billings-iStock_000047785894_Large (1)Summer sun and fun means you and your pets are probably going to be spending a little time outdoors. Like most people, you are probably slathering on the sunscreen and bugspray to avoid the burns and bites of the season. But, if your pets are joining you, you may be wondering if they need protection, too.

Learn what you need to know about the sun, bugs, and pets.

Pets Need Protection, Too

Protecting your pets when outdoors is very important. Like us, they can suffer from many of the same summer problems as people and, as their advocates, pet owners must educate themselves on how to prevent problems.

Contrary to popular belief, animals can suffer from sunburns. Those who have light skin, a short coat, hair loss, or have been recently shaved are particularly at risk. Pets may also develop skin cancer or suffer from other sun-exposure related problems, too.

Flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and fleas are summertime pet woes, as well. These annoying little bugs are capable of causing discomfort for your pet and can even carry serious disease.

Pets Aren’t People

When choosing sun and bug protection for your pets, keep in mind that pets aren’t the same as people. In some instances the products that you choose for yourself may work, however most people products can be harmful to pets.

When choosing a sunscreen, keep in mind that, unlike people, many pets will lick and ingest anything you apply. Choose something that has no fragrance and won’t stain surfaces. Products intended for pets are safest, especially for cats. Avoid any product that warns against ingestion.

Likewise, many bug sprays you might choose for yourself aren’t the best option for animals. Products containing DEET are very effective for people, but can be extremely toxic to pets, who are likely to ingest the chemical.

There are several types of spot treatments available to protect pets against bugs. Not all are created equal, though. Please talk with us for recommendations specific to your pet. Always read labels thoroughly and be sure that any insect protection you choose is appropriate for your pet’s size, age, and species.

The Sun, Bugs, and Pets

When spending time outdoors this summer, try to keep your pet in the shade as much as possible. Avoid the times of day when the sun is strongest and pay special attention to the bridge of the nose, ears, lips, underbelly, and other light pigmented areas.  Apply your chosen sunscreen liberally and often.

Good flea, mosquito, and insect protection is also essential; but be sure to use a veterinarian recommended product. Home remedies like essential oils, garlic, and other supplements may sound tempting, however most are largely ineffective or even potentially harmful.

As you head outside this summer, have no fear about the sun, bugs, and pets. You will need to plan ahead, but with a little care you can be sure that your furry friends have as much fun this season as you do.