shaved legs and any place their fur is not long or thick enough. Products like the Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets which carry an FDA approval are more recommended for dogs UV protection.
Note this spray is not for cats only for dogs and horses.
Smaller dogs and mid size dogs can have a UV protective coat. These fabrics can prevent up to 90% of all UV. They are recommended for white dogs and beige yellow breeds like the Golden Retrievers/Labradors.
Some cooling jackets are designed to cool your dog during a run or a summer stroll. Others are more light weight and serve as sun UV jackets.
Note that the one you need are those which cover some of the belly, and not only the back, like this UV jacket for dogs.
Covering the dog in summer is wise and caring. In the winter there is only UVA (long rays) so the jacket is not really needed. As UVA reflects like light, the exposed belly needs to be covered with the UV spray.