As I prepare to work in my garden pulling weeds, a job that no one in my house seems to have any interest in (or the eye sight sharp enough to notice the unsightly over-growth), I have to tell my girls that they have to stay indoors and not go outside to help Mommy.
First let me tell you about my girls, I have two. The eldest is a toy Shih Tzu named Muffin and her pet, a big black Lab named Cupcake. They are wonderful companions and try to help me with all of my chores. Muffin is white with a little tan thrown in and very fair-skinned while Cupcake is, well, black.
I have blond hair and very fair skin, so excessive sun is not a good thing. I have learned, the hard way, the importance of sun screen and make sure that I am always covered with enough before going out into the Florida sun. I have learned while living here in “The Sunshine State” that pets get sunburned too!
Many pet owners do not realize that their pets’s skin will also burn, causing it to become red and painful the same way that human skin does. The nose, mouth, ears, bellies and inner thighs are sensitive areas and due to the sparseness of their hair in those spots, it is easy for them to burn.
While humans can open a tube of any sunscreen product and apply it to their bodies, this does not apply for our pets. Most human sunscreens can be toxic if ingested by a dog or a cat, so you need to find a pet-specific product. Researching this, I found a number of sites that have sunscreen for pets. Upon further exploration, I found that they are good for dogs but not for cats. This puzzled me; why was it good for one and not the other?
One of these products was Epi Pet, and it is stated that they are the only FDA approved sunscreen product for pets. Now I am not a big fan of the FDA to begin with. My belief is that they promote their own agenda not ours. Then I came across a quote from this company on another pet Product Site. It stated, “The marketing director for Epi Pets says that two ingredients commonly used in sunscreens break down in cats to Salicylic Acid, a.k.a. aspirin, a known toxin for cats.
This confused me further. I then researched an interesting article on www.about.com titled “Sunburn: Not Just For Humans..Sun Block Info For Pets. ” Here I found the following statement, “Sunscreens contain ingredients that are absorbed through the skin and are regulated by the FDA. All ingredients should be listed on the container. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) has not been rated for animlas, and because of this, the SPF of animal-specific products should be labeled as “comparable to “their human counterparts”, according to FDA requirements.”
So, being a responsible pet owner armed with all of this information and wanting to protect my girls, I did the only responsible thing that I could think of. I hired a gardener, opened a bottle of wine, and stayed inside with Muffin and Cupcake and played in the air-conditioning – Problem Solved.