Yes, pets can sunburn! Pets with the risk factors of white fur, poor pigmentation, sunbathing and hairless areas need to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If it is not possible to keep them indoors, simply providing shade is not enough! Pets must be forced to get under it, because they don’t know about the sun’s harmful effects.
Sunscreen can and should be used on pets. There are some sunscreens created specifically for pets, but using an infant sunscreen is also an option. Look for one that is fragrance-free, non-staining and waterproof.
The FDA has not established a test to determine SPF values in pets but aim for UV barriers above SPF 15. Avoid sunscreens that contain zinc, because it may be harmful if ingested. Also, products containing octyl salicylate should not be used on cats.
Apply liberally every 4-6 hours during sun exposure, and apply to the bridge of the nose, ear tips, skin around the lips, groin, inner thighs and any other areas where pigmentation is low. Fabrics that block UV exposure are commercially available for sun suits as well.