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If you think you need sunscreen when spending extended hours under the heat of the sun, think about your dog who will most likely be your companion on that day out. Just like you, your pooch has skin that needs to be protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Sunscreen is best used on your dog if…

  • you take them with you outdoors, be it the beach, the pool or the woods
  • you have a dog that has naturally short hair or have shaved your dog too close to the skin
  • your dog has a bald spot or a bare belly
  • your dog has a light nose with light coating. for example, Shih Tzus, Shih Tzu mixes, dalmatians and terrier bulls 

While rubbing sunscreen on your pooch before heading outdoors is a good idea, there are some drawbacks. One, a lot of commercial products are rich in toxins which are dangerous for your four-legged friend given they like to lick themselves a lot. So how do you know which product to buy? Check the label.

Reading the label when shopping helps you avoid purchasing products that may be harmful for your furry friend. These are some of the ingredients you should avoid:

  • DMDM Hydantoin – this has a high toxicity rating
  • Propylene Glycol – a skin irritant and toxin
  • Octonate and Oxybenzone – these are toxic

Are There Alternatives to Sunscreen?

You don’t just give up on outdoor pursuits because you couldn’t bring along your dog. You can try these alternatives instead:

  • Limit the time you spend outdoors.
  • Try to find areas with lots of shade.
  • Stay indoors when the sun’s rays are most dangerous – that’s from 11am to 4pm.
  • Let your dog wear breathable clothing.

If you really want to get out during the times when the sun is at its worst behavior, then take all the necessary safety precautions for yourself and leave your dog at home. You can take them out earlier or a bit later when the sun is a bit kinder.

Food Matters

Another alternative to sunscreen is making sure your dog is eating right. Including vegetables and lots of greens into your pet’s diet is one way to boost the levels of antioxidants in their skin. Here are some of the best food items:

  • Red fruits. Watermelon is really good during the summer; it’s not only delicious but it keeps your furry pal hydrated as well. Another red fruit that should be on the menu is tomatoes. Both these fruits are rich in lycopene which block UV rays.
  • Raw meat. These have higher percentages of histidine, an amino acid that can protect the skin from molecular damage through the production of urocanic acid.
  • Green food. Collard greens, kale, spinach and broccoli are rich in carotenoids which protect the skin from UV radiation. Carrots are also rich in carotenoids.
  • Fatty acids. Make sure your dog gets enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

If you really want to rub something on your dog’s skin before heading out, try carrot seed oil and red raspberry seed oil. You can even mix a concoction of natural oils to create homemade sunscreen.

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