Living

Can my pet get a sunburn?

Cats and dogs may be covered in fur, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from the sun’s scorching rays.

Photo, iStockphoto.

Photo, iStockphoto.

Yes, pets get sunburns too — especially if they happen to fall asleep in direct sunlight or spend hours playing in a lake. Dr. Simon Starkey, an education and technical veterinarian with PetSmart, says sunburns are most likely to happen around the face or under the belly, where fur is thinnest. “This is especially true in white pets or in animals with pink noses,” he says. But if you’re thinking of smearing some of your own SPF on your pet’s face for added protection, think again — brands designed for humans can be toxic to your pet if accidentally licked off. If you notice your furry friend is a little pinker than usual or pawing at an area, Starkey says the best course of action is to enlist a vet to help manage pain and prevent further complications. You can also give your dog a place to escape the sun with a this foam-insulated igloo that stays cool, even in the summer.

How to beat the heat: hydration is key

“Dogs cool themselves by panting, which encourages the evaporation of saliva and sets off their cooling system,” says Starkey. If they don’t have enough water, it’s impossible for them to keep cool.

Auto refill
There’s no need to worry about an empty dish with this water bowl — it comes with a large reservoir and effective filtration system.
Petmate Replendish pet waterer, $17.99–$29.99.

Fresh flow
Ditch your small water bowl for this free-flowing fountain that’ll encourage your dog to lap up every drop.
Top Paw dog water fountain, $68.99.