Indi the Miniature Fox Terrier investigates the high protection sunscreen on vet nurse Kate Harewood’s nose. High protection sunscreens are available for animals.
Indi the Miniature Fox Terrier investigates the high protection sunscreen on vet nurse Kate Harewood’s nose. High protection sunscreens are available for animals. Claudia Baxter

Pooches practice sun safety

SLIP, slop, slap isn't just for humans - it is a message Ipswich pet owners are keeping in mind for their four-legged friends.

They might be covered in fur, but the sun can do serious damage to dogs if they're not properly protected - including cancer risks.

Special "animal only" sunscreens have been flying off the shelves from Ipswich vets as pet owners ensure their furry companions are sun smart.

Pine Mountain Veterinary Surgery vet Dr Scott Campbell said pet-specific sunscreens were the only ones that should be used.

"Some substances in human sunscreens can be toxic to animals and cause them stomach upsets," Dr Campbell said.

RSPCA Australia scientific officer Dr Jade Norris said dogs also tended to lick off sunscreen so it was important to use pet-only sunscreen.

"Zinc oxide in human sun block can cause zinc toxicity if the dog ingests a certain amount," Dr Norris said.

Dr Campbell also warned pet owners to remain vigilant in preventing heat stress in dogs.

"We see cases through the summer, particularly in dogs that are overweight or exercising a lot," he said.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said Ipswich pet owners needed to be aware of the dangers of heat stress.

"If it's 30 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can potentially rise to well over 40 in less than five minutes," he said.

"Animals left in the backyard must also be able to access shelter and water. If a dog is tied up it can become tangled and be unable to reach their water or shelter so ensure there are at least two to three containers of water in case one gets knocked over."

 

WHY CREAM UP?

  • Skin cancer is a common problem in pets and can be prevented.
  • Sunscreen can be easily applied to the pink areas of the nose, ears and face.
  • It is available as a cream or spray from Ipswich vets.

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